The first segment of the panel discussion on "Mobile vs. Internet vs. TV: Who Wins?" at CoE Animate 11, our animation-focused event held this past September, features a debate on the future of digital media including:
- Mohammad Harib of Lammtara Pictures and popular animated series Freej
- Najeeb Jarrar, the MENA Product Marketing Manager at Google
- Hosam El Sokkari, Head of Audience at Yahoo! Middle East
- Abed Agha, the founder of Vinelab
- Badih Fattouh, Head of Group Acquisition and Programming at MBC
In the second segment, Hosam El Sokkari discusses how animation was a gap in Yahoo!'s portfolio, and yet was important for reaching across cultures and platforms.
The panel then discusses creating Arabic content that is new as opposed to traditional and the opportunities within Arabic content creation today.
Jarrar discusses how the much-discussed dearth of Arabic is now a myth, thanks to steady content creation on the web. "In terms of video content, we're growing at a healthy rate that almost competes with other languages. The amount of content in the region almost doubled in the past year and a half," he says, most of it on the web.
While Arabic content quality is improving, says Jarrar, the difficulty now is that several content silos are occurring in the Arab World, by country. Content in the GCC is not making it to the Levant or North Africa. Content in Egypt is staying inside Egypt. North Africa is creating completely new content that is not being exported. MENA is no longer one geographical region despite the shared language.
Sokkari follows up on this issue, describing that the biggest issue for Yahoo! in serving up online content is not finding quality content or an audience but rather guiding users to quality content that they will enjoy consuming. "There is a lot of good content, but people don't know where it is. You need a good distribution platform." This is what Yahoo!'s video platform is trying to do, he says, especially by using smart algorithms to present content that its audience will like. "The issue is about curating the right content and [serving] the content that I know would be right for you," he concludes.