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BroadcastPro Summit and Awards 2013
FEATURED SPEAKERS 2013
  Dr. Riyadh Najm
President at General Commission for Audiovisual Media,
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Dr. Riyadh Najm is a broadcast veteran who has engaged in several media and technical positions since 1980 at the Ministry of Culture and Information in Saudi Arabia and presently heads the General Commission for Audiovisual media in the Kingdom. Prior to that, he was Deputy Minister for Information Affairs following his role as Assistant Deputy Minister for Engineering from 2005 to 2011 at the MOCI, now called Saudi Broadcasting Corporation. He is on the board of several regional and international broadcast entities including Arab States Broadcasting Union, HDTV Arab Group and IBC. He has also been on the boards of several international entities such as World Broadcasting Union (2002 – 2010) and ITU (2000 – 2007). He is head of the audio-visual regulations in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Najm holds a doctorate in telecommunications from Liverpool University, UK.

  Mohammed Akhlaq
International Operations Director of Al Jazeera Network and Launch Technical Director of Al Jazeera America


Mohammed Akhlaq is Director of International Operations at Al Jazeera Network and was Launch Director of Technology and Operations for Al Jazeera America. Akhlaq will deliver the keynote at the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards on November 12 at The Address Marina Dubai. Akhlaq joined Al Jazeera Network in 2011 and was hugely instrumental in getting the operations up and running for Al Jazeera America in under 12 weeks for its impending launch on August 20, 2013. Prior to joining Al Jazeera, Akhlaq worked with the BBC for more than 23 years serving in different executive roles in different parts of the media house, mainly in engineering and operations. Akhlaq was part of the project launch team at the BBC that launched BBC Arabic and BBC Persian channels to be tri-cast across TV, radio and online simultaneously.

Akhlaq is presently based in Doha.

  Jamal Al Sharif
Chairman, Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC)


Jamal Al Sharif is Chairman of Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC). Al Sharif has devoted his entire career to positioning Dubai as a global leader in media and technology and continues to do so in his current role with DFTC, leading the efforts to establish Dubai and as a filming destination for local, regional and international film, TV and commercial productions.

Al Sharif is highly regarded in the industry for his project management expertise, performance-driven experience as a media industry and real estate specialist, and for his ability to generate business in fiercely competitive markets. Al Sharif was instrumental in bringing Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol to Dubai, which not only brought extensive media coverage to the emirate, but also led to an increase in film productions from various countries.

Al Sharif is also Managing Director of Dubai Media City and Dubai Studio City, part of the Media Cluster at Tecom Investments, a member of Dubai Holding.

  David Butorac
Chief Executive Officer, OSN


An international television industry veteran, David Butorac brings a wealth of experience to OSN gained over a 30 year career in some of the world's most successful broadcasting and multi-channel Television companies. His career to date has included the positions of Head of Operations and Station Manager at BSkyB, Group Chief Operating Officer at Astro, Malaysia's largest broadcasting and cross-media company, as well as President at the News Corporation's Star TV in Hong Kong. Most recently, David was Managing Director of WIN Corporation, Australia's largest regional cross-media company. David was included in the inaugural Advance Australia list of the 100 most influential Australian's living outside Australia and was named Media and Marketing Business Leader of the Year at the 2012 Gulf Business Industry Awards.


  Fahad Al-Sukait
CEO of Rotana Group and Alarab News channel

Fahad Al Sukait was appointed CEO of Rotana Group in July 2010 after 21 years working in the FMCG sector with Procter and Gamble. He oversees the group’s activities across the media businesses of TV, movies and audio. Alsukait led the negotiations with News Corp to invest in the group and people meter projects in the region. Alsukait is also leading the launch of the new news channel Alarab, which is scheduled to go live end of 2013/early 2014.

  Mukund Cairae
CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprise LLC MENA & Pakistan


A veteran television management professional, Mukund Cairae is the Chief Executive Officer – Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan of Zee Entertainment Enterprise LLC.

Associated with Zee for over eight years in senior positions, he has expertise in broadcast media business and a proven track record in setting up businesses right from inception. He played a key role in driving the footprint of Zee across Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Australia and New Zealand, while gaining an understanding of government regulations relating to foreign media and consumptive patterns of the general populace in these regions. He has also established strong business relationships through tie-ups with distribution networks, programme buyers, advertisers and government regulators.

In his current position that he has held for the last three years, he heads a team of 65 professionals in marketing, programming, advertising sales, content sales and distribution. He is responsible for managing the Arab as well as the South Asian business units of Zee consisting of six TV channels in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. He oversees day-to-day operations, marketing and sales, programme development, and government & public relations. He also formulates business strategy for the growth of existing TV channels as well as evaluating new markets for business opportunities.

