Telfaz11 acquires creative agency SHIFT

Telfaz11 acquires creative agency SHIFT
The acquisition will see the two companies combine their talent and client base to deliver creative campaigns.
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Updated 20 June 2023
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Telfaz11 acquires creative agency SHIFT

Telfaz11 acquires creative agency SHIFT
  • Acquisition to boost Telfaz11’s advertising and marketing capabilities

DUBAI: Saudi studio Telfaz11 has announced the acquisition of SHIFT, a regional creative advertising and marketing agency.

The acquisition will see the two companies combine their talent and client base to deliver creative campaigns.

“This acquisition creates many advantages for our marketing clients through the strength of our complementary offerings,” said Alaa Fadan, CEO and co-founder of Telfaz11.

“The combination will both streamline operations and enhance efficiencies across the board while allowing us to serve an even larger group of local and international clients,” he added.

The move will merge SHIFT’s marketing expertise with Telfaz11’s film, TV and storytelling capabilities, “further positioning Telfaz11 as a formidable force in the growing local marketing services industry,” said Fadan.

The newly merged company will continue to be based in Riyadh with offices in Dubai and an upcoming one in the Kingdom’s media production hub NEOM.

Earlier this month, Telfaz11 signed a deal with NEOM to cooperate on at least nine TV and film productions over the next three years, as well as set up an office in NEOM by the end of the year, which is “part of a strategic move that will facilitate our vision for expansion in the Kingdom,” Fadan told Arab News in a separate interview.

Founded in 2013, SHIFT’s portfolio of clients includes over 100 local and international brands such as STC, Alinma Bank, and P&G.


Egyptian journalist warns of threat posed by AI to media sector

Egyptian journalist warns of threat posed by AI to media sector
Updated 27 September 2023
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Egyptian journalist warns of threat posed by AI to media sector

Egyptian journalist warns of threat posed by AI to media sector
  • 'We now live in a fake news era; times have changed, so did copyright laws,' said Adib at the Arab media Forum

DUBAI: Egyptian businessman and journalist Imad Eddine Adib has issued an ominous warning about the potential threat posed by artificial intelligence to the media industry.

Speaking at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai, the self-confessed “crazy pessimist” predicted that the future for the sector looked neither promising nor safe.

The veteran writer told delegates at a session, titled “The Truth in the AI Era,” that his opinions were based on facts and data.

He said: “We can use technology to serve humanity, but we need to note that humanity also has a good and bad side.”

Reiterating the views of many speakers at the annual media industry gathering, Adib pointed out how AI could have major technological benefits for businesses, saving time and money. But he noted how tech had infiltrated the lives of most people.

“All those walking with smart phones in their pockets must be aware that they are being supervised, their privacies invaded, and there is no program or software you can get to defend or fight against this supervision.

“We now live in a fake news era; times have changed, so did copyright laws. You can now hear (Egyptian singer) Umm Kulthum singing a carnival song,” he added.

Adib highlighted an example of a deepfake video sent to him by friends that falsely claimed former US President Donald Trump had been given a new heart belonging to a Muslim man and had converted to Islam.

Addressing the session, Dr. Maitha Buhumaid, director of the Dubai Press Club, said: “There will be coordination and relationship between robots; given each serves a purpose they will be exchanging data to complete their missions. We need a ceiling on this.

“Imagine the disastrous outcome if let’s say mobsters or ISIS (Daesh) got their hands on robots. Imagine the infiltration of trade, numbers on the stock market, and economic well-being of countries. That’ll have disastrous implications. These are all possible scenarios for the future.”


Dubai Media launches new corporate identity at 21st Arab Media Forum

Dubai Media launches new corporate identity at 21st Arab Media Forum
Updated 27 September 2023
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Dubai Media launches new corporate identity at 21st Arab Media Forum

Dubai Media launches new corporate identity at 21st Arab Media Forum
  • DMI aims to become the No. 1 media destination in the Middle East, says CEO Al-Mulla

LONDON: Dubai Media Inc. announced on Tuesday from Dubai the launch of its new corporate identity and strategy.

The announcement came on the sidelines of the 21st Arab Media Forum, during a dinner party held by DMI at Mina A’Salam Hotel to celebrate the strategy’s approval by Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, second deputy ruler of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Media Council.

DMI CEO Mohammed Al-Mulla said his company aimed to become the No. 1 media destination in the Middle East in the next few years, stressing the importance of the media economy.

DMI’s new vision aims to revolutionize the press sector, enhance Dubai’s role as a global economic hub and major gateway to world trade, promote Emirati culture, focus on local affairs, and cover developments in all sectors.

The new strategy includes the launch of several initiatives that will improve DMI’s position as a prominent Arab media brand and contribute to the development of Arab media.

These initiatives include the launch of the Dubai Media Academy; the Dubai Media Studios, a modern production company operating on a commercial basis; the Media Services Initiative, which will service other production companies; and the Arts Events Company.

DMI, the government of Dubai’s official media organization, signed on Monday an agreement with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority to collaborate ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, in accelerating sustainable development and contributing to achieving net zero.


Saudi data chiefs launch new training initiative in latest AI push

Saudi data chiefs launch new training initiative in latest AI push
Updated 27 September 2023
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Saudi data chiefs launch new training initiative in latest AI push

Saudi data chiefs launch new training initiative in latest AI push
  • Program will offer 32 training camps to 800 specialized tech graduates

LONDON: Saudi data chiefs have launched a series of technology training camps aimed at educating 800 graduates on the latest developments in the field of artificial intelligence.

Under the initiative, the Saudi Data and AI Authority will run 32 camps focused on large language model technology, a type of AI that can mimic human intelligence, Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Tuesday.

The training program — to be offered to recent graduates in technical specializations — has been designed to bolster the Kingdom’s efforts to nurture a new generation of LLM experts.

