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Specialist Guide to the

Global Leaders in Media Law Practice

TIER 1

Al Tamimi & Company has a prominent position nationally and regionally, with emphasis on multiple media segments. The firm’s TMT group acts for film studios, advertisers and television companies. In work led by Fiona Robertson the team advised on a US motion picture production filmed nationally, negotiated production services agreements and local contracts for the production team. Lawyers also advised on campaign developments and television content production.


Clyde & Co provides commercial media and broader TMT advice to a broad client base, global and national. With a high profile client list, the firm’s experience includes complex transactions. Head of division Joycia Young leads on media cases that include defamation, online media and regulatory matters.


Media and entertainment specialist therightslawyers is one of the region’s most prominent firms with an exceptional reputation. Backed by the strong leadership of Mark Hill, lawyers advise on content, copyright, advertising and broadcasting. The team has extensive experience assisting with film production, music publishing, sports and gaming. Other areas of focus include print publishing, marketing and fashion.


TIER 2

DLA Piper is highly regarded nationally and is frequently highlighted by peers for its media commitment. Primarily focussed on entertainment and sports, lawyers act on a range of cases from corporate to advisory. Led by regional managing partner Abdul Aziz A. AL-Yaqout, the media group assists with production and rights acquisitions and the exploitation of media rights and regulatory matters.


Simmons & Simmons has a strong reputation backed by its international industry focus. The firm’s traditional emphasis on technology supports the growth of its media sector coverage. Lawyers advise on commercial and regulatory matters involving television broadcasting and film production.


Established in 2016, The Bench specialises in the TMT sector. The firm is managed by former Dentons partner Joby Beretta, who is widely known for his expertise in the media, entertainment and sports industries. Lawyers advise on media commercial contracts, events and regulations. Clients range from local and international broadcasters to sports and entertainment companies.


TIER 3

Bird & Bird is widely respected by peers and noted for its TMT commitment. The firm’s practitioners have extensive media sector experience that includes regulatory and commercial advice. Well regarded by peers, the firm is notably recognised for its work on motion picture production, distribution, online media regulation and video games.   


Dentons focusses on multiple areas of work, from mergers and commercial contracts to media events and regulation. The team advises on film production and franchising agreements. In representative work led by former department head Joby Beretta, who has since established law firm The Bench, lawyers advised television station OSN on its bid for media rights to international cricket matches, for the Middle East and North Africa region, organised by the International Cricket Council for the period 2015-2023.


TIER 4

Allen & Overy has a firm position nationally with its focus notably on intellectual property. Present since 1978, the firm’s full-service scope provides broad sector coverage that includes technology and telecoms. Key practitioners include Ibrahim Mubaydeen and Simon Roderick who advise on multinational cases - transactional and advisory.


Independent firm Hadef & Partners is gaining recognition among peers. The firm’s TMT division works on acquisitions, disposals, commercial transactions, e-commerce and data privacy. Michael Lunjevich is the firm’s key contact for sector-related work, including advice on licensing and media contracts.


Digital technology spurs activity at Pinsent Masons, which represents technology suppliers, central government departments and international telecoms providers. The firm is well regarded by peers for its work on dispute resolution, which is managed under a separate TMT litigation practice. Sachin Kerur manages the practice and handles cases connected with communication licensing, data protection

and privacy.


TIER 1

Al Tamimi & Company  

Clyde & Co

therightslawyers


TIER 2

DLA Piper

The Bench  

Simmons & Simmons


TIER 3

Bird & Bird

Dentons  

Eversheds

Norton Rose Fulbright

Rouse

 

TIER 4

Allen & Overy

Hadef & Partners

Pinsent Masons

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The UAE has become one of the Middle East’s key centres for broadcast and digital media, attracting global brands.


Over the past year, the market has been characterised by growth and expansion, represented by the launch of two radio stations, sustained growth in the film industry and a jump in the use of digital media.


The Arab Media Outlook Report 2016, which provides comprehensive data on the media sector in the pan- Arab region, highlights developments across segments.


The report predicts that the media market will be worth USD 2.2 billion by 2018. Findings show 80 per cent of television viewing happens online.


The report also highlights pay-television as the key driver of television growth ‘as it continues to be the second largest market regarding value.’


Commenting on the broadcast sector, the report states: ‘Radio in the UAE is expected to grow, led by its ability to substitute for expensive media such as print. Digitisation trends are also becoming more prevalent in the UAE, with many stations offering their content online and via apps.’


In April this year the launch of two radio stations, Radio 1 and Radio 2, validated predictions of growth. Abu Dhabi Media’s launch brings its total number of stations to eight and represents its bid to expand its English-language radio stations.

Commenting on wider trends, Joby Beretta, founding partner of The Bench law firm, said: “I think the most interesting is the film funds. There has been a wave of investment into regional film funds including Dubai Film Market’s Enjaaz Feature Film and the Culture China Image Nation Content Fund”


He added: “Arab media reports show a big jump in digital this year, with 10 hours a day on digital so it’s caught up.”


Other developments include the closure of 7Days, a popular UAE English-language newspaper, after 13 years of publication. The newspaper printed its final issue in December last year.


The newspaper’s CEO at the time, Mark Rix, said: "The current trading environment and future global outlook for print advertising remains severely challenged.”


He continued: “Whilst it was our stated intention to re-focus and restructure the business for 2017 and beyond, it has since proved not possible to create an acceptable cost base that could deliver a viable and sustainable business.”

FEATURED ARTICLE BY


JOBY BERETTA

THE BENCH


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES


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