YouTube relaunches women-dedicated channel YouTube Batala | Arab News

YouTube relaunches women-dedicated channel YouTube Batala

YouTube relaunches women-dedicated channel YouTube Batala
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Updated 27 October 2021

YouTube relaunches women-dedicated channel YouTube Batala

YouTube relaunches women-dedicated channel YouTube Batala
  • Dedicated to the MENA region, YouTube Batala spotlights Arabic-speaking women creators

DUBAI: YouTube has relaunched YouTube Batala, a channel by YouTube in the Middle East and North Africa region dedicated to spotlighting the next generation of Arabic-speaking women creators. Currently, YouTube Batala consists of over 250 women-led channels from countries across the region.

YouTube Batala is more of a hub than a traditional YouTube channel. It features a collection of playlists, categorized by genre, with each playlist containing a variety of creators. The playlists cover gaming, education, beauty and fashion, wellness, music, and one of the most important genres in terms of growth among women viewership and content creation, gaming.

The creators featured in the playlists were chosen based on a set of factors, which includes “responsible and impactful content creation, consistency, and whether their content was made in Arabic,” according to a company statement.

“One of the things I am in awe of in my role is the immense power and diversity of the women creator community on YouTube in the MENA region. Not only are these women creating content that draws in millions of people, they’re also building communities around ideas, beauty, food, and even general wellbeing,” said Tarek Amin, director of YouTube MENA.

YouTube Batala is part of a larger effort toward supporting women creators across Arabic-speaking countries, which also includes a series of events and workshops for women creators to help them further their content in terms of production and storytelling.

YouTube Batala is part of our ongoing work, which we started to help more people discover these emerging storytellers while also celebrating their diversity, authenticity and impact on YouTube. After all, these women really are the heroes of their own stories,” added Amin.

Women-led content on YouTube in Arabic-speaking countries has witnessed a major shift in recent years. In 2016, when YouTube first launched the Batala project and other women-focused events and initiatives, there were only five women-led channels with more than 1 million subscribers. Today, there are more than 150 women-led channels, with more than 1 million subscribers in the MENA region.

Some of YouTube Batala’s most prominent creators are Meshael from Saudi Arabia and Kafa from Tunisia, leading gaming communities; Manola from Saudi Arabia, who is taking lifestyle content to the next level by not just reviewing clothes or posing in them but by also making them; and Nedal from Egypt, who started a virtual book club on YouTube.


Google Doodle marks pioneer of modernist Arabic literature al-Fayturi’s 85th birthday

Google Doodle marks pioneer of modernist Arabic literature al-Fayturi’s 85th birthday
Updated 24 November 2021

Google Doodle marks pioneer of modernist Arabic literature al-Fayturi’s 85th birthday

Google Doodle marks pioneer of modernist Arabic literature al-Fayturi’s 85th birthday
  • A collection of his poems, titled ‘Songs of Africa’, explored the impact of colonialism on the collective African identity

DUBAI: Google marked on Wednesday what would have been Muhammad al-Fayturi’s 85th birthday, with one of its doodles. 

Al-Fayturi, best known for his poetry, was also an ambassador of Libya in several countries, including Lebanon and Morocco. 

A collection of his poems, titled ‘Songs of Africa’, explored the impact of colonialism on the collective African identity. 

Published in 1956, it also encouraged his readership to embrace their cultural roots. 

Muhammad al-Fayturi

Al-Fayturi was born in 1936 in Al Geneina, Sudan to a Libyan father and an Egyptian Mother. He moved to Egypt with his family when he was three years old, and grew up in the city of Alexandria. At just 13, al-Fayturi began writing classical Arabic poetry, and later became one of the major figures of contemporary Arabic poetry.

In addition to studying Islamic sciences, philosophy and history at Al-Azhar University until 1953, he studied literature at Cairo University and joined the Institute of Political Science in Cairo. 

The acclaimed poet later worked as a journalist and editor for an Egyptian and Sudanese newspaper after graduating at the age of 17. 

