BRIDG­ING THE CON­TENT GAP

Get­ting more Ara­bic lan­guage con­tent on­line will prove a boon for busi­ness.

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY MARY SOPHIA

Get­ting more Ara­bic lan­guage con­tent on­line will prove a boon for busi­ness.

WITH AN ES­TI­MATED 300 mil­lion speak­ers around the world, Ara­bic is the third most spo­ken lan­guage in the world af­ter English and French.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search from Com­mon Sense Ad­vi­sory (CSA), a global mar­ket re­search provider, the on­line Ara­bic speak­ing pop­u­la­tion now sur­passes Rus­sian, French and Ger­man. De­spite this, only three per cent of on­line con­tent is in Ara­bic.

But this is chang­ing as in­dus­try play­ers and con­tent cre­ators re­alise the fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits of on­line Ara­bic con­tent. A CSA re­port re­vealed that Ara­bic’s share of on­line gross do­mes­tic prod­uct grew faster than any other lan­guage – even faster than Sim­pli­fied Chi­nese – be­tween 2011 and 2012.

“There has been a lot of im­prove­ment in Ara­bic con­tent cre­ation in the last two years,” said Dr. Fayeq Oweis, lan­guage ser­vices man­ager for emerg­ing EMEA, Google.

A Booz & Com­pany re­port es­ti­mated that ac­tive Arab in­ter­net users will rise to 13 mil­lion by 2014, com­pared to 10 mil­lion users in 2012. The study also re­vealed that around 37 per cent of in­ter­net users in the MENA re­gion are dis­sat­is­fied with the avail­abil­ity of Ara­bic web­sites.

With such im­mense po­ten­tial for on­line Ara­bic con­tent, dig­i­tal heavy­weights like Google are in­vest­ing in re­sources to boost Ara­bic on­line con­tent. Through an ini­tia­tive called Ara­bic Web Days, which is con­ducted in li­ai­son with other re­gional part­ners, Google has at­tempted to bridge the gap. A re­cent month-long cam­paign tar­geted Ara­bic speak­ers world­wide, en­cour­ag­ing them to cre­ate con­tent as a means to in­crease on­line Ara­bic sites.

How­ever, Oweis added that the Mid­dle East is a ge­o­graph­i­cally di­verse re­gion

“AC­CORD­ING TO RE­SEARCH FROM COM­MON SENSE AD­VI­SORY (CSA), A GLOBAL MAR­KET RE­SEARCH PROVIDER, THE ON­LINE ARA­BIC SPEAK­ING POP­U­LA­TION NOW SUR­PASSES RUS­SIAN, FRENCH AND GER­MAN. DE­SPITE THIS, ONLY THREE PER CENT OF ON­LINE CON­TENT IS IN ARA­BIC.”

with many hur­dles for con­tent cre­ation.

“One of the chal­lenges is the fi­nan­cial sup­port re­quired for [users] to ded­i­cate them­selves to cre­at­ing con­tent on­line,” he said.

But YouTube, an­other of Google’s pow­er­ful tools, could help solve this chal­lenge and aid Ara­bic ma­te­rial cre­ation. The global video shar­ing web­site launched its mon­eti­sa­tion pol­icy last year in the UAE, Saudi Ara­bia and Egypt, en­abling users to earn money depend­ing on the con­tent up­loaded. With four bil­lion views glob­ally per day and a bil­lion unique vis­i­tors per month, YouTube boasts im­pres­sive fig­ures in the MENA re­gion, which could help boost orig­i­nal Ara­bic con­tent lev­els. “We have 310 mil­lion views a day and have two hours of video up­loaded ev­ery minute and most of it is in Ara­bic,” said Diana Bad­dar, YouTube video part­ner­ships man­ager – MENA Re­gion. “We also have the sec­ond largest pres­ence in the MENA re­gion af­ter the US and have thou­sands of cre­ators cre­at­ing con­tent in Ara­bic, which is di­verse and pop­u­lar.” Though YouTube of­fers only vis­ual con­tent, the site could be in­stru­men­tal in rais­ing the over­all on­line Ara­bic con­tent.

“Gen­eral Ara­bic con­tent, re­gard­less of where it came, is a plus. It is the right step in in­creas­ing Ara­bic con­tent,” said Oweis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.