Did Video Dominate the 2010’s? And What to Expect in the 2020’s

The video landscape has continued to evolve rapidly with accelerated investments from the leading SVOD players in the region.
Did Video Dominate the 2010’s? And What to Expect in the 2020’s
Image copyright: Dan Taylor

Session Name: Did Video Dominate the 2010’s and What to Expect in the 2020’s? Powered by OMD

In a panel discussion on day two at STEP 2020, Rami Zeidan, Head of Video and Creative at TikTok, a platform for short-form mobile videos, Johannes Larcher, Managing Director at Shahid, the number one premium Arabic VOD service, Waseem Afzal, Deputy Managing Director at Omnicom Media Group – UAE, a marketing and advertising agency, and Zahra Al Zayat, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), a direct-broadcast satellite provider serving the Middle East and North Africa and United Kingdom, discussed the rapidly evolving video landscape. The panelists also touched on the accelerated investments from the leading SVOD players in the region, a competitive ecosystem of premium content is on the rise. 

TikTok Fever

With the TikTok app gaining momentum, Zeidan stated that, “TikTok is blowing up worldwide simply because it’s become a home for creators. Simple, real, short, authentic content that’s been created by people like you and me, has become the pull for everybody to start consuming content that is being displayed to you in a personalized feed. You can binge easily, and because of its self expression aspect, when you’re swiping through those videos, you’re in a happy mood. The biggest thing that we want to capitalize on is the creative capacity within the region – it’s unbelievable. So the goal for TikTok is to create an environment for creators, give them the tools, give them the connections, build the community, and amazing content is just going to keep coming, and we’re going to keep growing.”

Shahid’s Regional Strategy

Netflix, Amazon Prime, StarzPlay are really targeting the Western-oriented, affluent top 5% of the socioeconomic pyramid. At Shahid, we are after a completely different audience – we are after the mass market Arab consumer.”

Johannes Larcher, Managing Director, Shahid

Further adding to the discussion, Larcher said that, “Ramping up local content creation has become central to MBC’s strategy. The best place to watch Disney right now is on Shahid. We have a very big partnership with Disney and Fox. Netflix, Amazon Prime, StarzPlay are really targeting the Western-oriented, affluent top 5% of the socioeconomic pyramid. At Shahid, we are after a completely different audience – we are after the mass market Arab consumer. We have an ability to create content that is relevant to these audiences that none of our global competitors have.” Larcher further explained that he sees Netflix’s original content as being in a very different category to what Arab audiences have been offered up until now.

Factors Affecting Content in the Region?

Afzal, believes that 2020 is the tipping point for the advertisement industry. He attributed this to multiple forces affecting “everything that we do”. Number one is the the people. Globally, 57% of people are connected, and in our region alone, 72% are connected – more people are connected than not. Two, is the increasing amount of access to the internet from smartphones; in the region, MENA has the highest smartphone access rates, with countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait leading the way. Three, is that 75% of the data bandwidth across the board, represents video. “In the MENA region alone, 63% of the population is represented by millennials. In the next five years, there are estimations that millennials will make up 65% of the workforce, and will impact everything that we do,” he added.  

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