Media Keynote: Mobile and Social Video Networks for Communication, Media Consumption and Political Change
It is now six years since the Arab Spring rocked many parts of the Middle East. While the extent to which social networks are responsible for driving political change is open to debate, there is no doubt that there is an enormous appetite for social media usage in the MENA region, where the number of active monthly users on Facebook in the Middle East has tripled since 2012 and whose users are the fastest-growing consumer of videos on Facebook, watching twice the global average. Feeding into the mobile video trend, visual-led social networks like Snapchat and Instagram are experiencing phenomenal success and growth in the MENA region, offering media companies a wealth of rich new digital advertising and consumer engagement opportunities. Zain has recently launched complimentary access to the world’s leading video-on-demand service, iflix Arabia, across five of its eight key markets in the region. The growth in mobile social users (+66% in 2015 according to the creative agency We Are Social) means that many users will interact with social networks almost exclusively on their mobile devices. However, as reported by Northwestern University in Qatar, nearly 7 in 10 national internet users say they have changed how they use social media due to privacy concerns, and it is not uncommon for these services to be restricted or blocked by regulators. This session will feature a range of topical perspectives on the impact of the social media revolution upon the MENA region, demonstrating how these communities can be mobilised for communication, media consumption and political change.