Al-Fayturi was a member of the Arab Writers union and served as an expert for the Arab League, a role he fulfilled between 1968 and 1970. 

The prominent literary figure published several plays, books, and other poetry collections as he lived and worked across North Africa. However, his career climaxed when he released his last two books in 2005, almost 50 years after he released his first collection. 

He died in the Moroccan capital Rabat in 2015.


Five million viewers see Carlson’s Rittenhouse chat

Five million viewers see Carlson’s Rittenhouse chat
Updated 24 November 2021

Five million viewers see Carlson’s Rittenhouse chat

Five million viewers see Carlson’s Rittenhouse chat
  • Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable news channel in prime time, averaging 2.89 million viewers

NEW YORK: Tucker Carlson reached 5.05 million viewers for his Kyle Rittenhouse interview on Monday, the Fox News Channel opinion host's largest audience since the night of the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol.
Rittenhouse was acquitted on murder charges last week and Carlson was given the chance for the post-trial interview because of the support he had shown him, according to the 18-year-old's family.
Carlson has averaged 3.16 million viewers on a typical night this year, the Nielsen company said.
ABC News and Diane Sawyer had strong ratings for her Friday night interview with members of a California family held captive for many years by their parents. That “20/20” episode reached more than 7.4 million viewers.
Fox broadcasting was the top-rated network in prime time last week, averaging 5.4 million viewers. NBC had 4.8 million, CBS had 4.5 million, ABC had 4.1 million, Univision had 1.5 million, Telemundo had 1 million and Ion Television had 880,000.
Fox News Channel was the most-watched cable news channel in prime time, averaging 2.89 million viewers. ESPN had 2.31 million, Hallmark had 1.58 million, MSNBC had 1.18 million and HGTV had 893,000.
ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race with an average of 8.3 million viewers. NBC's “Nightly News” had 7.2 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.4 million.
For the week of Nov. 15-21, the 20 most popular programs in prime time, their networks and viewerships:
1. NFL Football: Pittsburgh at L.A. Chargers, NBC, 14.55 million.
2. NFL Football: New England at Atlanta, Fox, 13.52 million.
3. “The OT,” Fox, 11.6 million.
4. “NFL Pregame,” NBC, 11.2 million.
5. NFL Football: L.A. Rams at San Francisco, ESPN, 10.7 million.
6. “NFL Pregame,” Fox, 8.59 million.
7. “Football Night in America, Part 3,” NBC, 8.54 million.
8. “FBI,” CBS, 7.61 million.
9. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.58 million.
10. “Yellowstone,” Paramount, 7.42 million.
11. “20/20,” ABC, 7.41 million.
12. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 6.95 million.
13. “The Voice” (Tuesday), NBC, 6.78 million.
14. “The Equalizer,” CBS, 6.59 million.
15. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 6.56 million.
16. “FBI: International,” CBS, 5.96 million.
17. “Blue Bloods,” CBS, 5.79 million.
18. “Survivor,” CBS, 5.77 million.
19. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 5.64 million.
20. “NFL Pregame,” ESPN, 5.5 million.


Apple suing Israeli hacker-for-hire company NSO Group

A logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, Aug. 24, 2021. (AP)
A logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, Aug. 24, 2021. (AP)
Updated 24 November 2021

Apple suing Israeli hacker-for-hire company NSO Group

A logo adorns a wall on a branch of the Israeli NSO Group company, near the southern Israeli town of Sapir, Aug. 24, 2021. (AP)
  • Pegasus infiltrates phones to vacuum up personal and location data and surreptitiously controls the smartphone’s microphones and cameras

