BBG Research Series: Strategies for reaching digital media users in MENA

Digital media have become key platforms in the Arab world both for news and peer to peer communications. According to BBG national surveys, virtually all adults in most  countries of the Persian Gulf are using the Internet, and specifically Facebook and YouTube, on a regular basis. In Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, and other countries, tens of millions use these tools every week. For the first time, the Internet is rivaling television as a favored media platform in Gulf countries.  In Kuwait, YouTube has become the most important source of news.

As digital media use in the region continue to grow, information providers seeking to make an impact via digital platforms will need to draw on solid market data, knowledge of political and social dynamics, and information about competitors and technological changes in order to develop sound and flexible strategies, especially over the medium to longer term.

Speakers presented recent BBG digital media use data as well as attitudinal data from the Gallup World Poll to assess strategies for reaching digital media users in the MENA region: What are the most “important” MENA countries for digital media and where are the largest and most receptive audiences? Which is better for reaching audiences in North Africa and the Gulf, YouTube or Facebook? How should information providers use mobile apps and Twitter? What are some of the content pitfalls related to current political and social dynamics?

After the presentations, a roundtable discussion followed in which the audience and media practitioners exchanged thoughts, asked questions and explored other aspects of digital media in the region.

About the BBG

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international media. Its mission is to inform, engage and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí). BBG programming has a measured audience of 278 million in more than 100 countries and in 58 languages.