Ranking reveals Saudi Arabia’s top female YouTube stars

Njoud Al-Shammari
Updated 28 November 2016
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Ranking reveals Saudi Arabia’s top female YouTube stars

JEDDAH: A new ranking has revealed the most influential Saudi women on YouTube — and shows the videos they produce are about five times more engaging than most other clips.
Online video intelligence company Tubular Labs ranked female YouTube creators in Saudi Arabia over the last 90 days.
The list, revealed on Monday, placed 21-year-old Saudi lifestyle video creator Njoud Al-Shammari as the most influential of all, with more than 890,000 subscribers. 
Lifestyle and beauty vlogger Asrar Aref came in second, followed by Amal Elmziryahi, who runs a cookery channel, Hessa Al Awad, a fashion and beauty vlogger, and AlJuhara Sajer, who runs a beauty channel.
The top five names on the list scored the highest on the "Tubular Influencer Score" (TIS), which takes into account 10 different metrics when generating the rankings, including the creator’s reach, engagement with viewers, and the channel’s activity.
Video geared towards women continues to grow on YouTube, with the number of hours spent watching female-related videos rising by 50 percent between 2014 and 2015 in the Middle East and North Africa. Saudi Arabia has the highest YouTube usage per capita globally.
Denis Crushell, VP at Tubular Labs, said: “Online video is more global than ever before, with creators around the world making content that resonates with their audiences. These top female Saudi creators deliver content that engages their audience, providing both entertainment value and inspiration. Collectively their content has drawn more than 184 million views (in) all time with an Engagement Rating… that is (five times) more engaging than average video.”
Diana Baddar, head of YouTube Partnerships in the Middle East and North Africa, said she was “happy to see these women’s hard work recognized by hard data”.
“Each of these creators continues to make high-quality content that is not only useful but is also an expression of their creativity. They are telling their own stories to their audience and the world, and will continue to utilize YouTube’s reach to more than one billion daily users to grow their channels,” she said.
“Where we were four years ago to where we are today, there has been a massive growth! We have thousands of channels in Arabic created by Arabic female content creators. That in itself proves that women haven’t found the content that interests them as much, so they felt the need to create it themselves,” Baddar added.
In October, YouTube launched Batala, a dedicated channel that features the region’s top female creators, featuring more than 100 women from across the Middle East and North Africa. All five channels in the Tubular Labs list are on Batala.
Njoud Al-Shammari, a 21-year old Saudi lifestyle and comedy vlogger, posts videos ranging from comedy and tips to fun tutorials. She often features her brother on her channel who is also a widely-followed YouTuber. She managed to get 890,000 subscribers and 52 million views in only a year.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Shammari said that things were difficult to begin with.
“My brothers and I were harshly attacked by people for doing what I believe in. And the fact that my brothers appear in my videos made the attack even harsher,” she said.
Al-Shammari advised aspiring YouTube creators to invest in what they do best, but at the same time be creative and develop new categories to stand out. Hessa Al-Awad is a 24-year old Saudi beauty creator and an avid fan of Japanese pop culture. Her videos range from hair tutorials to personal hygiene tips. Hessa produces, shoots, and edits all of her videos in her house. She is the second creator on the list who has never revealed her face on YouTube — something that hasn’t held back her popularity on the video platform. Her channel has 469,000 subscribers and 60 million views.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Awad said that she gained more confidence in herself and a lot of love from her fans, whom she calls “flowers.”
On being named among the top influential creators on YouTube, she said: “It feels like I am flying from happiness, and so proud of what I have achieved so far.”
AlJuhara Sajer, 25, started her YouTube channel in 2012. In her first videos, she did not show her face. She was so popular that her subscribers started recognizing her voice in Jeddah’s malls. She soon started showing her face on her channel, which has videos ranging from beauty tutorials, to fun conversations and challenges. Sajer, who is from Saudi Arabia, managed to get 423,000 subscribers and 48 million views on YouTube.
Sajer said that YouTube changed many things in her life, “I am not the same person I was five years ago, it changed me personally, not only socially and media wise. I became more outspoken, courageous and bolder, and more open-minded as I met a many people from different backgrounds. Now, I have bigger ideas.”


Journalist Lyra McKee killing: ‘New breed’ of terrorists in Northern Ireland

Updated 20 min 59 sec ago
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Journalist Lyra McKee killing: ‘New breed’ of terrorists in Northern Ireland

  • The riot followed a pattern familiar to those who lived through the worst years of violence in Northern Ireland
  • No police were struck by the bullets, but McKee — who had been trying to film the riot on her phone — was hit
LONDON: Police in Northern Ireland arrested two teenagers Saturday in connection with the fatal shooting of a young journalist during rioting in the city of Londonderry and warned of a “new breed” of terrorists threatening the peace.
The men, aged 18 and 19, were detained under anti-terrorism legislation and taken to Belfast for questioning, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said. The men have not been identified or charged.
Authorities believe one man pulled the trigger during the chaotic rioting that began Thursday night but had organizational support.
Lyra McKee, 29, a rising star of investigative journalism, was shot and killed, police say probably by a stray bullet aimed at police, during the rioting. Police said the New IRA dissident group was most likely responsible and called it a “terrorist act.”
The use of a firearm apparently aimed at police marks a dangerous escalation in sporadic violence that continues to plague Northern Ireland 21 years after the Good Friday peace agreement was signed. The New IRA group rejects the peace agreement.
Chief detective Jason Murphy warned Saturday that the situation on the ground has become more dangerous, even though community attitudes have changed since the peace agreement and the use of violence is viewed as abhorrent by the vast majority.
“What we are seeing is a new breed of terrorist coming through the ranks and that for me is a very worrying situation,” he said.
The riot followed a pattern familiar to those who lived through the worst years of violence in Northern Ireland. Police arrived in the city’s Creggan neighborhood to search for weapons and dissidents. They were barraged with gasoline bombs and other flying objects, then someone wearing a black mask appeared, fired some shots and fled.
No police were struck by the bullets, but McKee — who had been trying to film the riot on her phone — was hit. The journalist was rushed to a nearby hospital in a police car but still died.
Police on Friday night released closed-circuit TV footage showing the man suspected of firing the shots that killed McKee and appealed for help from the public in identifying him.
The killing was condemned by all the major political parties as well as the prime ministers of Britain and Ireland.
The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the killing was “a reminder of how fragile peace still is in Northern Ireland” and called for work to preserve the Good Friday peace agreement.
Some politicians believe uncertainty over Britain’s impending departure from the EU and the possible re-introduction of a “hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are stoking tensions in the region.
The victim was mourned by friends and the wider community. She rose to prominence in 2014 with a moving blog post — “Letter to my 14 year old self” — describing the struggle of growing up gay in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. She also had recently signed a contract to write two books.
Shortly before her death, McKee tweeted a photo of the rioting with the words: “Derry tonight. Absolute madness.”
Her partner, Sara Canning, told a vigil Friday that McKee’s amazing potential had been snuffed out. Canning said the senseless murder “has left me without the love of my life, the woman I was planning to grow old with.”
Catholic priest Joseph Gormley, who administered the last rites to McKee, told the BBC that the rioting was “clearly orchestrated” by a “small group of people who want to play political games with our lives.”
He said he and other community leaders had tried to talk to the dissidents without success.
The New IRA is a small group that rejects the 1998 Good Friday agreement that marked the Irish Republican Army’s embrace of a political solution to the long-running violence known as “The Troubles” that had claimed more than 3,700 lives.
The group is also blamed for a Londonderry car bombing in January and has been linked to several other killings in the past decade.