RICHMOND, Virginia: Tech giant Apple announced Tuesday it is suing Israel’s NSO Group, seeking to block the world’s most infamous hacker-for-hire company from breaking into Apple’s products, like the iPhone.
Apple said in a complaint filed in federal court in California that NSO Group employees are “amoral 21st century mercenaries who have created highly sophisticated cyber-surveillance machinery that invites routine and flagrant abuse.” Apple said NSO Group’s spyware, called Pegasus, had been used to attack a small number of Apple customers worldwide.
“State-sponsored actors like the NSO Group spend millions of dollars on sophisticated surveillance technologies without effective accountability. That needs to change,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering.
NSO Group has broadly denied wrongdoing and said its products have been used by governments to save lives.
“Pedophiles and terrorists can freely operate in technological safe-havens, and we provide governments the lawful tools to fight it. NSO group will continue to advocate for the truth,” the company said in a statement.
It’s the latest blow to the hacking firm, which was recently blacklisted by the US Commerce Department and is currently being sued by social media giant Facebook.
Security researchers have found Pegasus being used around the world to break into the phones of human rights activists, journalists and even members of the Catholic clergy.
Pegasus infiltrates phones to vacuum up personal and location data and surreptitiously controls the smartphone’s microphones and cameras. Researchers have found several examples of NSO Group tools using so-called “zero click” exploits that infect targeted mobile phones without any user interaction.
The Biden administration announced this month that NSO Group and another Israeli cybersecurity firm called Candiru were being added to the “entity list,” which limits their access to US components and technology by requiring government permission for exports.
Also this month, security researchers disclosed that Pegasus spyware was detected on the cellphones of six Palestinian human rights activists. And Mexican prosecutors recently announced they have arrested a businessman on charges he used the Pegasus spyware to spy on a journalist.
Facebook has sued NSO Group over the use of a somewhat similar exploit that allegedly intruded via its globally popular encrypted WhatsApp messaging app. A US federal appeals court issued a ruling this month rejecting an effort by NSO Group to have the lawsuit thrown out.
Apple also announced Tuesday that it was donating $10 million, as well as any damages won in the NSO Group lawsuit, to cybersurveillance researchers and advocates.


Report: Facebook and Instagram ad spend continues to grow in the Middle East

Emplifi has released its “State of Social Media and CX” report for the third quarter of 2021. (Supplied)
Emplifi has released its “State of Social Media and CX” report for the third quarter of 2021. (Supplied)
Updated 23 November 2021

Report: Facebook and Instagram ad spend continues to grow in the Middle East

Emplifi has released its “State of Social Media and CX” report for the third quarter of 2021. (Supplied)
  • Emplifi’s Q3 report shows ad spend connected to the accommodation industry experiencing 94 percent growth year-over-year

DUBAI: Emplifi, a customer experience (CX) and social media marketing company, has released its “State of Social Media and CX” report for the third quarter of 2021, analyzing paid and organic brand efforts on social media.

Ad spend on Facebook and Instagram increased 33.32 percent year-over-year (YoY) in the Middle East during Q3, compared with 43.4 percent globally, and 7.38 percent between Q2 and Q3 in the Middle East, compared with 10.5 percent globally.

Brand spending on Facebook’s News Feed in the region was 21.48 percentage points higher than spending on Instagram’s News Feed. The increase in Facebook ad investment by marketers represents a clear sign of the times, with ad spend connected to the accommodation industry experiencing 94 percent growth year-over-year as countries reopen their borders and travel resumes across the globe.

Etihad Airways had the top three performing posts on Facebook, generating 1,605,310 interactions, while Emirates has the best performing post on Instagram with 402,479 interactions.

Looking at the region by industry, the retail category (19.2 percent) topped the total interactions of brand pages on Facebook, while the e-commerce category (26.9 percent) led the way on Instagram.

As ad spend increased, advertising costs also continued to climb with Cost-Per-Clicks (CPCs) reaching their highest level since late 2020. In the Middle East, the highest CPC was on Facebook’s Instream Video, while the lowest CPC was recorded across Facebook Video posts, Facebook News Feed, and Instagram Stories.

When it comes to organic content, the report found that Facebook’s Instream Live Videos generated three times more engagement for brands compared to other types of posts globally.

“While it’s true brands are having to invest more of their advertising dollars to reach consumers across social media platforms, there are still massive opportunities for B2C advertisers when it comes to using Live video within their social media marketing and social commerce initiatives,” said Zarnaz Arlia, Emplifi’s chief marketing officer.

