The world has moved into a digital phase – everywhere we look, there are people tapping away on their smartphones and consuming content. Smartphones have made it possible for everyone to create, share and consume content anywhere, any time. Many individuals, now popularly known as influencers, have used this opportunity of instant media consumption to commercialise their creativity, however, where there is commercialisation, laws follow closely behind. This is why the National Media Council (NMC) introduced the UAE influencer licence. If you are an influencer in Dubai trying to figure out if you need to obtain this licence, we have got you covered.
Whats the hype around the UAE influencer licence?
Social media is the fastest growing sector in the UAE. Due to this, the NMC, which is the governing body that regulates and supports all media-related initiatives and activities in the UAE, announced that social media influencers in the UAE who make money from their posts will need to obtain the influencer licence to continue blogging/vlogging. Obtaining the licence extends to bloggers and vloggers who are sharing content on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The licence is similar to the Dubai media licence which magazines and newspapers acquire from the authorities.
The announcement of this new law was received as quite a shock by many, however, the introduction of this has been set in motion to professionalise and regulate the industry in which social media influencers in the UAE operate. The new influencer law will also extend to influencers visiting from abroad, i.e. non-UAE residents and nationals as well.
Do influencers in Dubai actually need it?
Simply put, if you are making money from the posts you share, then yes. Obtaining the licence is essential for those influencers in Dubai who are making money through advertisements and promotions on their social pages.
If you are an influencer in Dubai who only receives free gifts, products and services from brands, in exchange for coverage, then you are in the clear – you don’t need to be a licensed influencer to share your posts. Do keep in mind, the moment you enter into a paid collaboration with any brand, you will need this licence, as failure to do so can result in hefty fines. Influencers in Dubai who are affiliated with media agencies certified by NMC will not need to obtain the licence.
Influencers who are visiting the UAE from abroad can conduct business as a social influencer in the UAE, provided they are signed with an NMC registered influencer agency. Any brands who are considering flying in an influencer who doesn’t have this media licence in Dubai will need to go through a registered influencer agency to avoid facing fines.
What are the influencer licence fees?
Before obtaining the licence, influencers will need to obtain a trade licence, for example, from Dubai Creative Clusters Authority or twofour54 in Abu Dhabi. After the trade licence is obtained, the influencer will have to get the licence. This licence will allow social media influencers in Dubai and across the UAE to promote or advertise on Facebook, Instagram or any other online social platforms. The licence is valid for one year and costs AED 15k.
Influencers who are affiliated with influencer agencies certified by the NMC do not need to apply for the licence; the agency will bear the cost for all the influencers registered under them.
Groups of UAE influencers that work together as collectives need to set up a company which holds a trade licence before applying for the e-media licence. All the influencers within each group will be liable for the content posted. The fee will also be AED 15k for the media licence. Influencers in Dubai who fail to obtain this Dubai media licence can face a fine of AED 5k.
How can You obtain the licence?
If you are looking to become a licensed influencer in the UAE, you have two options – either obtain an individual licence or get into a contract with any of the influencer agencies certified by the NMC. Social media influencers in the UAE registering for an individual licence will require a trade licence too, so expect yearly costs up to AED 30k. You can apply online for the influencer licence by visiting the NMC website. If you sign a contract with any of the NMC certified agencies, then you won’t need to bear the cost of the licence, but do keep in mind that these agencies come with their own set requirements which could limit your creative freedom.
The influencer law has come at the right time to the UAE as we see popular influencers in Dubai like MoVlogs and Rashed Belhasa using their popularity to command rich endorsements from big brands. Other public figures like Huda Kattan who turned her social pages into the well-known brand Huda Beauty, has inspired many to take up the role of a social media influencer in the UAE.
Fancy trying your hand at being an influencer? Why not pop down to Dubai’s most insta friendly spot to give it a go. What are your thoughts on the new influencers? Let us know in the comment sections below and stay tuned to MyBayut for more updates like this.