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MENA’s first YouTube Space opens at Dubai Studio City

The Space comes at an important time for YouTube in MENA with a reported 160% increase in the number of channels being uploaded in the past three years.
David Ripert, Head of YouTube Spaces in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

YouTube has opened the MENA’s first YouTube Space at Dubai Studio City on March 18, a facility dedicated to supporting the creator community in the region by giving them access to production space.

With an entry threshold of 10,000 subscribers, a YouTube creator now has access to free production facilities including audio, visual and editing equipment, in addition to training programmes, workshops and courses at the newly launched YouTube Space in Dubai Studio City, the 10th such facility in the world. It is estimated that more than 440,000 creators have visited nine YouTube Spaces around the world since the Spaces programme first launched in 2012.

Offering an insight into the size of the market, Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer of YouTube said: “Five years ago when I visited, you could count the number of creators with a million subscribers on one hand. Today, the region has over 200 channels with over a million subscribers.”

Emphasising the importance of content creation for the platform, David Ripert, Head of YouTube Spaces in Europe, Middle East, and Africa said: “We’re proud of the meteoric rise of Arabic content on YouTube, which has been spearheaded by a diverse and growing community of creators from different parts of the Arab world. As a platform, YouTube provides a blank canvas for creative expression and the Space will be one of the tools creators use to tell their own stories.”

“We are very pleased to be selected as a hub for the region’s first YouTube space. With the launch of the YouTube space, Dubai Studio City aims to cultivate a collaborative environment where like-minded people can create innovative content, which can cross borders and impact a wide and diverse audience.” said Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Studio City.

It is still unclear as to how the proposed licensing for electronic media as announced by The National Media Council (NMC) will apply on the  content creators . In a Q & A with the media post the launch of the YouTube Space, Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Studio City, said that the regulations are in the process of being finalised. While content creators will have to adhere to UAE laws governing media, they will be free to produce and publish their content with no prior vetting, as per a YouTube spokesperson.

Popular regional content creators were unanimous in their support for the first YouTube Space in the MENA.

The Spaces programme is designed to support creators of all levels. Channels with 1,000 subscribers or more will have access to the workshops and events held at the Space. While creators with more than 10,000 subscribers will be able to access the production facilities which include two sound-proof studios, editing equipment, cameras and microphones, as well as a control room. Workshops will be geared to the different needs of creators with themes and topics ranging from creative development and production, to business development and how to engage with advertisers. All creators will be required to sit through day-long workshop before accessing any of the Space’s services.

The Space comes at an important time for YouTube in MENA with a reported 160% increase in the number of channels being uploaded in the past three years. There are reportedly more than 200 channels with over 1m subscribers in MENA, and more than 30k channels with more than 10K subscribers.

Production slots will be limited in the first two months after the launch until after Ramadan when eligible creators will be able to book their production sessions through the online booking form.