YouTube have chosen Dubai to open its tenth space which further illustrates the success the online video platform is enjoying in the MENA and UAE region. The Google owned company has expanded its business from funny cat video, to a broadcaster in its own right - producing high-quality shows that range from anything such as fitness experts uploading their fitness regimes - to culinary enthusiasts sharing their recipes for tasty meals.
Dubai will now get its very own YouTube state-of-the-art studio which will be opened next year. It follows on from the success of a content creator facility which was opened in London. The decision by management to select Dubai represents just how successful YouTube is in the MENA region. According to a YouTube spokesman the MENA region is second only to the US when it comes to the total amount of time spent watching videos. Watch time in the region has grown by 60% on year.
The MENA region also has one of the highest smartphone and internet penetration in the world and more and more people are watching videos on their phones – with YouTube revealing that mobile watch time grew by 90% in the Middle East in the last twelve months alone – whilst advertisers are also becoming savvy to its marketing potential – with the top twenty brands in the Middle East using the platform to market its products and services, increasing its spending by 65% in the process.
The Head of YouTube partnerships in MENA, Diana Baddar said: "The MENA region has one of the world's most vibrant YouTube communities. There's tons of excitement around YouTube because talented creators are producing content for passionate audiences. It's a great opportunity for brands because on YouTube people choose what they want to watch and what they want to engage with, which is more interesting for brands. More and more creators are collaborating with brands."
Content created for and by women has also significantly increased in the Middle East and is a growth area. YouTube are encouraging this in an effort to drive its strategy which is focused on creating more local content. The reason for this is primarily down to the success local content has had on the channel. Last year, all of the top ten videos in the region were by local female creators.
Ms. Baddar added: "Female content is one of the most promising content verticals on the platform. It's growing as fast as TV content on the platform. A few years ago, we had very few female related channels, today there are thousands of them, and we are expecting that trend to continue to grow moving forward."
The 2017 launch of the new content creator facility in Dubai will boost what YouTube calls the ‘creator ecosystem' by providing creators with facilities and technical assistance, and by giving them a base from where they can network and collaborate with other creators, meet clients and attend workshops where they can develop their expertise.
Ms. Baddar concluded by saying: "We are happy to have our first space in Dubai, a place of vibrant creativity from fashion to technology and entertainment. YouTube is a home for all this content. We want to give opportunities to get hands-on experience from industry leaders, connect and meet fellow creators, spark new ideas and share experiences on how to succeed on YouTube."