Snap today announced it is significantly expanding content from Middle Eastern brands on Snapchat, announcing a new slate of youth-oriented mobile-specific vertical format 'snackable' Shows from 20 Snapchat media partners and publishers from the region. Snapchat also announced a new 6-second non-skippable commercial format for brands, set to be introduced by Q1 2019.
Building on the popularity of its Discover page, over 30 popular series from more than 20 of the Middle East’s most loved media brands will be launching on Snapchat. New partners include local digital content producers as well as mainstream TV broadcasters and publishers such as Dubai Media Inc., Gulf News, Sabq, ITP Media Group and Abu Dhabi Media.
These partnerships expand the local content already available through Snapchat’s Discover page, where Snapchatters in the region can see content from Al Arabiya, Sayidaty, UTURN, and many more. Shows will also be easier to find, with new dedicated profile pages for each show where Snapchatters can access all available episodes and seasons to watch.
Rami Saad, Head of International Content Partnerships at Snap, introduced the partnerships to the media in an event held in Dubai. Saad said the slate of new content partners were selected for their reach and relevance with the region's audience. Following the presentation by Rami Saad, he moderated a panel discussion featuring executives from partners MBC Group, Discovery Inc, UTURN Entertainment and 7awi, who discussed their experience of partnering with Snapchat and how they conceive and create high-quality premium content specifically made for Snapchat users in the region.
Leading TV networks and entertainment studios are reimagining popular series for Snapchat, with shows across entertainment, sport and food, from Scoop with Raya from MBC to Tareq Show from Rotana Media Group; Fatafeat from Discovery as well as a Publisher Story from Vice Arabia. Content has been cut in the vertical, full-screen format pioneered by Snapchat and which has since become the de facto standard for mobile. Each Show averages five minutes in length has a clear narrative and is hyper-visual with motion graphics, split screens, quick cuts, inspired by the expressive way Snapchatters talk to their closest friends.
Snapchat's Discover launched in January 2015 with 18 brand partners producing Publisher Stories and today has over 100 partners globally. Local content first arrived in the region in May 2017, with 7 partners, rising to 9 in the same year. The full list of 20 partners includes: 7awi, Abu Dhabi Media (ADM), Al Aan TV, Al Arabiya, Discovery Inc., Dubai Media Inc. (DMI), Goal.com / Perform Group, Gulf News, Hia Magazine, ITP Media Group, Kooora, Loolia, Lovin Dubai, MBC Group, Online Lifestyle Network FZ LLC, Rotana Media Group, Step Group, Trend For Digital Communication, UTURN, and Vice Arabia.
Saad commented on why Snapchat is expanding its content offering: “The Middle East is a very engaged content market for Snap - we saw a 54% increase in time spent in Discover from April to September of this year. From the sneak peak we’ve had of these Shows, I have no doubt Snapchatters are going to love them.”
The time spent watching Shows on Snapchat globally has more than tripled since the beginning of the year and in Q3 2018, 21 unique Shows in Discover reached a monthly active audience of over 10 million viewers. The expansion of shows across the Middle East region builds on this success with unique, TV-like content for Snapchat’s mobile-first audience.
Anas Abbar, Chief Executive Officer, 7awi commented: “We are excited to be expanding our collaboration with Snapchat on Snapchat Discover. Our existing engagement has yielded amazing results and interests for our audience and for 7awi as a publisher. We are thrilled to replicate the success of the Layalina Discover channel and cherish our strong relationship with Snapchat. Ra2ej will focus on entertainment content and will cater to both, the male and female audience. We look forward to playing a bigger part in developing premium Arabic content for the region.”
Henry Windridge, Head of Brand, Discovery Inc added: "As Arabia’s first and most-loved food brand, all of us at Fatafeat are incredibly excited to join forces with Snap in the Middle East, bringing the best of Fatafeat’s traditional recipes, inspirational culinary content and world-class production values to the platform and its engaged community of Snapchatters across the region."
Jonathan Richards, Group Digital Strategy Director, Gulf News said about the partnership: “At Gulf News we are delighted to be partners with Snap’s launch of Stories in this region. Snap’s commitment to publishers like us provide an exciting platform. This new format is an important step in reaching new audiences and bringing to life important issues and insight to local and global current affairs. As the UAE’s leading English-speaking newspaper, News Explained and Business Explained are two shows that demonstrate our commitment to providing content that matters to our readers on whatever platform they are using.”
Ahmad Bashour, General Manager, ITP Live commented: “We are excited about this partnership with Snap, as it fits naturally with our vision and strategy of creating unique content in the format our consumers require. We expect the venture to exponentially grow our overall audience reach and engagement across the GCC.”
Jason Leavy, Managing Director MENA, VICE said: "We see the launch of VICE Arabia's Snapchat Discover Channel as a crucial step in ensuring we can be true to our mission of being the authentic voice of Arab youth. Snap has done a phenomenal job in the MENA region in building a huge following among that generation so there's a clear synergy in terms of our audiences. VICE has some of the most engaged Discover channels in other global markets and we believe we will have a similar impact here, given our content is all created by Arab youth for Arab youth."