Dubai is a city of entrepreneurs, and it has evolved into a global hub of digital media companies in recent years with its business-friendly policies. Before you set up a media company in Dubai, you must focus on all the aspects, from location and legal structures to cost, for a smooth start.
Many filmmakers and the best production companies are choosing Dubai to establish their media houses due to its remarkable perks. If you are thinking about how to set up a media company in Dubai, this article will walk you through all the crucial aspects of turning it into a reality.
The media sector in the UAE is growing at a dynamic pace, and setting up a media company in Dubai will give you access to multiple benefits.
- Various Media Businesses: There is a variety of options when it comes to media companies in Dubai. Therefore, as per your interest, you can launch a firm related to TV, radio, music, printing, or any other media.
- Multiple Location Options: Whether you’re aiming for an advertising company or a television one, Dubai meets all your needs. Freezones, mainland, and offshore are the three main options when setting up a media company in Dubai, which you can choose from based on your requirements.
- Office Space: You don’t have to own or rent an office space to register a media company in Dubai. However, you will need a physical address for your company, which can be shared workspace or a virtual office.
- Tax Laws: Although Dubai is one of the most in-demand commercial areas in the world, it applies only 9% corporate tax on businesses in free zones or the mainland. New media companies with an annual revenue below 375,000 AED (approximately 100,000 USD) are exempt from corporate tax to help them grow.
In addition, the minimal 5% value-added tax (VAT) is relatively low if the taxable turnover exceeds the threshold revenue mentioned earlier.
- Corporate Bank Account: To grow your media business and manage the day-to-day operations, you can establish a corporate bank account in the UAE after registering your media company in Dubai.
- Sponsorship: You can apply for a visa for yourself and your dependents based on your media company in Dubai. Ensure that you follow the proper procedures according to the specific requirements for visa applications.
Dubai is a global hub for business and innovation, and it is also a great place to start a media company. The city has a thriving media landscape, with a wide range of outlets serving both local and international audiences.
Here are some of the best places to establish a media company in Dubai:
- Media City: Media City is a free zone dedicated to the media and entertainment industries. It offers a range of benefits to media companies, including tax exemptions, 100% foreign ownership, and access to world-class facilities.
- Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC): DIFC is another free zone that is well-suited for media companies. It offers a similar range of benefits to Media City and access to a global financial centre.
- Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO): DSO is a free zone that is focused on technology and innovation. It is a good option for media companies that are developing new technologies or products.
- Knowledge Village: Knowledge Village is a free zone that is dedicated to education and training. It is a good option for media companies that are focused on educational content or training programs.
In addition to the free zones, there are also several other places where you can establish a media company in Dubai.
- Downtown Dubai: Downtown Dubai is the central business district of Dubai, and it is home to several major media companies.
- Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT): JLT is a business district that is located next to Dubai Marina. It is home to several media companies, as well as other businesses from a variety of industries.
- Al Barsha: Al Barsha is a mixed-use community close to Dubai Internet City. It is home to several media companies, as well as residential and commercial properties.
When choosing a location for your media company, there are several factors to consider, such as:
- Target audience: Where is your target audience located? You will want to choose a location that is convenient for your target audience to access.
- Cost: The cost of renting or buying office space can vary depending on the location. You will need to factor in the cost of office space when making your decision.
- Accessibility: You will want to choose a location that is easily accessible for your employees and clients. This means considering factors such as public transportation and parking.
- Amenities: You may also want to consider the amenities that are available in the area. For example, you may want to be close to restaurants, cafes, and shops.
Before you invest in starting a media company in Dubai, a general overview of the permitted business activities in UAE is a plus. Following are some significant media businesses you can enter and make a fortune in Dubai.
- Advertising and communication
- Media and Marketing Services.
- Media Support Services.
- Event Management and Event Support services
- Media and Marketing Consultancy.
- News Media.
- Business Information.
- Media Association Segment (Non-Profit).
With the help of the following steps, you can easily pave the way to setting up a media company in Dubai.
Approval From Governing Bodies
You will need approval from governing bodies like the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA), the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA), or other offices based on the activity of your media company.
Likewise, foreign investors require approval from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner’s Affairs (GDRFA) before submitting an initial approval.
Submit Approval Application
First, submit an online application for approval for a media company from the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (DTMFZ) Authority. The authorities take five days at the most to assess your proposal for approval. You can also register your virtual media company in Dubai through the Department of Economy and Tourism in the DVCC.
Moreover, if you wish to start a media business in the mainland, select a suitable legal form like General Partnership, LLC, PJSC, PrJSC, etc., register a unique tradename, and submit an approval application to DED.
Legal Documents Submission
Once the government authority approves your application for a media company, submit all necessary legal documents and their photocopies. A UAE government official will carefully review your documents for a detailed evaluation.
Sign Customer Confirmation Letter
The authorities will review your legal documentation and provide a Customer Confirmation Letter if the evaluation is satisfactory. You must sign and forward the letter with the required payments to the DMC salesperson. Usually, the amount includes a registration fee, the first lease installment, and the license fee.
You don’t need to sign a customer confirmation letter to set up a media company in Dubai.
Sign a Memorandum of Association (MOA) or Local Service Agent Agreement (LSA)
To make your media company in Dubai official, you must sign a Memorandum of Association in the presence of the company’s shareholders. The MOA is required if the legal form of your media company falls under an LLC, PJSC, PrJSC, or Limited Partnership.
However, if non-GCC residents own the media company completely, a local service agent is appointed to sign the LSA.
Select Business Location
Like any other business in Dubai, a media company should have a physical address. You can select a suitable location according to your budget and the company’s jurisdiction area.