LLMs are AI systems with vast amounts of data that can generate human-like text, translate languages, write different kinds of creative content, and answer questions in an informative way.

The first camp will get underway on Oct. 8 and will be held virtually over four weeks, covering topics such as generative AI, neural networks, deep learning, and text data analysis.

At the end of each camp, trainees will be awarded certificates of completion and will be eligible to take professional certification exams related to LLMs.

Separately, the authority has also launched an Open Datathon competition for which registration closes on Sept. 30. Aimed at students, alumni, and entrepreneurs, it has been designed to develop skills in data science and stimulate innovation.

The datathon will be held over two days, and participants will be supervised by experts in the field of data science. On day three, competitors will present their solutions to a panel of judges.


Saudi-Iran rapprochement right move but still long way to go: Experts tell Arab Media Forum

Saudi-Iran rapprochement right move but still long way to go: Experts tell Arab Media Forum
Updated 27 September 2023
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Saudi-Iran rapprochement right move but still long way to go: Experts tell Arab Media Forum

Saudi-Iran rapprochement right move but still long way to go: Experts tell Arab Media Forum

DUBAI: The recent Chinese-brokered rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran was the right move, but there is still a long way to go, experts told the Arab Media Forum on Tuesday. 

“Iran continues to support armed groups that Saudi opposes,” Afshin Molavi senior fellow at Foreign Policy Institute in John Hopkins University, pointed out. 

Molavi’s comments came during session titled “The Middle East – A Region of Opportunities or Conflicts” alongside Faisal Abbas, editor-in-chief of Arab News.

Wondering if whether or not the deal will succeed, Abbas pointed out that the Kingdom, due to its continuous leadership, has over 40 years of experience in dealing with Iran.

“The best case scenario will be both countries putting in the leverage and work to cooperate and try to solve conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon, of course with involvement of the local players. 

The worst case scenario will be a missed opportunity to make that happen and relations remain the same.”  Abbas said.

Abbas also explained why China was a better suited broker for the rapprochement deal detailing how it has leverage over Iran by investing billions of dollars in projects and there is no risk of the negotiations restarting under a different ideology every 4 years due to elections as could be the case in America. 

In his view, Molavi said China brokering the deal “comes with a grain of salt” as Washington believes China is its enemy but he believes the rapprochement is the right move for the region.  

The Arab view on China differs from the west, however. 

A recent YouGov study done by Arab News on Palestine shows how Palestinians see China as a more honest broker to handle their issue rather than the US.

Abbas said colonial powers such as France, the UK and the wars US were involved in are viewed negatively in comparison to China where its political and economical involvement in the region has been mostly positive “the Chinese do not come with that baggage.” 

On the issue of America, Molavi notes there is a shift in power and while Washington remains a powerful country, the world is witnessing a rise in other powers such as China and India.  

“Today, countries are proving that we now live in the world of multi strategic alignment, and I think Washington is beginning to understand that; it is no longer you’re either with us or against us.” 

Molavi continues: “this can also be seen in the Abraham Accords where on one hand the UAE has this historical relationship and alliance with Israel but then joins BRICS.  

Abbas described how exciting the dynamics are and spoke of the Saudi position on the matter where he mentions how the Saudi hand has been extended for 20 years provided that there will be a solution for Palestinians.  

“Biden needs a foreign policy legacy and this will be a winning ticket for him for the upcoming election.”  

 

 

Both speakers also discussed and highlighted the positive changes that Saudi and UAE have been making.   

Abbas noted Saudi Arabia’s remarkable achievements and how these stories should be celebrated and shared such as the launching of the female Saudi astronaut among other things. 

“Actions speak louder than words, Facts are stubborn things. No amount of negative stories can take those achievements away, Saudi is the fastest growing G20 economy in the world.”


Friend or foe? AI in spotlight at Arab Media Forum

Friend or foe? AI in spotlight at Arab Media Forum
Updated 26 September 2023
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Friend or foe? AI in spotlight at Arab Media Forum

Friend or foe? AI in spotlight at Arab Media Forum
  • 21st annual conference opens in Dubai
  • ‘Technology is not the enemy of journalists,’ Sky Arabia’s head of news says

DUBAI: AI experts, analysts and journalists gathered on Tuesday for the 21st annual Arab Media Forum.

In a session titled “The Future of Journalism in the Web3 and Metaverse Era,” Mohammed Al Hammadi, chair of the UAE Journalists Association, said it was vital for those working in the industry to learn how to use artificial intelligence and ChatGPT.

“Journalists should be worried if they cannot keep up with the progress,” he said.

“Twenty years ago when social media first started to take hold, some continued to romanticize the old ways of publishing and the smell of newspapers. Those in question did not make it, their careers stalled and were replaced by those who knew how to handle progress. This technology will allow media to compete further on a global stage.”

Islam Al-Shatnawy, CEO of iApply Global, said during the session, which discussed the threats AI poses to journalism and journalists, that “money can be made if and once AI is utilized properly, allowing for complications in technicalities and productions to be resolved in record time and for less cost.”

In contrast, Abdu Gadallah, head of news at Sky Arabia, said the technology could lead to the loss of jobs, especially in areas like translation and production, though he doubted it would ever replace human presenters on TV.

“While technology is not the enemy of a journalist, there will be those who will be sacrificed in its pursuit,” he said.

“Technological advancement will not kill the message but might kill those who bring it about.”

Political analyst Yasser Abdulaziz described the new technology as “scary” and said job losses were inevitable.

It was possible that AI might one day also be responsible for making final decisions on editorial matters, he said.

Despite the threats, the panel urged journalists to view technological advancement and AI as a friend rather than a foe and to acknowledge the role it has to play in improving content production and profitability.