The Middle East is on the cusp of a new era of entertainment as the Arab world’s biggest YouTube stars shift their on-screen popularity into sold-out live events at the region’s mega arenas, according to Tom Greenwood-Mears, MD of Cut and Mustard, the UK-based production company behind some of the world’s biggest digital talent events.
Working primarily in the global influencer sphere, Greenwood-Mears has helped create and produce sell-out live tours for leading YouTubers including DanTDM, This Week on the Internet, KSI and Randolph.
Speaking during a Circle Stage session ‘YouTubers: Online to Onstage’ at On.Dxb, an initiative by Dubai Media City and Dubai Film & TV Commission, Greenwood-Mears revealed the region is poised for a new era of digital talent-led live events.
“We produce the stage for Middle East GamesCon in Abu Dhabi and ordinarily we bring over UK and USA YouTubers with big fanbases in the region,” said Greenwood-Mears.
“However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Local YouTubers doing things onstage in their local markets can only be better. Middle East YouTubers have big audiences, they are professionally set-up and they are making high-quality content. That dedication to their content will definitely translate to a live show and it will only take an enterprising YouTubers or someone in that live event space to join those dots and start testing those waters in the region.”
Having overcome early hurdles in convincing traditional event and theatre venues in the UK, USA and Australia to embrace the commercial potential of live events fronted by YouTube talent, Greenwood-Myers believes appeal will be strong for Middle East venues.
“It wasn’t easy for us in the beginning, the deals were hard to negotiate before because nobody really understood who the talent were or why anybody would come. Now we go to venues and theatres and say these are the tours we have sold out and they want to be a part of it. We have a track-record of success and there is enough evidence from Australia, the USA, the UK and Europe to show this phenomenon is happening all over the world, it’s only natural it arrives here.”