Live video is a new way for brands to connect with audiences, she said, although the format remains underutilized in the Middle East. Globally too, Facebook Instream Video attracts only the fifth largest ad spend (4.8 percent). For the brands that do go live on Facebook, those in the beauty and e-commerce industries generated the highest number of comments and interactions.

Relative post interactions for brand accounts on both Facebook and Instagram have been trending down since Q3 2020 with both platforms seeing about 60 percent of the median post interactions they saw at the time.

The report also highlights the trend of social commerce. The growth of e-commerce and social media usage, fueled by the pandemic, saw both channels come together to give birth to social commerce.

In 2021, 65 percent of Americans discovered or bought products directly on social media, according to an Ipsos study.

“Consumers want a seamless shopping experience, from product discovery through purchase, and social commerce enables brands to sell their products directly in an app where the consumer is already shopping,” Arlia said.

“The brands that understand the value in meeting customers where they are — on social platforms — will gain a significant competitive edge in the coming months,” she said.


First Middle East workplace culture consultancy launches in UAE

L to R: Lucy d'Abo, CEO; John Hague, Director of People & Transformation; Camilla d'Abo, non-executive director. (Supplied)
L to R: Lucy d'Abo, CEO; John Hague, Director of People & Transformation; Camilla d'Abo, non-executive director. (Supplied)
Updated 23 November 2021

First Middle East workplace culture consultancy launches in UAE

L to R: Lucy d'Abo, CEO; John Hague, Director of People & Transformation; Camilla d'Abo, non-executive director. (Supplied)
  • New outlet from Lucy and Camilla d’Abo will help businesses shift from talking about workplace culture to acting on it

DUBAI: Together, the first consultancy of its kind dedicated to workplace culture, has launched in the Middle East, with an office in Dubai, UAE. 

Founded by local entrepreneurs Lucy and Camilla d’Abo, who set up the independent communications agency DABO & CO, which was later acquired by Edelman, the new venture aims to inspire brands to focus on workplace culture, bringing together leaders and employees to achieve an efficient workforce. 

Its services include strategic planning, culture transformation, internal communications, values and behaviors, people development, and managing change for future purposes.

Lucy d’Abo, who has been providing professional consulting services to clients and businesses across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe since 1998, will head the company as CEO.

John Hague, an expert in learning, development, and employee engagement joins as director of people and transformation. Hague brings with him over 15 years of experience across the UAE and Britain, running multi-faceted programs at brands such as The Entertainer, Walmart, Waitrose, and John Lewis Partnership.

The team is supported by non-executive directors Camilla d’Abo, who most recently held the position of managing director for Dubai at APCO Worldwide, and Chris Shaw, who joins after a nine-year tenure at The Entertainer.

The global workplace and its culture have been transformed, with many people working from home during the pandemic. As restrictions started to ease, some organizations encouraged employees to return to the office, while others adopted a hybrid work model. At a time when the future of work remains unpredictable, culture is more important than ever.

A Deloitte survey identified culture as one of six themes that the C-suite needs to give attention to, with 69 percent of leaders saying they believe that company culture will have a critically important impact on their organization’s ability to realize its mission and vision.

Culture is as important to employees as it is to leaders. A study by Workhuman, a software company for employee management and reward systems, found that job seekers stated wanting a better culture among their top five reasons for looking.

Arab News spoke to Lucy d’Abo to glean more on the needs and challenges of the market and how together aims to fill the gaps.

What do you think is the demand for this kind of consultancy in the region?

Based on our experience in this sector, we have seen a significant increase in requests for culture consultancy over the past few years.

In the last 12 months, we have been piloting our concept and consulting with clients that have thousands of global employees to test our theories. The successful feedback and growing number of inquiries have led us to establish a regional dedicated workplace consultancy.

The need is apparent, but currently, there are limited resources dedicated to helping businesses address this in the Middle East. To date, there has been talk about the topic of workplace culture, but little action. Now with the launch of together, there is a consultancy that provides the required services to support businesses shift from talking about workplace culture to acting on it.

