Dubai selected to host Mena’s first YouTube Space

By Rajive Singh

DUBAI 19 March 2018: In a move that reflects Dubai’s rising status as the hub of the region’s New-Media industry, YouTube announced that the city will host the Middle East and North Africa region’s first YouTube Space.

Dubai is the 10th major city in the world to host a YouTube Space after London, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Mumbai, Paris, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

Located in Dubai Studio City, the new YouTube Space is a facility dedicated to supporting the growing creator community in the Middle East and North Africa region by giving them access to a state of the art production space.

The Space is dedicated to YouTube content creators who will have free access to high-end audio, visual and editing equipment in addition to training programmes, workshops and courses. More than 440,000 creators have visited nine YouTube Spaces around the world since the Spaces programme first launched in 2012.

“Creators are the heartbeat of YouTube and supporting them has long been one of our most important priorities. We’re proud of the meteoric rise of Arabic content on YouTube, which has been spearheaded by a diverse and growing community of creators from different parts of the Arab world. We want the YouTube Space in Dubai to be a hub where creators don’t just continue to make the videos millions of people have grown to love but to also experiment with new formats and ideas made possible by the Space’s production facilities. As a platform, YouTube provides a blank canvas for creative expression and the Space will be one of the tools creators use to tell their own stories,” said David Ripert, Head of YouTube Spaces in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

“We are very pleased to be selected as a hub for the region’s first YouTube space. In today’s world, content creation is very valuable and depicts meaningful content to the public. With the launch of the YouTube space, Dubai Studio City aims to cultivate a collaborative environment where like-minded people can create innovative content, which can cross borders and impact a wide and diverse audience. It is significant to empower individuals to create and develop content, and in return work towards the growth of the industry. We are delighted with this new venture and look forward to the new opportunities that YouTube will bring to our community and the entire region.” said Majed Al Suwaidi, Managing Director of Dubai Studio City.

“Over the years, we’ve witnessed a number of brave and creative people in the region build massive followings by turning the camera on themselves and sharing their voice with the world. In fact, five years ago when I visited, you could count the number of creators with a million subscribers on one hand. Today, the region has over 200 channels with over a million subscribers!” said Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer of YouTube.

The Spaces program is designed to support creators of all levels. Channels with 1,000 subscribers or more will have access to the workshops and events held at the Space. While creators with more than 10,000 subscribers will be able to access the production facilities which include two sound-proof studios, editing equipment, state of the art cameras and microphones, as well as a control room. Workshops will be geared to the different needs of creators with themes and topics ranging from creative development and production, to business development and how to engage with advertisers. All creators will be required to sit through day-long workshop before accessing any of the Space’s services.

The Space comes at an important time for YouTube in MENA as the Arab world experiences an increase in the number of channels uploading from MENA countries by 160% in the past three years. Today, there are more than 200 channels with over 1m subscribers in MENA, and over 30k channels with more than 10K subscribers.

Production slots will be limited in the first two months after the launch until after Ramadan when eligible creators will be able to book their production sessions through the online booking form.

The YouTube Space in Dubai offers the following facilities:

– Creators will have access to 10 areas in the Space. Reception, a coffee shop & co-working space, 2 studios, 1 production room, 2 editing desks, a workshop area, the equipment area, and a ready set that will have a new theme every quarter.
– 2 C500 canon cameras, 2 C300 camera, 1 5D camera.
– The Production Control Room allows creators to shoot live-streamed and as-live productions using Vision mixing, lighting, graphics, can all be controlled from these areas, while communicating with production teams in the studio is easy thanks to the communications system.
– The Space is 6,000 sqf and can take up to at least 200 creators at any given time

The new YouTube Space in Dubai is the latest in a series of initiatives that has raised the city’s position as the New-Media hub of the region. In December last year, Dubai held VIDXB, the region’s first dedicated event for online content creators. The two-day event organised by the Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC) brought together skilled creators from across the world representing a range of entertainment verticals, showcasing content-makers from the Beauty, Comedy, Cooking, E-Sports, Automotive, Travel, Family, and Arts sectors.