Qataris ‘among most dig­i­tally con­nected’

Gulf Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A re­cently re­leased five-year ret­ro­spec­tive re­port ex­am­in­ing me­dia use in the Mid­dle East found that Qataris are among the most dig­i­tally con­nected cit­i­zens in the Arab re­gion. In terms of In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion, Qatar has one of the high­est In­ter­net use rates of any coun­try in the world, ap­proach­ing sat­u­ra­tion at 95%, North­west­ern Univer­sity in Qatar (NU-Q) has said in a press state­ment.

Are­cently re­leased fiveyear ret­ro­spec­tive re­port ex­am­in­ing me­dia use in the Mid­dle East found that Qataris are among the most dig­i­tally con­nected cit­i­zens in the Arab re­gion.

In terms of In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion, Qatar has one of the high­est In­ter­net use rates of any coun­try in the world, ap­proach­ing sat­u­ra­tion at 95%, North­west­ern Univer­sity in Qatar (NU-Q) has said in a press state­ment.

“With the goal of un­der­stand­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion ecosys­tem in the re­gion bet­ter, NU-Q launched the first of five ‘Me­dia Use in the Mid­dle East’ stud­ies in 2013. Now, with this rare lon­gi­tu­di­nal study mov­ing into its sixth year, we are able to eval­u­ate lessons learned com­pre­hen­sively and un­der­stand the value of both rel­a­tive sta­bil­ity and me­dia shifts – whether in­cre­men­tal or more sig­nif­i­cant,” said NU-Q dean and CEO Everette E Den­nis.

The “largest anal­y­sis of its kind in the re­gion”, the ‘Me­dia Use in the Mid­dle East’ study ex­am­ines me­dia be­hav­iour across estab­lished and new plat­forms in seven coun­tries: Qatar, Le­banon, Jordan, Tu­nisia, Saudi Ara­bia, the UAE and Egypt.

Ex­ten­sive re­search was done on long-term so­cial me­dia pat­terns, how and where peo­ple seek news and en­ter­tain­ment, the con­nec­tion be­tween cul­tural tra­di­tions of the re­gion, and com­par­isons among the stud­ied coun­tries. Ad­di­tion­ally, per­cep­tions of news bias and at­ti­tudes to­ward free speech and on­line pri­vacy over time are ex­plored in the ret­ro­spec­tive re­port.

Ex­am­ples from the re­port about Qatar’s unique use of dig­i­tal me­dia in­clude the fol­low­ing:

● Qataris spend more time on­line than na­tion­als in other coun­tries in the Arab re­gion – an av­er­age of 44.5 hours a week. Look­ing at the data com­par­a­tively, this is a sub­stan­tial in­crease from 2013 when Qatari na­tion­als re­ported us­ing the In­ter­net an av­er­age of 37 hours per week.

● While they are spend­ing 60% more time on­line than all other na­tion­als in the sur­veys, Qataris are less likely to be en­gaged in sev­eral pop­u­lar on­line ac­tiv­i­ties, such as play­ing video games or us­ing Face­book.

● An es­ti­mated two-thirds of Qatari In­ter­net users watch news, com­edy and re­li­gious/ spir­i­tual con­tent on­line, and now more than half watch sports on­line. A sharp in­crease across all fronts in th­ese cat­e­gories was seen com­pared to 2013 and make Qataris the first cit­i­zenry in this study to watch con­tent more on­line than on TV. Re­mark­ably, three in 10 Qataris say they never watch TV. Find­ings of the re­port show Qataris’ time spent on­line has in­creased but so has their time spent with fam­ily. They now re­port spend­ing on av­er­age 43.2 hours a week with fam­ily. Dis­cov­er­ies such as th­ese in­di­cate that Qataris have em­braced dig­i­tal me­dia but in ways that do not con­form to sev­eral re­gional, and global, ex­pec­ta­tions.

“The ret­ro­spec­tion re­port,” Den­nis said, “has been in­stru­men­tal in re­veal­ing the so­cioe­co­nomic im­pli­ca­tions of In­ter­net and so­cial me­dia use in Qatar com­pared to the re­gion at large and pro­vides much-needed in­tel­li­gence, as well as prac­ti­cal data for in­dus­try and pub­lic pol­icy.”

The data and anal­y­sis col­lected an­nu­ally from the sur­veys re­flect na­tion­ally rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ples of more than 1,000 re­spon­dents in each par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­try (7,196 in to­tal).

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