Under his leadership, Zee Network’s MENAP operations recorded the most profitable year in 2011-12 and gross advertising revenues increased by 77% in the last three years. The region made tremendous headway in the Pan Arab advertising market and is firmly entrenched in the Arab entertainment business. The idea of a General Entertainment channel for the Arab population has been conceptualized, formulated and executed in his stint here in MENAP.

  Cliff Nelson
CEO of My-HD


Cliff Nelson is the Chief Executive Officer of My-HD, bringing 20 years of experience in the industry to the company. As the founder, Cliff conceived the business model for the My-HD platform to allow free-to-air channels to transition to HD broadcasting.

Prior to My-HD, Cliff was the Senior Vice President, Operations and Platform Development, OSN, following serving as the Executive Vice President of Orbit Communications Company. Prior to that Cliff was the Senior Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Business Development at Showtime for almost 10 years.

  Dr. Raed Khusheim
CEO, Selevision

Versatile and dynamic CEO providing decisive leadership, management & guidance with proven ability to dramatically increase revenues in intensely competitive environments. Strong organisation motivator and team player with established record of success in identifying new & emerging Business Opportunities. Highly skilled in developing operational strategies & directing major marketing promotions from original concept through implementation.

  Robert Taylor
Program Manager for Al Jazeera’s Workplace Transformation Project, Al Jazeera Network


Robert Taylor is the Program Manager for Al Jazeera’s Workplace Transformation (AJWT) project in Doha. AJWT is a major initiative within Al Jazeera Media Network to modernize all aspects of its global news operations for greater efficiency and dynamic business growth. For 3 decades he has been deploying emerging technologies in some of broadcasts largest projects. He has transitioned broadcast technologies from 2” through ½” to tapeless, SDI to 3G to 3D and PAL to MAC to DVB. Often asked to deliver “the next big thing”, whilst balancing the business vs technology vs investment triangle, he has a strong interest in the Reality or Hype of 4K’s future within our industry.

  Paul Baker
Executive Director, twofour54 intaj


Paul Baker is Executive Director of twofour54 intaj which delivers production, post-production, and broadcast services to production companies, producers and broadcasters across the region and worldwide.

In his role, Paul is responsible for overseeing operations and ongoing development of this service. Paul brings a wealth of international experience to the role, having worked for Pinewood Shepperton PLC TV and Film production studios in addition to holding commercial roles within the media sector, including with News Corporation and Pearson. Prior to joining twofour54 intaj, Paul Baker worked as the Executive Vice President of Pinewood USA Incorporated, the Los Angeles based subsidiary of Pinewood Shepperton PLC. Before establishing the US office, Paul was based in the UK, playing a leading role in strategy development focused on large-scale TV growth, financing initiatives and attracting inward investment from Hollywood Majors.

Paul holds an MBA from Henley Business School, where he majored in leadership and entrepreneurship.

  Mark Billinge
Chief Technology Officer, OSN


Mark Billinge is presently CTO of OSN. He was appointed Vice President for Broadcast Operations and Technology at OSN in February 2011, and has been with the company since July 2006.

He oversees the end-to-end broadcast operations at OSN including all technology developments and the upgradation of the OSN platform.

Mark has played a pivotal role at the station especially with regards to the launch of its English Premier League coverage, becoming the first broadcaster in the world to broadcast all 380 matches of the season live with dual-language commentary.

Since the merger and formation of OSN in 2009, Mark has been actively involved in all major projects carried out by the Broadcast and Technology department including the region’s first HD platform, the conversion of the platform to MPEG 4 in 2011 and the successful launch of OSN Play earlier this year.

Before joining OSN, Mark worked in the UK and has more than 20 years of experience in broadcast technology and operations. Mark has a BSc in Electronics Engineering from Leicester DeMontfort University, UK.

David Hanson
Director of Digital, OSN


As Director of Digital at OSN, David Hanson is breaking new ground at the region’s leading pay-TV network. Responsible for the successful implementation and expansion of OSN’s new “OSN Play” and “OSN Plus HD on Demand” services, he brings more than a decade of broadcast experience to the role.

David has been working in the Middle East for eight years and has risen through the ranks first with Showtime Arabia and then OSN following the merger. Prior to heading the Digital Division, David was Director of Programming and On Demand Services for OSN’s movie channels.

Before joining OSN, David held the position of Channel Manager at Sky’s hugely successful Sky Movies offering.

