Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, was today named the keynote speaker at this week’s Abu Dhabi Media Summit (ADMS).
The British computer scientist is due to speak to the ADMS via satellite link on Tuesday afternoon, in a keynote address entitled ‘Leveraging the Digital Age’.
“This is a key moment for the UAE and countries in the Middle East region to determine how they can make the best use of the internet and take advantage of all the opportunities it offers,” Berners-Lee said in a statement.
Berners-Lee is director of the World Wide Web Consortium, which oversees the Web’s continued development. He was credited with developing the first proposal for the World Wide Web, which runs over the internet.
The invitation-only Abu Dhabi Media Summit will be held on October 22-24, organized in conjunction with the twofour54 media zone. It is expected to attract “hundreds” of attendees, its organizers say.
Digital media will again form the main theme of the event, having also been the focus last year. The Summit will analyse “opportunities in a fully-networked, media-centric world”, according to the organizer.
Andy Bird, the chairman of Walt Disney International, is set to speak about the art of emerging-market expansion and storytelling in a global marketplace, according to the ADMS. Other speakers include Mark Hollinger, head of Discovery Networks International, and Shailesh Rao, vice-president for international operations at Twitter.
Speakers from previous years have included business magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates, News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch and the renowned film director James Cameron.
The Abu Dhabi Media Summit takes place at a time of ongoing uncertainty in the Arab media industry.
Advertising spending, the main driver of revenues, was rocked by the financial downturn and the Arab Spring.
Regional experts point to the impact of the bloody civil war in Syria and uncertainty in the wider Middle East as having an ongoing impact on the Arab media industry.
Elie Khouri, chief executive of Omnicom Media Group in the Middle East and North Africa, told Al Arabiya recently that he anticipates growth in regional advertising spending of just 5 to 6 percent this year – half what he projected in January.
According to estimates quoted in the Arab Media Outlook, published last year by Deloitte and the Dubai Press Club, the region’s total advertising market was on track to be worth $5.15 billion this year.