YouTube Space comes to the Arab World for the first time

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Free access to a professional studio and high quality filming equipment could be every YouTuber’s dream come true.

YouTube opened its tenth YouTube Space worldwide in Dubai this week but is considered the first in the Arab World, offering content creators in the region a space to learn skills, meet with other YouTubers, and a chance to use its studios to make more innovative videos.

Located in a 6,000 square-feet venue in Dubai Studio City, the venue has two studios, a production room, editing desks, an equipment area, and a ready set that will have new themes throughout the year.

In addition to the equipment available, content creators can attend workshops and training sessions to build their skills.

“Creators are the heartbeat of YouTube and supporting them has long been one of our most important priorities. 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,” said David Ripert, head of YouTube Spaces in EMEA. “We want the YouTube Space in Dubai to be a hub where creators don’t just continue to make the videos millions of people have grown to love but to also experiment with new formats and ideas made possible by the Space’s production facilities. 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.”

“Over the years, we’ve witnessed a number of brave and creative people in the region build massive followings by turning the camera on themselves and sharing their voice with the world,” said Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer of YouTube. “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!”

The number of channels uploading from the MENA region increased by 160% in the past three years, according to YouTube. Today, there are more than 200 channels with over 1 million subscribers from the region, and over 30,000 channels with more than 10K subscribers.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, YouTube’s regional head of partnerships Diana Baddar said, “Over 90 percent of millennials from Saudi Arabia watch YouTube. That tells us we’re a popular platform and hoping this growth will continue. That’s because of the content creators coming out of the region and are creating content people are hungry to watch.”

Many Saudi YouTubers have gone to one of the nine locations around the world, such as London, Los Angeles, and others. This location aims to bring Saudi YouTubers a closer location.

The Production Control Room allows creators to shoot live-streamed and as-live productions using vision mixing, lighting, graphics that can all be controlled from these areas, while communicating with production teams in the studio.

The Space is a dream come true for Bahraini YouTuber Omar Farooq whose vlogs draw millions of viewers. “It’s a Space that embraces every content creator looking for a place to express themselves.”

Omar, who films himself trying new experiences, says he was able to make a positive impact in society through his videos. “It’s a great learning experience, I allow myself to get in other people’s shoes, travel, and try interesting jobs,” says Omar who tried working as a cleaner’s, gravedigger, and ambulance driver, among others.

“When we were kids, we would fulfill our curiosity by trying anything we feel like doing. This goes away when we grow older especially that in our culture, grownups discourage kids to do so,” he said. “The idea I send to people is to live all your life like you’re a kid still exploring the world.”

A dentist by day and a YouTuber by evening, Maha Jaafar quickly gained popularity from her comic skits on her channel. “I started out making videos and sharing them with my friends. Next thing I know, my videos go viral and got a million views.”

Born to a Sudanese father and Iraqi mother, Maha sees her comedy channel a chance to address cultural issues. “We have more similarities than differences. Coming from two countries, it inspired me to send this kind of message to my audience and connect cultures together.”

If she were to make one choice between her two jobs, she said, “it would be very difficult to give up YouTube!”

Why would Youtubers travel all the way to Dubai to visit this Space?

YouTube doesn’t intend to open a Space in Saudi Arabia anytime soon.

“Saudi creators come to Spaces in London, the US, and other places around the world. There are no places for opening one in Saudi but we’re hoping they will come visit Dubai,” said David Ripert, head of YouTube Spaces in EMEA.

Collaborating with other YouTubers is one of the biggest drivers for content creators to come here, he added, as well as using the equipment and getting training.

“It’s a place to connect and meet with other YouTubers”

What’s inside?10 areas in the Space:

Reception

A coffee shop & co-working space

2 studios

A production room

2 editing desks

A workshop area

The equipment area

A ready set that will have a new theme every quarter.

2 C500 canon cameras, 2 C300 camera, 1 5D camera.

Who gets to visit it?

Not everyone can use the studios, however. Only the 30,000 YouTubers in the region that have a minimum of 10,000 subscribers will be able to film in the studios at the Space.

Those with 1,000 subscribers or more can attend workshops and events.

The Space can take up to at least 200 creators at any given time.

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.

YouTube Spaces around the world:

Dubai

Berlin

London

Los Angeles

Mumbai

New York

Paris

Rio

Tokyo

Toronto


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