x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Viral videos now mean cool cash for Middle East

YouTube is set to offer region-specific advertising, with revenue share for larger content partners.

YouTube plans to share revenue with those uploading videos after it starts to offer advertising targeting the Middle East. Loic Venace / AFP
YouTube plans to share revenue with those uploading videos after it starts to offer advertising targeting the Middle East. Loic Venace / AFP

YouTube's skateboarding dogs and cute kids are proving increasingly popular in the Middle East - and are set to be profitable, too.

The website plans to share revenue with those uploading videosafter it starts to offer advertising targeting the Middle East.

From Sunday, YouTube - owned by the search giant Google, which is based in California - will accept advertising expressly aimed at users in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt.

Certain regional content partners will be able to share advertising revenue in a later phase of the regional monetisation of the video-sharing site.

"We want to open up the business of YouTube for content creators and advertisers," says Matt Glotzbach, the managing director for YouTube in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

"This allows us to have local advertisers run ads on YouTube, and it allows us to have local creators, local partners, to benefit from those ads - to take a cut of that revenue," he added.

Mr Glotzbach said local advertising would initially be limited to YouTube "home page" channels in four regional countries.

YouTube said the revenue-sharing model would be offered to "premium" partners and general users at a later date.

That means a short recording of a skateboarding dog or a cute-kid video - if it goes viral - could take a share of millions of dollars of advertising revenue.

Globally, YouTube claims 4 billion video views a day, with 60 hours of video uploaded every minute.

Traffic to the site is growing in the Middle East and North Africa, where users upload one hour of video every minute.

More than 167 million video views occur in this region every day, with "explosive growth" in traffic from this region, said Mr Glotzbach.

Use of smartphones is one of the major drivers of this growth, he added.

At the beginning of this month, YouTube launched a local site at YouTube.co.ae, which features the videos that are most popular in the UAE. Localised versions of YouTube are also available in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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