As the Middle East continues to thrive and markets like Saudi Arabia and the UAE take pioneering steps forward, we believe there is an opportunity for the region to be a leader in adopting best practices.

What are the challenges you’re expecting?

Although recent studies prove that investing in culture makes business sense, many Middle East organizations are struggling to change their thinking.

Global statistics point to a dramatic shift in the workplace ecosystem: Forbes magazine ranks culture among its top three most important Future of Work 2021 trends. In tandem, according to the Microsoft Work Trend Index 2021, over 40 percent of the global workforce is considering leaving their employer this year.

The question is how can companies in the Middle East drive a successful organization in the new era of work? The key challenges relating to workplace culture facing CEOs and leaders include the following:

Perception: Historically the perception has been that workplace culture is fluffy and soft and does not lead to business results. However, this is no longer the case. Recent statistics from Forbes state that companies with strong cultures saw a four-times increase in revenue growth.

Hybrid working: Companies that did not have a strong culture were unable to maintain a sense of togetherness when COVID-19 forced people apart. This is a critical time for businesses to reconsider their approach and protect themselves for the future.

Investment: One of the biggest challenges has been that traditionally many businesses are hesitant to dedicate investment into workplace culture over the long-term as there has been little focus on measuring results. We advocate measurement and use data to not only evaluate existing culture but also use our global and proprietary tools to drive strategic roadmaps for future Return On Investment.

What impact did the pandemic have on workplace culture with many companies switching to hybrid work-from-home/office models?

Globally, we are witnessing one of the biggest transformations in workplace culture since the industrial revolution. For many, COVID-19 has been a life event that has precipitated self-reflection about job satisfaction.

Widespread self-reflection coupled with an increased ability to work from anywhere has led to the most significant challenge to workplace culture in decades.

This global shift, fast-tracked by COVID-19, has put workplace culture at the top of the agenda because of three key factors:

The first is COVID-19. Organizations with strong and effective cultures demonstrated resilience, innovation, and loyalty in the face of adversity, and those without it have floundered and continue to be challenged.

Then there is the global talent war. Global trends are pointing to the phenomenon of the “Great Resignation” (a term referring to the widespread trend of people leaving their jobs during the pandemic). This is putting significant pressure on employers who are now facing productivity and engagement issues.  With the Middle East, and especially Saudi Arabia, wanting to attract the best global talent to live and work in its markets, employees are no longer willing to accept roles that do not adopt future thinking in terms of hybrid working and positive workplace culture.

The final factor is purpose. Following 18 months of reflection and assessing their personal values and alignment with the organization they work in, employees around the world are re-thinking what they want from their work and searching for companies with a strong culture and values that align with their own.

What are the key elements of a healthy workplace culture that any company in any sector should have?

When properly aligned with personal values, drives, and needs, culture can unleash tremendous amounts of energy toward a shared goal and drive an organization’s capacity to deliver. Engaged employees inspire performance and people performance drives business performance.

We believe that workplace culture is a business superpower and with it businesses can enjoy an engaged, effective, and aligned workforce that achieves consistent business success.

A superpower culture is created with the perfect mix of ingredients that include the following:

  • A progressive leadership that is open to change and investing in people 
  • A high-performing team meeting and exceeding goals and delivering outstanding results
  • An aligned and engaged workforce that is living the company’s purpose
  • A clear strategy with articulated values and behaviors,
  • Care for people, integrity, ethics, and cultural sensitivity
  • Clear communication, active listening, and rewarding recognition across all levels 
  • Adopting global strategies, best practices, and principles.

Tell us about the culture at your new venture, together.

Relationships are at the core of together. We see ourselves as a partner and catalyst for change through culture.

We exist for both the progressive leader and the hardworking everyman because we know one doesn’t work without the other. We keep people at the heart of what we do. We inspire transformational change and harness the power of people to put it into practice.

We apply our insights and intuition to support leaders and teams, define and localize their purpose, vision, values, culture, and drive.

We believe that a great culture is possible — if you do it together.