Deposit Total Share Capital
You can start a media company by depositing the total share capital after clearing the above steps. If you set up a company in Dubai Media City.
On the other hand, you must deposit a minimum capital of AED 2,50,000 if you are starting a media company in the TV or radio broadcasting domain. However, open a company bank account first to make the deposit. In contrast, no minimum capital requirement exists for an LLC in Dubai.
Sign the Sponsorship Agreement and Lease
As a final step, you must sign a personnel sponsorship agreement and a lease to get a permit to set up a media company in Dubai and receive a license. The UAE government encourages diversity in business culture. Therefore, you can have 100% ownership, even as a foreigner, if you set up a media company in Dubai. With the help of an experienced business setup consultant, you can obtain a license for your media company after fulfilling the given requirements.
A professional can help you make your media company in Dubai operational by obtaining a mandatory license, costing up to 5,000 AED (approximately 1360 USD), from the Ministry of Culture and Youth.
You will need different documents to obtain a license for a media company in Dubai, such as:
- Duly Filled license application.
- Business Plan.
- color photocopy of passport (Manager/ Director(s)/ or legal representative).
- Duly Filled Company Registration Application Form.
- Details of Shareholders.
- Original Memorandum and Articles of Association.
- Board Resolution.
- NOC from residency visa sponsor.
- A passport copy of the Manager’s along with a specimen of signature separately.
- A passport copy of the Director(s) and their signature specimen are needed.
- Proof of Share Capital.
- Memorendam of Association of FZ-LLC.
- Agreement for Personnel Secondment.
- Certificate of Authorization for GSO.
- Power of Attorney (If not applying in person).
To run a business in Dubai, you need a commercial license. Since Dubai Media City is the prime choice for starting a media company, many businesses there use the following rights:
- TV or Radio Broadcasting License.
- News Agency License.
- Music and Entertainment License.
- Web Design License.
- Marketing and Media Services License.
- Film Distribution or Management license
- Publishing License.
The following is a general breakdown of the expected cost to start and run a media company in Dubai.
- Company Registration Fee: The company registration fee is a one-time payment to register your media company with the free zone authority. The company’s legal structure and the selected free zone determine the exact price.
- License Fee: A business license to operate in a free zone is the most critical expense for setting up a media company in Dubai. The cost of the business license depends on whether it is for trading, services, manufacturing, etc.
- Office Setup and Rent: Although office space is optional for obtaining a business license for a media company in Dubai, having a physical address for your business is a must and can add to the overall cost.
- Share Capital: The share capital varies remarkably according to the jurisdiction of your choice for establishing a media company. On the other hand, there is no minimum capital for an LLC, which can be in mainland Dubai.
- Visa Renewal: Once the media company is up and running, management must get visas for employees working in the office space in Dubai’s free zones. The cost of the visa fee varies, given whether the employees are UAE residents or foreigners.
Starting a media company in Dubai can be a gratifying experience, and the excitement for new opportunities is tangible. Despite that, consider a few things when setting up your business in the UAE to keep expectations realistic.
- Competition: Before you start a media company, do market research and identify your competitors, target audience, and how your company can stand out.
- Marketing: Before launching your media company, you can use traditional and digital/social media marketing to build a brand name and voice. Setting clear goals and understanding the customer’s pain points can help you build a solution-oriented marketing strategy.
- Digital Equipment: Your media company must have quality digital equipment to produce quality content. It includes high-end cameras for photography and videography, continuous lights, strobes, modifiers, computers with strong graphics cards and processing speeds for editing and rendering, etc.
- Insurance: It is essential to have commercial insurance to protect your business from any liability or unforeseen loss. You should get insurance coverage for your media company, including property and professional indemnity insurance.
- Hiring Staff: Recruiting the right people is crucial to the success of your media company. So, hiring experienced and creative people to deliver quality content is important.
- Vision and Action Plan: Although a business plan is required for company registration in Dubai, the collective vision and a relevant action plan run a company in the long term. You can focus on bringing value and expertise to your content for a successful media business.
By keeping all the above factors in check, you have a higher chance of making your media company in Dubai successful. With the help of Adam Global Business Consultants, you can easily navigate through your entrepreneurial journey of setting up a media company with all the legislation and other matters handled smoothly.
Adam Global is a trusted business setup consultancy in Dubai with a worldwide client base and has been providing services for over 16 years. Here are some reasons you should choose Adam Global to set up your media company.
- Expertise: Adam Global has experienced consultants in Dubai who have helped numerous businesses to launch and become profitable. They have a deep insight into the legal and regulatory structures of the business models to help you set up a media company in Dubai without much hassle.
- Cost Comparison: Capital investment is needed to set up any business, and a media company is no different. At Adam Global, our expert consultants can provide a personalized cost and benefit comparison in various free zones and other locations available within Dubai to set up a media company.
- Choosing the Best Business Jurisdiction: Consultants at Adam Global can help you determine if starting a media company in the free zone or the mainland is better. Moreover, we can help you find a perfect free zone whose regulations align with the business activities of your media firm.
- Understanding Legal Formalities: Every media company has its legal forms and structures, which differ from one business to another. Therefore, consultants at Adam Global can help you understand legal formalities easily and provide other services like company registration, visa services, licensing, and more.
Starting a media company in Dubai can be an amazing opportunity because of the high demand and profitability. To set up a media company, you must choose a suitable free zone, obtain legal registration and licenses, rent an office space, hire professionals, and invest in digital equipment. The cost of setting up a media company in Dubai varies according to its type, licensing, and location.
You can get assistance from Adam Global Business Setup Consultants to help you set up your media company in Dubai by providing expertise, cost comparison, and choosing the best jurisdiction for your business. With our help, you can start a media firm by meeting all the legal and regulatory requirements without any problem.