Content consumers of all ages experienced an action-packed schedule of events during VIDXB, which took place at Dubai World Trade Centre concluded a thrilling weekend of content. The first-of-its-kind event in the region once again offered fans, content creators and the industry an unparalleled insight into the world of online content creation and consumption, along with direct access to some of the most prolific international internet personalities, all under one roof.
His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum toured VIDXB on its opening day, and was greeted by famed international YouTuber, Casey Neistat, who also gave one of the most highly anticipated appearances of the day. Chatting with fans during an intimate fireside talk, New York based Neistat spoke about his meteoric rise to success, how he became the gold standard of vlogging, and shared insight around how he came to find his own brand aesthetic and storytelling approach.
Following on centre stage was globally renowned online creator Lele Pons, the woman behind Instagram’s most viewed story of 2017. She charmed fans with her trademark humour and light-hearted energy that has seen her claim the title of Time Magazine’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet in 2016. Pons ensured her audience witnessed her compelling theatrics live during an on-stage conversation that was littered with laughter.
Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC), the organisers of VIDXB, ensured that featured digital creators represented a range of entertainment verticals. This included a live cooking demonstration from Chef Samar, E-Sports session with UK-based gamer and performer KSI, and a tutorial on beauty content creation with Noor Stars, Nuha Style, Esswara and YoTips, to name a few. Starting the second day on a light-hearted note, comedy creators Hatoon Al Kadi and Omar Hussein took to the main stage with their session on “Arabic Voices”, a cheeky insight into some of the common topics relevant to a young Arab audience around the region today.
Off the main stage, industry professionals and budding creators were given the opportunity to learn about the latest tools and techniques relevant to brands and those wanting to build their own presence online. Hosted by key representatives from major platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter among others, the sessions had insightful conversations continuing throughout the event. Topics spanning from crossing borders and growing reach into new regions, to understanding your rights as a content creator – all topics that will prove themselves highly valuable for budding creators and brands wanting to expand their presence online.
Emirati creator Khaled Al Ameri participated in a keynote which broached the topic of bringing the world closer via Facebook video where the comedic creator spoke about leveraging platforms that help tell his family story in an effective way. A forward-looking session hosted by the Dubai Future Foundation looked at future media consumption, how we use screens, and the increasing presence of augmented reality.
Additional highlights from industry sessions included an address from the YouTube Partnerships Team at Google on converting a passion for content creation into a career, along with a keynote on the power of integrated digital brand partnerships, presented by Dana Adhami from Disney Digital.
Shots Studios co-founder John Shahidi hosted a conversation delving into the strategy behind the agency’s success, and how they have helped shape their creators into international stars. Jonathon Labin, Managing Director, Facebook Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, also delivered a keynote on how Mobile, AI and VR will impact our world in years to come, sharing his knowledge and opinions on the innovative topic.
During a keynote titled “Success Stories: Publisher Monetization Trends on Twitter”, Kinda Ibrahim, Director of Media Partnerships, MENA, Twitter, discussed the opportunities for publishers in the region to generate revenue and build their subscriber base.
In line with VIDXB’s mission to stimulate growth, event sponsor, Alfan Group, a leading MCN & Digital Media Company, announced the closing of its seed round of 1.5M USD, which will help the organisation expand in the Middle East region. Also launched at VIDXB, was a new online video sharing platform from leading sponsor, Al Aan TV. Launched as a digital channel to adapt with the changing news consumption patterns and capture real moments and real news, Al Aan TV’s new initiative called “Aish Al Aan”, will allow online creators to submit their content to the publishing site which will be supported with monetization.
There was ample fun and entertainment to balance the industry sessions, Fans had the opportunity to get the closest access possible to KSI, Casey Neistat, Saudi Reporters, Esswara, and a host of other content creators who hosted meet and greet sessions.
Activities concluded by a concert series which saw British singer-songwriter Conor Maynard take to the stage for a live performance alongside fellow Brit performer, KSI. Headlined by UK musician KSI, the evening atmosphere saw the British star perform a selection of his smash-hits that lit up the stage.
The launch of VIDXB was an important milestone in Dubai Film and TV Commission’s vision to establish Dubai as an international hub for digital media and content creation, bringing talent and industry experts together under the same roof. During the two-day event, established and aspiring online storytellers and the industry were given the chance to gain unique insights from a wealth of key digital media executives to support the development of local talent and creative content in the Emirate.
Speaking about the sessions and wealth of information and advice shared within the two-day festival, Jamal Al Sharif, Chairman of DFTC, organisers of VIDXB, said: “There has been a real gap in the market for an event like this and the demand for all parts of the programme – from fan meet & greets and creator performances, to the industry workshops and panel sessions – has been overwhelming. We’re thrilled with the response to VIDXB in its first year and the support received from our community of content creators and industry experts.
VIDXB has kicked off a year-round series of programmes to promote local content, showcase emerging technologies, and facilitate skills development for Dubai's growing digital media talent pool. Jamal Al Sharif concluded, “We have been honoured to welcome some of the most inspiring and game-changing content creators to VIDXB and the passion and skills they have shared has been incredibly insightful. VIDXB has reinforced the demand for this kind of event in the region and we can only hope that this will continue to inspire future creators to follow their passion.”