David will complete his EMBA at London Business School in July 2013.

   
  Georges Dabaghi
General Manager, Vubiquity Middle East


Georges Dabaghi has been the General Manager for Vubiquity in the Middle East since January 2010.

George’s primary role is the commercialization and monetization of video on demand services to operators in the Middle East starting with IPTV networks (Du, Ooredoo are examples) and moving to multi-screen and Over The Top (OTT) solutions making use of his vast expertise and knowledge spanning commercial broadband, wireless technologies and content service creation & management.

Dabaghi has operated in the Middle East and African telecommunications industry for more than 16 years, supporting fixed and wireless networks and VOD projects for key regional operators.

Prior to this, he held senior management positions at SeaChange, Motorola’s Home & Networks Mobility division, SITA, and Lucent Technologies. His telecommunications focus began with development and research roles at AT&T Network Systems and the NASA Center, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor – USA.

Dabaghi holds a Masters in Business Administration from McGill University (Canada); a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan (USA); and a Bachelors of Electronic & Electrical Engineering with first class honors from Loughborough University (UK).

  Ghassan Saad
Senior Manager Content Acquisition, Commercial, du


Ghassan Saad is du’s Senior Manager in charge of content acquisition and commercial relations leading all du’s content projects. He manages all aspects of IPTV and digital services from developing content strategies, project management and execution, content selection, acquisition and up-scaling, to end user experience and consumer proposition development. Ghassan was recently assigned additional responsibilities to oversee content sales and marketing planning and execution.

Ghassan holds an MBA from UoW and has accumulated well over 17 years of experience in both pay TV and telecom TV fields, as well as digital platforms. His expertise has been the cornerstone allowing du to launch the region award winning VOD (TVOD/SVOD) service together with other key successful acquisition of premium audio, video, text based and gaming services.

Today, Ghassan’s challenge is getting du to build its content offering for the multi-screen and Over The Top (OTT) prospective innovative service.

  Nick Barratt
Senior Broadcast Manager, MBC


Nick Barratt is senior technical manager with more than a decade of experience in the broadcast field, covering all aspects of broadcast technology. He began his career in the UK with ITVDigital before moving on to MTV to support all aspects of its UK playout centre in London. His He was part of the setup team for Showtime (now OSN) during its move from London to Dubai, then joining Arab Media Group to launch MTV Arabia and Nickelodeon Arabia as Chief Engineer overseeing the initial launch platform and the design and implementation of the permanent transmission infrastructure at Studio City (now part of DMI). He is presently Senior Broadcast Manager at MBC Group and is responsible for all aspects of the group’s broadcast systems covering production, radio and television. During his time with MBC, he has overseen a period of unprecedented change, culminating in the transition to a full tapeless environment, HD production and HD broadcasting.

  Fares Akkad
Head of Distribution and Digital Business Development

In his role at MBC, Fares looks after the digital portfolio for MBC and is responsible for helping define the digital strategy for MBC group. Further, Fares also heads all distribution efforts for the group across TV, Music, Radio, Online and Mobile. Fares is an experienced strategist, having founded several successful internet startups both in the US and the Middle East. He also has extensive experience in management consulting having advised global and regional clients on a variety of technology and digital issues. Prior to MBC, Fares was with Booz and Company where he focused on the Media Technology and Communications industries. Fares Hold a BS in Biotechnology, an MS in Information Systems and an MBA from a top USA University

  Simon Bigg
Head of R&D, Compression Business Line, Ericsson


Simon Bigg graduated from the University of Southampton in 1987 with a BSc in Electronic Engineering and the Diploma of Engineering. In the early 1990s, he pioneered early simulation work on MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 encoder implementations and then led the development team at NTL which produced the first MPEG-2 professional receiver. In a number of subsequent technical management roles, he has been responsible for the development of a number of different components parts of the digital compression based transmission systems. He is now Head of R&D for Ericsson’s Compression Business Line, and is responsible for the design, development and introduction into manufacturing of all Ericsson’s compression products and systems.

  Ben Kinealy
VP of IPTV/ OTT, Intigral


Ben Kinealy is the VP of IPTV/ OTT at Intigral and oversees Intigral’s IPTV services to STC and the development of its OTT product set. He also plays a critical role in expanding the company’s operations regionally and internationally to other telcos.

Established in 2009, Intigral is an end-to-end solution provider focused on delivering digital media content services to the MENA telecom operators and regional ISPs to deliver compelling digital media entertainment, content and interactive experience to consumers across mobile, web and IPTV distribution platforms. Intigral is a joint venture between Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and All Asia Networks (ASTRO).

