Could the next viral sensation make a millionaire out of someone from the Middle East? YouTube has just opened up its Partnership Programme to users in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Any user with a YouTube account is now eligible to get a slice of the ad revenues from the videos that they upload, but only for original content.
"YouTube has seen dramatic increases in Egypt," said Haisam Yehia, strategic partners development manager of Middle East and North Africa (Mena) at Google. "Opening up the YouTube Partner Programme in Egypt is a great step to help content creators develop their skills and provide original local content. Content that can be appreciated locally and across the globe."
Revenues are generated from the number of views of a video and users can get a small percentage of that. The higher the number of views, the more the money. Psy, the Korean pop sensation is believed to have made more than $8m from his Gangnam Style video which has clocked up more than 1.4 billion views to date.
Video streaming is the most popular mobile activity in the region. Every minute, one hour of YouTube video content is uploaded across Mena. Between 2010 and 2011, video uploads in Tunisia jumped by 420 per cent as the country found itself in the middle of a revolution. Uploads from Saudi Arabia increased 260 per cent while Egypt saw a 150 per cent rise.
Currently about 167 million videos are viewed every day on YouTube across the region. Saudis watch the most with 90 million video views every day, the highest number of views in the world per internet user, followed by Egypt, Morocco and the UAE.