YouTube announced that it opened the Middle East and North Africa’s first YouTube Space in an effort to grow the creative community in the region.
Located in Dubai Studio City, the facility is designed to support the growing Arab creator community in the MENA region by giving them access to a superior production space.
The Space, which is the 10th in the world, is dedicated to YouTube content creators who will have free access to high end audio, visual and editing equipment in addition to training programs, workshops and courses.
The Space comes at a time when there is an explosion of Arabic content online on YouTube. The number of channels uploaded from the MENA region rose by 160% in the past three years, and today, there are more than 200 channels with over one million subscribers in MENA, and over 30,000 channels with more than 10,000 subscribers, according to YouTube.
Since its launch in 2012, more than 440,000 creators have visited nine YouTube Spaces around the world. Dubai is the 10th major city in the world to host a YouTube Space after London, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Mumbai, Paris, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto.
“Creators are the heartbeat of YouTube and supporting them has long been one of our most important priorities, and 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,” said David Ripert, Head of YouTube Spaces in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
The Spaces program is designed to support creators of all levels, the company said in a statement. Channels with 1,000 subscribers or more will have access to the workshops and events held at the Space. Meanwhile 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 meet 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.
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.
Increased investment from companies like YouTube comes on the back of growing demand for online video, mainly driven by young people who make up a bulk of the Middle East’s population. According to a 2016 post in the website thinkwithgoogle.com, watch time in the MENA region has been growing at a heartening rate of 60%.