Inside the Middle East’s love of YouTube

Digital Parenting, Dad Vloggers and the launch of new products, were among the biggest developments of the past year.

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Image source: TechChruch

Key Stats

  • Saudi Arabia is the biggest user of YouTube per capita worldwide, Google reports.
  • More than 60% of YouTube viewers in MENA are millennials. The Washington D.C. based Pew Research Center defines “anyone born between 1981 and 1996” as a millennial.
  • In Egypt, 77% of millennials watch YouTube every day. “That’s more than any other platform, even TV,” Google declared.
  • YouTube is the sixth highest ranked brand in UAE, and the third highest in KSA and Egypt, the latest YouGovBrandIndex revealed.

Popular Vloggers aren’t just teens and millennials

Saudi vlogger Muhammad Moshaya hit 8 billion views to his YouTube channel in late 2019, according to data from Socialbakers.

The family-oriented YouTuber — who uses his channel to depict his life with his children and his travels around the world — has 14.5 million subscribers.

In contrast, the next most popular channel, Super Somaa, which features a Super Kid, Somaa, who helps solve the problems of all humans in general, and his friends in particular, has 2.1 million subscribers and just under 9 million views.

Dads run the top 3 parenting channels in MENA, Google has established.

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Views to, via Socialbakers.

The Rise of Digital Parenting

Meanwhile, parents in MENA increasingly rely on YouTube “to act as a third parent or advisor who offers support,” Google insights show.

The platform is the most-used site by parents in Saudi Arabia, and the second most-used site by parents in the UAE after Google Search. And with more and more millennials becoming parents, YouTube views on parenting content in the MENA region is growing 4.3x faster than the rest of the planet.

Parenting advice and guidance, using videos as a way to connect with your children — for example by recording families doing things together, pranks and challenges — as well as using the platform as a way to reminisce about their childhood, with their children, are all popular uses of the channel.

Half of all mothers in the Middle East watch kids content on YouTube, Google told us, primarily as a way to spend time with their children.

New Products

YouTube Music and YouTube Premium launched in the Middle East in September.

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TechRadar reported that YouTube Premium, a paid subscription service offering an ad-free experience on YouTube, is now available in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman and Qatar.

YouTube Music (pictured above) operates as a standalone app, showcasing content from international and Middle Eastern artists on YouTube.

Ramadan Boost

TV dramas and soap operas see a 151% increase in viewership on YouTube during Ramadan, Google (which owns YouTube) has outlined.

In Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, time spent watching sports videos rises by 22%, travel videos by 30%, and action, simulation and video games by 10–20%.

“Although it may appear a contradiction for Muslims to spend their fasting hours on YouTube, the holy month also marks a high point in viewership of religious content,” notes The New Arab website.

This is an extract from a 55-page report about the trends if social media in the Middle East during 2019. You can access the full report here:

Read previous extracts from this report on Medium: 19 key stats from 2019, the Middle East market context, usage of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Social Media in the Middle East: 2019 in review is authored by Professor Damian Radcliffe and Hadil Abuhmaid, at the University of Oregon.

Chambers Professor in Journalism @uoregon | Fellow @TowCenter @CardiffJomec @theRSAorg | Write @wnip @ZDNet | Host Demystifying Media podcast

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