Juniper Research: Expected income from e-books to rise to $9.7 Bn by 2016.
Users in Saudi Arabia generate 40% of Arabic tweets and 35% of Arabic web content
70% of Internet users in Saudi Arabia conduct their search in Arabic
Riyadh November 4, 2012: Digital expert Omar Christidis, Founder of ArabNet, the hub
for Arab digital professionals and entrepreneurs explained that KSA is currently the
largest digital market in the MENA region - with almost 40% of all Arabic tweets, half of
Wikipedia’s Arabic content and 35% of all Arabic content on the web coming from Saudi
Arabia. Furthermore, more than 70% of internet users in Saudi Arabia conduct their
searches in Arabic, and almost 60% of the Kingdom’s users access Facebook through
Arabic accounts. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has one of the highest mobile penetration
rates in the world.
He also explained that in spite of the fact that Arabic is the 7th most popular language
on the Web, Arabic content on the web is no more that 2% globally. We are seeing
increasing initiatives to create Arabic content, especially in Saudi Arabia. Arabic online
video is one of the hot sectors in Saudi Arabia, which has the highest per capita daily
consumption of YouTube in the world. . Young Saudi production studios, like UTURN
Entertainment and C3 Films are disrupting the media industry, releasing shows on
YouTube that are garnering more than 1 million views per episode.
Omar Christidis, the founder of Arabnet, also added that Arabic digital content will
be one of the main themes addressed at the ArabNet Riyadh conference, taking place
at the Four Seasons Riyadh on November 21-21 and hosted by the Badir Technology
Incubation Program, part of the King Abdulaziz University of Science and Technology.
More than 50 expert speakers and 600 attendees will gather to discuss the latest trends
and opportunities in the Saudi Arabian web and mobile business. The Conference is
organized by Arabnet that has already staged a number of successful digital events in
Beirut and Cairo. The conference will also highlight content Arabization and localization
initiatives like that of Taghreedat which is partnering with Twitter and the Wikimedia
Foundation. Abdullah Mando, CEO of UTURN, and Abdulaziz Al-Shalan, Marketing
Manager of C3 Films, will be at ArabNet Riyadh to discuss monetization models for
online video businesses as well as how to build and grow audiences and produce original
and effective video content for web.
Similarly, the rapid uptake of tablets has also opened new opportunities for mobile
content publishing and has increased demand for e-books. Global revenues from e-
books are forecast to grow to $9.7bn by 2016, according to Juniper Research, and the
percentage of revenues generated by publishing houses and book retailers from e-
book sales is on the rise. In the Middle East, companies like Flagship Pro and Ertiqa are
working closely with publishers to ensure that Arabic books and content are available
for Arabic tablet users. Seventy percent of the titles in Rufoof Online, a digital library
app developed by Flaghsip Pro, are in Arabic, and the company is working with English
publishers to translate exclusive and original content into Arabic. The availability of
these apps is opening new markets and possibilities for Arabic content developers and
publishers which will be explored at ArabNet Riyadh by Badr Ward, CEO of Ertiqa, and
Shadi Hassan, Founder and Managing Director of Flagship Pro, among others.
The growth in demand for content via mobile, be it apps, games or e-books is in turn
leading to an increase in demand for mobile advertising. This year alone, global mobile
ad spending is expected to rise 62% to $6.4 billion. In the Middle East many clients
are hesitant to venture into mobile advertising, but this is starting to change with the
successes that mobile advertising campaigns are achieving. Wael AlFayez, Managing
Director of Numu Multimedia, the digital arm of the Saudi Research and Marketing
Group, explains that the campaigns his company has run on mobile generated more
than double the rates of engagement as web. “We are in the process of educating the
market on the importance of mobile and how it has changed the way we consume
media. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world, which
makes mobile the right tool for brands to reach their target audience,” says AlFayez,
who will be speaking at ArabNet Riyadh along with Wael Quader, CEO of Nuqoush
Mobile Media Group among others.
ArabNet Riyadh will also explore the latest in e-commerce, social media, and gaming.
The conference will also highlight the most promising Saudi and Arab entrepreneurs,
who will compete in ArabNet’s signature competitions, the Ideathon and Startup
Demo, and have the chance to pitch their ideas and companies in front of investors
and the media. “There’s no doubt that Saudi Arabia is now living a new beginning in
terms of entrepreneurship, especialtoly in the fields of web and mobile, and I think
this is the right time to encourage Saudi youth both financially and morally,” says Faris
AlRashid, Chairman of Oqal, an angel investor network based in Riyadh. The Ideathon
Competition, sponsored by Qualcomm, is targeted at individuals with promising ideas
for a web or mobile business, while the Startup Demo targets nascent digital companies
with strong business potential.
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