Noura Al Kaabi forecasts growth, evolution of regional content creation at Smart Media: Middle East 2014

06 Mar 2014

Al Kaabi emphasizes notion of ‘content is king’ as traditional social media continues to fragment

H.E. Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54, today delivered a keynote speech at Smart Media: Middle East 2014 in the Grand Hyatt hotel in Dubai, predicting significant growth in digital content creation throughout the Middle East as media diversifies and social media fragmentation continues.

Al Kaabi highlighted twofour54’s mission of enabling the development of world-class Arabic media and entertainment content, and positioning Abu Dhabi as a centre of excellence in content creation for media platforms including film, broadcast, music, digital media, gaming and publishing.

Al Kaabi offered context for the evolution of the content market in the MENA region, explaining that with a population of over 360 million Arabic speakers, 60 per cent of which are under the age of 25, a real opportunity existed for youth to create original, compelling Arabic content and support the development of a sustainable media and entertainment industry.

“The public’s influence, via social media, has become more powerful than ever,” Al Kaabi said. “The Arab world over the past decade has lagged behind the rest of the world in local language content creation for digital media; in fact, statistics pointed to Arabic accounting for less than 3 per cent of web content, despite the fact that 6-7 per cent of the world’s population are Arabs. Arabic content generation is now thriving and the result of this democratization, is that we are all publishers now.”

“Connectivity has spawned a whole new genre of entertainment platforms – shows that are not simply limited to a conventional 24 or 48 minute broadcast period. Shows like the X-Factor and Peeta Planet are fully integrated platforms, extending the life and engagement of the show with audiences by using social media for polling, YouTube content and Facebook for conversation throughout the season to interact with their audiences,” Al Kaabi explained.

Al Kaabi went on to describe that given the growing number of viewers using mobile devices while watching TV, broadcasters and advertisers are forced to consider new ways of reaching audiences. Given the lack of transparency around TV-audience viewership in the region, a partnership between twofour54 and tview, the first-of-its-kind television audience measurement system in the Arab world, will provide them with accurate viewer data.

Al Kaabi reasoned that crowdsourcing is one of the real strengths of the online community and credited Taghreedat, an initiative supported by twofour54, which is working on translating digital content into Arabic by using over 9,000 translators, writers and editors and big digital brands such as TED, Google and Twitter.

She predicted that with diverse media platforms and new advanced technology, social media will continue to fragment as new players emerge, resulting in users having a louder voice and greater impact. The media is healthier than ever, and with the support of young creative minds, the industry will continue to thrive and impact people’s lives.

Smart Media Middle East, organised by Capacity Conference, brings together key players in digital media, content generation, broadcasting, data centres and content delivery networks. The event looks at opportunities and challenges facing the sector.

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