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November 26th, 2014

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Demand for Arabic Digital Content Extends to Mobile and Apps

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Is it the turbulent political climate in the region or the desire of young Arabs to emotionally connect with their roots, that’s driving the demand for more Arabic language on the digital platform? Oh perhaps it’s the volume of young consumers as well as their access to the latest tech toys that’s driving the need for Arabic language mobile content and apps?

A panel discussion organized by Dubai Media City and Dubai Press Club in association with Tecom Investments threw light on a number of insights into the use of Arabic language in the digital space, with an emphasis on mobile and apps.The discussion brought together representatives from CNBC Arabia, Deloitte, Fortune Arabia and Flagship Projects.

Panelist Santino Saguto- partner, Deloitte said, “The demand is driven by the people! We have interviewed 2000 people in 4 countries- Morocco, Egypt, Saudi and UAE to compile the Arab Media outlook 2011-15 and we explicitly asked the question about use of Arabic in digital and even mobile applications. We found that the preference is for Arabic content across all types of digital media.”

Some players in the local media industry have caught the elephant by the tail. Not only are they cashing in on the demand for Arabic language digital content, but also milking the high smartphone penetration in the region and the youth’s affinity towards apps.

For instance, Arabic news website, recently launched its Tablet App and will soon be releasing an improved version of their Mobile App. The site claims to have over 10% of its readership on mobile devices. Flagship projects, another Arabic language digital publisher has launched the first mobile platform for Arabic e-books, called Rufoof.

Shadi Al Hassan, MD and founder of Flagship Projects says, “Tracking some early results on the commercial returns of local content on mobile, we believe the success rate achieved to date can be widened in scope and shared with international markets.”

Other movements on social media, such as the Arabization of Twitter, also contributed to the growing demand and use of Arabic language in the mobile sphere, especially amongst the Arab youth this year.

Priyanka Pradhan

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