Ben has more than 12 years of new media executive leadership following an earlier career in traditional media and in major telecommunication companies. This experience has given him a solid understanding of new media across telco TV, online and mobile from a business development, product, marketing, technical and executive management perspective.

Prior to joining Intigral, Ben was Director of IPTV at Telstra, Australia’s leading telecommunications company, where he successfully led all video products including the telco’s IPTV/OTT, pay TV services, T-Box & FOXTEL. In addition, he is also experienced in developing content, and sports strategies – negotiating rights with major studios, distributors, and sports organisations including the first live IP streaming rights for AFL & NRL across IPTV/OTT, web and mobile.

  Carlos Tibi
Founder & CEO, ICFLIX


Prior to ICFLIX, Carlos served in a number of leadership and senior management roles for multinational companies. His expertise involves managing large, complex, multinational projects for Fortune 500 companies that span multiple technologies, geographies and cultural boundaries. A strategic thinker with exceptional leadership skills, Carlos was previously involved in successfully architecting and implementing e-commerce solutions for leading multinational Internet companies. Carlos has established multiple profitable business ventures in the areas of Internet Technology (IT) and SecureCloud. Carlos has been recognised for consistently delivering financial results and business performance in the most competitive global environments that maximize value for corporate investors and stakeholders. His vision is to create the top global entertainment streaming company that provides the best content anytime, anywhere and on any device.

  Lina Matta
Channel Manager MBC 4, MBC 2, MBC Max, MBC Persia


As Channel Manager for MBC 2, 4 and Max, Lina Matta coordinates the programming strategy and vision of the channels as well as works on achieving the ratings and financial targets set. Prior to MBC, Lina was a media consultant for DMI, where she played a primary role in developing and implementing the re-branding of Dubai One, while managing content acquisition and programming and overseeing in-house and outsourced productions.

Lina is also the co-founder of Brown Hats Productions, a New York based independent production company. Among its projects are two award-winning documentaries Running for Bogota and Prison Lullabies; Titlepage.tv, the first-ever American online literary talkshow; and the annual NY-based film series, ANA Contemporary Arab Cinema, that highlights award-winning films by Arab directors.

Prior to BHP, Lina spent nearly a decade as a TV Director and Producer in Washington, D.C., developing and distributing news magazine shows and documentaries to the burgeoning pan- Arab satellite TV market.

  Sarah Al Jarman
General Manager- Dubai One, Dubai Media Incorporated

Sarah Al Jarman is one of the few leading Emirati females in the Media industry in the UAE. Al Jarman graduated from the American University of Sharjah with a BA in Mass Communications and Advertising. She then joined Dubai Media Incorporated.

Al Jarman served as Programming and Acquisition Manager for English-language channel Dubai One. She was then appointed Channel Manager of DubaiOne. Al Jarman’s role changed and evolved from year to year where she started in the Scheduling department then moved to Dubai One’s Foreign Acquisition department.

As the channel transitioned, she was appointed to manage the programming of Dubai One up until her latest appointment, where she relaunched the channel. Al Jarman served as a member of the jury in the International Emmys awards. Al Jarman is also a supporter for children's humanitarian causes; she serves as a sponsor and fund-raiser for the Save the Children nonprofit organization.

  Nick Grande MA ACA
Managing Director, ChannelSculptor


Nick is one of the MENA region’s prominent TV strategists, and has worked with or advised numerous major regional and international media companies over the past 18 years.

Based in London in the 1990s, he worked with MTV Networks International on their digital network expansion and the launch of MTV2, MTV Base and VH-1 Classic. His first exposure to the MENA TV industry was in 1999 when he joined Showtime Arabia. During seven years as Strategy Director, he was the architect of Showtime’s move from London to Dubai Media City. He was then Launch Director for MTV Arabia in 2007.

In April 2008, Nick founded ChannelSculptor, a UAE-based strategic consultancy and service provider, working both with major broadcast brands such as RTL Group, Arqiva, Rotana Media and Sky News Arabia, and more recently with major MENA IPTV players. He is a published authority on the strategic development of TV broadcasting in the MENA region.

  Mahesh Jaishankar
VP of datamena and Broadcasting, du


In his position as the Vice President of datamena and broadcasting at du, the UAE integrated telecom service provider, Mahesh Jaishankar leads the business unit and P&L function of both divisions. His responsibilities include the development of the UAE-based carrier neutral hub, under the datamena initiative and in alliance with Equinix, has tied in with the content and satellite services under du’s broadcasting facilities.

