JEDDAH: Saudis are recording an average of 290 million views a day of video clips on YouTube, the highest rate internationally, according to a local academic.
Dr. Saud Katib, supervisor general of the information center at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU), said that even though commercials have now invaded YouTube, this has not affected the desire of Saudis to visit the website.
“YouTube is of great interest to the Saudi population because they can find clips matching their moods, despite the growing number of commercials,” said Katib.
Katib said new media has great credibility and described it as “the big rich ocean” of information. It was vital for users to know what to choose and what to leave from this huge amount of information.
He said so-called YouTube stars should try to develop themselves. If they do not do so, they could soon become irrelevant, he said.
“YouTube is a good service website that was not available before, but it has the potential to be used in a good and bad way. Saudis who use it showed far more positive interaction than those in other regional countries, and have benefited from its available tools,” he said.
Those who use new media tend to have short attention spans. While displaying great enthusiasm after viewing a website the first time, they quickly move on to something else, he said.
Professor of media and communication skills at KAU, Dr. Hassan Basfar, said social media websites have increased its users, created new tools and competed vigorously with traditional written and audio-visual media.
He said the notion that only the fittest would survive with the emergence of new media was “never real.” He said television and radio was still surviving with their own audiences.
Bandar Halawani, director of content at Sahi channel, which broadcasts its programs on YouTube, said those who are popular now on YouTube, but abuse the platform, are not likely to survive.
Halawani said there should be more effective implementation of intellectual property laws and regulations. “Copying ideas and thoughts have become much easier with the development of the media, and the increased use of the Internet, which calls for the immediate implementation of relevant laws,” he said.