YouTube users in MENA region favour mobile

Website's app ranked second in the UAE in terms of time spent

The majority of YouTube users in the MENA region are accessing the videos online through their smartphones, according to the video-sharing website’s head of content and operations.

Viewership on YouTube is growing 50 percent year on year in the MENA region – matching the global trend – but in terms of mobile usage, the MENA region leads the way.

“YouTube has had an incredible year. Viewership is growing at 50 percent year on year, both globally and in the region, with more than one billion fans visiting YouTube every month,” said Robert Kyncl, head of content and operations at YouTube, speaking at a recent event hosted by Google in Dubai.  

“And in MENA, a majority of that viewership is happening on mobile - a first for any region on YouTube. That kind of engagement has led to the emergence of a number of digital content companies built on YouTube - companies like UTURN and Kharabeesh who recognise the momentum of the region,” he added.

Kyncl was in the region for ‘Pulse’, Google’s first-ever YouTube event in Dubai for the advertising industry. He shared some of the statistics from Google’s recent consumer connected survey, a comprehensive study on users in the UAE.

It showed that 90% of smartphone users are online daily on their devices and 80 percent use their smartphones to watch videos online. YouTube’s app ranked second in the UAE in terms of time spent, with 40 percent of views on YouTube in the UAE coming from mobile.

In the UAE, more than half of users connect to the internet while watching TV. Cross-media studies have shown that advertisers can easily reach 8 percent more of their key audience from being on YouTube as well as TV, (versus 1.6 percent in UK and two percent in US).

In Saudi Arabia, nearly two thirds of users wished more brands would use YouTube to engage with them and help them learn more about products and services.

Ahead of the event, Saudi fashion designer Alanoud Badr, announced that she will be producing her first show on YouTube, Fozaza TV (, which collected hundreds of thousands of views in just three days from it going live.

Billed as the first ‘reality fashion’ channel in the region, it will deliver recurring shows and episodes of ‘behind the scenes’ content by the young Arab designer’s professional day-to-day life.

Across the Middle East and North Africa, YouTube partners are building channels that have made the platform a news, education and entertainment destination, with Saudi channels like Eysh Elly ( (2.2m subscribers) and Sa7i ( (1.8m subscribers) changing the way users here watch comedy. Other original channels across the Arab world are fast growing and amassing hundreds of thousands of subscribers like comedy channel Momo Bousfiha in Morocco (, DIY channel, E-Keif (, in Jordan and beauty channel, Duniati ( in the UAE . 

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