Abu Dhabi's climate and social life wows Media Zone's Tony Orsten

Tony Orsten is chief executive of Media Zone in Abu Dhabi.

Tony Orsten, chief executive of Media Zone in Abu Dhabi
Tony Orsten, chief executive of Media Zone in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi
Prior to moving to Abu Dhabi, I worked in London for 12 years as the head of international channels at Paramount Pictures. The Media Zone, which launched on 12 October, is a government-backed media content creation initiative for the 300 million people of the Arab world. There is a huge opportunity to create new content here that will be appreciated locally and across the globe.

Media environment
Abu Dhabi is unusual because everything is increasing dramatically, with ad revenues in all media sectors experiencing double-digit rises. However, the downside to growth is that people are launching more and more competing media, meaning the revenue pie is being cut into ever-more slender pieces.

Media owners and agencies
Each country in the Arab world has a great selection of media owners. Media ranges from top-quality English-language newspapers in Abu Dhabi to the wealth of local content, which may look odd to Western eyes, but represents the tremendous diversity of media available here - and this must continue.

Digital
The United Arab Emirates has a higher penetration of mobile phones than any other country in the world and every enabled phone can access the internet at speeds of up to 7.2MB per second - it is all 3.5G here. There is a huge technological advance here - the only thing needed to fulfil the opportunity is compelling content.

Culture and social scene
I was nervous about relocating here, but people are extremely kind and sociable and the city is very family oriented. Abu Dhabi is beautiful and we eat almost every meal outside, as the temperature rarely drops below 25 degsC.

Main differences
There is virtually no petty crime, so people leave doors and cars unlocked, and women can walk around the city at 4am and still feel safe.

One thing we can learn from Abu Dhabi
If there is enough willpower to do something here, it will get done - Abu Dhabi is all about seeing projects through to the end.

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