Mahesh has more than 20 years of experience in the Telecom and IT industry in the Middle East and India. Throughout the years, he has successfully led the strategy, business development, sales and marketing, and product management of a wide range of telecom products and services.

Mahesh holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Communications, and an MBA in Information Technology from University of Leicester.

  Vida Rizq
Principal Founder, Aflamnah


Vida is Principal Founder of Aflamnah, a crowdfunding platform. Together with the enthusiasm and passion she has for Aflamnah, she brings a wealth of experience in the media and entertainment industry to the table along with 20 years of international experience in the communications and marketing field. Vida Rizq has been consulting for media organizations and identified the opportunity for a crowdfunding platform as a result. She has been instrumental in the set up and management of the post production support programme with the Dubai international Film Festival and was also a key part of the launch team of Image Nation in 2008. She specializes in the positioning and marketing of properties and streamlining corporate communication objectives. Vida’s experience encompasses senior roles across agencies, government organizations and blue chip companies including Microsoft’s MSN, Showtime (now OSN) and Abu Dhabi Media. Vida has been involved with the media industry for many years and has worked extensively in the field of film in Europe and in the region. Vida is a skilled strategist and a veteran communications professional who thrives on challenging projects that have change and innovation at their heart.

  Ali Ajouz
Managing Partner, Sawa Media


Since 1990, Ali had worked for Pay & Free TV platforms in advertising sales, marketing, PR. He is now MD & Partner of SAWA Media in Content Production & Distribution, Broadcast TV Services and Digital Product Placement, a solution to creative media agencies and advertisers. After completing his MA in Economics from Boston University, Ali joined MBC as Marketing and Sales Manager in 1991. He moved to China as VP Marketing Sales with AMG in 1994. In January 1996, he joined the startup team to launch Showtime across the MENA region. In 2003, he joined Orbit as VP Marketing & Distribution. In 2007, he was selected as a key team member that negotiated the Orbit Showtime merger to form OSN for which he worked as SVP Marketing and PR.

  Mustapha El-Achkar
Manager/Pass-through Channels, E-Vision, UAE


As Pass-through channels Manager, Mustapha El-Achkar is responsible for strategic overseeing content and technical aspects at E-vision. He has vast experience in FTA and Pay TV, which spans over 20 years.

Based in Dubai, he is responsible for channels carriage negotiations and acquisition both for IPTV and OTT platforms. El-Achkar has successfully participated in E-vision's steady growth & enhancement in channel offerings to over 500 TV channels, out of which 100 are in High Definition.

  Karim Sarkis
CEO, Sync Media


Karim (@kmsarkis) is the CEO of Sync Media, a company that brings together the various elements needed to create and monetize great content: creativity, financing and distribution. Sync Media produces video content for television, web and mobile that is tailored for the Arab audience while providing branding and sponsorship opportunities for advertisers. Prior to founding Sync Media, Karim held senior executive roles in the Abu Dhabi Media Company and the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

  Cristiano Benzi
Director Line of Business Video and Broadcasting EUTELSAT Communications

Cristiano Benzi is Director Line of Business Video and Broadcasting at Eutelsat, in charge of Customer Support on the whole portfolio of video products, which count for almost 70% of the revenues of the company. Cristiano is an expert on new production and broadcasting technologies and has held positions in Research and development, Procurement, Network Operations, Product Development, Marketing and Sales.Cristiano has also served until 2011 as the Chairman of the Italian HD Forum, an association of TV and media companies aimed at the development of high definition broadcasting in Italy.

  Chris O'Hearn
General Manager, Emirates Media Measurement Company

Christopher O’Hearn is a senior television executive and professional project manager with a wide range of experience in leading media companies.

As General Manager of Emirates Media Measurement Company, he is responsible for running the UAE’s television ratings service ‘tview’ on behalf of a range of industry stakeholders, providing data to global and regional broadcasters and advertisers.

Chris has been in the UAE since October 2007, initially as a senior consultant for DMA Media providing advice and project direction on media facilities, technology and strategy for the setup and launch of twofour54. In 2010 Chris joined Abu Dhabi Media Company as Broadcast Projects Manager, managing the launch of the English Premier League and the rollout of a new Pay TV platform against a tight deadline.

Prior to coming to Abu Dhabi Chris was involved in online content acquisition, sales and licensing as Commercial Director for ITN’s archive division and various management and production roles for Associated Press Television where he worked in London and New York.

His background is in journalism and production. He has also worked for Sky News and Reuters in London and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney, Canberra and Darwin. Chris has a professional management qualification and an MSc in Project Management from Liverpool University.