On September 30, Google hosted its first YouTube event in Dubai, Pulse, for the advertising industry. Global executives, Robert Kyncl, head of content and operations for YouTube and Lucas Watson, Vice President for global brand solutions at Google were present at the event. As total watchtime on YouTube continues to grow by 50 percent since 2013, with six billion hours of video watched in a month by more than one billion viewers around the world, the event highlighted certain keypoints for advertisers. These included the development of the content creator ecosystem around the globe and in the region, growth of channels on YouTube and opportunities for brands to reach a diverse audience via the platform.
“Advertisers and content creators are using YouTube to entertain, inspire and inform their most valuable audiences,” said Kyncl. “That kind of engagement has led to the emergence of a number of digital content companies built on YouTube like UTURN and Kharabeesh who recognize the momentum of the region. Globally, we’ve seen several traditional media companies invest and purchase these kinds of networks. From Disney’s purchase of Maker Studios for nearly one billion dollars to Dreamworks’ acquisition of AwesomenessTV and the launch together of a new Dreamworks Kids network on YouTube. With such high viewership engagement and growth in MENA, we expect that same type of investment to occur here in the future,” he adds.
YouTube shared highlights from Google’s recent consumer connected survey, a comprehensive study on users in the UAE, that shows that 90 percent of smartphone users are online daily on their devices and 80 percent use their smartphones to watch videos online. YouTube also released figures from its YouTube mobile report, which shows that YouTube’s app ranks second in the UAE in terms of time spent. In the UAE – where smartphone penetration is one of the highest in the world – 40 percent of YouTube views come from mobile.
Ipsos and YouTube’s Global 2013 study shows when users see ads on both TV and YouTube, they have twice the brand recall. The same study reveals that in the UAE, more than half of users connect to the Internet while watching TV. Cross-media studies have shown that advertisers can easily reach 8 percent more of their key audience from being on YouTube as well as TV – versus 1.6 percent in UK and 2 percent in USA. In KSA, nearly two thirds of users wished more brands would use YouTube to engage with them and help them learn more about products and services.
Across the MENA region, YouTube claims that its partners are building channels that have a made the platform a “news, education and entertainment destination” citing the example of Saudi channels like Eysh Elly (2.2m subscribers) and Sa7i (1.8m subscribers) which are changing the way users watch comedy.
Other original channels across the Arab world which are growing rapidly include the comedy channel Momo Bousfiha in Morocco, DIY channel, E-Keif in Jordan and beauty channel, Duniati in the UAE. Another example is that of Saudi fashion designer Alanoud Badr, who announced that she will be producing her first show on YouTube, Fozaza TV, which collected a large number of views within three days from it going live. This is being touted as the first “reality fashion” channel in the region, which will feature recurring shows and behind-the-scenes snippets of the designer’s everyday life.
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