Social Media in the Middle East: Online Video and YouTube Use Remains Popular

This is the sixth in a series of ten short extracts from my sixth annual round-up of social media trends from the Middle East and North Africa (written with University of Oregon student Amanda Lam). Social Media in the Middle East: The Story of 2017 is available for download from the University of Oregon Scholars’ Bank and on Scribd, SlideShare and Academia.edu.
  • YouTube is viewed daily by half of young Arabs (50%) according to the 16 nation Arab Youth Survey.
  • The fastest growing video segment is “short-form (few minutes long), amateur digital content — curated by Arab youth and distributed on video platforms,” notes the Dubai Press Club’s annual Arab Media Outlook.
  • Saudi Arabia is YouTube’s biggest market (globally) in per capita consumption, their full 256-page study found, and video is the most popular online practice for young people, with the average 15–24 in MENA spending 72 minutes a day watching videos online. This behavior is much less common (averaging 16 mins a day) with those aged 35+.
Image: Average daily time spent online. Source: Dubai Press Club, annual Arab Media Outlook
  • With young Saudis increasingly harnessing social media for entertainment, CNN notes that the nation has the highest YouTube watch time per capita of any country in the world, according to analytics agency Tubular Labs.
  • Women in Saudi Arabia are using YouTube to express their views, CNN reports, citing data by Google. Since last year, the consumption of female-related content in the Kingdom increased by 75%.
  • Meanwhile, Khamsa Adwaa, a Saudi band made up of young girls, topped the most viewed list of the top trending music videos on YouTube in the Arab world for 2017, Google MENA found. Their song ‘Hush,’ amassed over 140 million views.

    Image: Screenshot from HUSH video, the top trending music video on YouTube in the Arab world for 2017

  • All of 2017’s most trending non-music videos come from the region’s YouTube creators, Al Arabiya commented in an end of year video round-up.

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