Saudi Gazette – Some of the best and brightest minds in the Saudi digital media arena gathered in Jeddah to share their knowledge and expertise at the third annual SHOOF (meaning “Look”) initiative for the visual digital media.
The one-day event also brought together a panel of local experts including Saudi columnist and journalist Abdullah Al-Maghlooth, who presents a social program on YouTube, media professional and presenter of Action Ya Dawry Walid Al-Faraj, Dr. Hatoon Kadi, comedian from Saudi Arabia who created YouTube episodes called Noon Alniswa, Moayed Althagafi, actor and a standup comedian, Sultan Al Nefai, Snapchat star, Sara Al Wadani, Snapchat make up expert, Abdullah Al Jomah, Snapchat star, Ahmed Al Jebreen, founder of #mecca_live, and Kuwaiti Instagram star Majed Al Sabah.
The forum included speeches, presentations, case studies and panel discussions by industry leaders and activists who identified and examined the challenges and opportunities in a media world subject to constant change; showed how to assess the impact of digital media and evaluate its effect on the bottom line; and explored ways to turn challenges into winning opportunities.
Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Dr. Hatoon Kadi said: “YouTube offers young Saudis entertainment choices not available on mainstream television, including locally produced content made by young Saudis who know how to speak to that audience, and who have more freedom to tackle their issues compared to mainstream TV where the field is full of red lines.”
“We are part of this community and want to prosper,” she said. “We just want to highlight issues in a different way.”
Speakers at the forum said studies confirm that development of digital media will lead to accelerated growth over the next few years.
More than 4,000 visitors flocked from across Jeddah to attend the forum and mostly were women.
According to the latest statistics displayed during the forum, the rank for the social media channels in Saudi Arabia tend to be the highest for (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, linkedin, and badoo).
Saudi Arabia alone produced almost half (47%) of all tweets in the Arab world, 10,832,000 tweets per day
Saudi Arabia accounts for more than 90 million daily YouTube views making it one of the top countries in this category. Almost 50% of Saudi Arabian YouTube users are women.
Mubarak Al Daelej, Media coordinator of Shoof 2015 announced that the forum has launched 8 initiatives for young Saudis including workshops abroad, youth film production, sponsoring YouTube programs, supporting film production, qualifying young producers, translating YouTube programs into signing language and translating the clips of Khan Academy to Arabic.
He said: “The event succeeded to gather pioneers in social networking media channels to explore the latest trends. It is also a platform to support the positive use of social networking media channels, and honor the best practices in these channels.”
The annual forum is organized by Prince Muhammad Bin Salman charity foundation “Misk”.