YouTube launches Arab world’s first creative content creation space

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YouTube's Dubai Space launches in Dubai Studio City. (YouTube)
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Once entering, you are greeted by a floor to ceiling abstract mural of Arabian stallions, camels and shisha-smokers. (YouTube)
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YouTube's Dubai Space comes with state-of-the-art studios and equipment. (YouTube)
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YouTube's Space also has an area where creators can get together, eat and socialize. (YouTube)
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Top Arab world YouTube creators speak at the press conference. From Left to Right: Iraqi Dubai-based YouTube creator Lowi Sahi, Sudanese Dubai-based YouTube creator Maha Jaafar, Iraqi US-based YouTube Creator Noor Stars, Bahraini YouTube Creator Omar Farooq. (YouTube)
Updated 26 June 2018
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YouTube launches Arab world’s first creative content creation space

DUBAI: Deep in Dubai’s desert dunes on the outskirts of the vast sprawling city, inside an unassuming, warehouse-like building, the world’s largest video-sharing website has created a high-tech, state-of-the-art space that it says will cater to the Arab world’s biggest and brightest vloggers.
After walking along a red carpet lined by bright, green plastic grass — and a surprisingly small reception area – you finally enter YouTube’s first-ever Middle East and North African “Space.”
Completely free of charge, this whole space – with everything in it — is allocated to YouTube creators with a following of 10,000 or more, while those with more than 1,000 subscribers are offered access to workshops and events.
You are greeted by a floor to ceiling abstract mural of Arabian stallions, camels and shisha-smoking patrons in a community area scattered with black and red barrel tables and an assortment of seating paraphernalia facing a permanently-installed video wall – the furnishings, we are told, are there just for the launch.
A window offers a glimpse from the community room into a 60 square meter studio, that caters for small productions — but offers a high-end, multi-camera set-up. Separated by a common wall, is a bigger 120 square meter studio for the bigger and more complicated productions, fully equipped with green-screen curtains and direct connection to a control room that sits above the whole space.
While creators can bring their own equipment, they need not worry as the most state-of-the-art and high-tech cameras, microphones and lights are available in the “Tech Cage” which nestles in the corner of the community area.
“In order to take it to the next level, as a YouTuber, you need a space to be able to work from, you’d need studios, cameras, equipment which is what this space is offering,” Bahraini YouTube sensation Omar Farooq told Arab News.
“The space allows you to go from an amateur YouTuber to one that’s professional and fully dependent on it for earnings,” Farooq, who has over 1.3 million subscribers, added.
YouTube creators have increased in the Arab world by 160 percent over the past three years, according to the company’s own statistics. Today, more than 200 channels with more than 1 million subscribers are spread across the MENA region, and in excess of 30,000 channels have more than 10,000 subscribers.
Speaking at the press launch of the facility, Head of YouTube Spaces in EMEA David Ripert said the Dubai Space is: “to be a hub where creators don’t just continue to make the videos millions of people have grown to love, but to also experiment with new formats and ideas made possible by the Space’s production facilities.”
The Dubai space is the company’s tenth worldwide, with other locations including Berlin, Toronto, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New York, Tokyo, Sau Paolo, Paris, and London.


Comcast outbids Fox with $40 billion offer for Sky in auction

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, arrives at the Sun Valley Resort of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 10, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2018
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Comcast outbids Fox with $40 billion offer for Sky in auction

  • Disney agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox’s film and TV assets, including its existing 39 percent stake in Sky, in June and would have taken full ownership after a successful Fox takeover

LONDON: Comcast beat Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox in the battle for Sky on Saturday after offering 30.6 billion pounds ($40 billion) in a dramatic auction to decide the fate of the pay-television group.
The US cable giant bid 17.28 pounds a share for control of London-listed Sky, bettering a 15.67 pounds-a-share offer by Fox, Britain’s Takeover Panel said.
Buying Sky will make Philadephia-based Comcast, which owns the NBC network and Universal Pictures, the world’s largest pay-TV operator with around 52 million customers.
Chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts has had his eye on Sky as a way to help counter declines in subscribers for traditional cable TV in its core US market as viewers switch to video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon .
“This is a great day for Comcast,” he said. “This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”
Comcast’s knock-out offer thwarted Murdoch’s long-held ambition to win control of Sky, and is also a setback for US entertainment giant Walt Disney which would have likely been its ultimate owner.
Disney agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox’s film and TV assets, including its existing 39 percent stake in Sky, in June and would have taken full ownership after a successful Fox takeover.
Comcast’s final offer was significantly higher than its bid going into the auction of 14.75 pounds, and compares with Sky’s closing price of 15.85 pounds on Friday.
Comcast believed it needed to deliver a knock-out blow given that Fox’s existing stake in Sky gave it a chance of victory if it was a close second to Comcast, two sources said.
Comcast’s final offer — more than double Sky’s share price before Fox made its approach in December 2016 — quickly won the backing of Sky’s independent directors on Saturday.
“We are recommending it as it represents materially superior value,” said Martin Gilbert, chairman of Sky’s independent committee. “We are focused on drawing this process to a successful and swift close and therefore urge shareholders to accept the recommended Comcast offer.”
Fox will now concede defeat, a source told Reuters.
It is reviewing options for its stake, a holding that stems from Murdoch’s role in the creation of the company nearly three decades ago, the source said.
Fox declined to comment.
Comcast, which requires 50 percent plus one share of Sky’s equity to win control, said it was also seeking to buy Sky shares in the market.

HUGE PRICE
One hedge fund manager who holds Sky shares said nobody could complain about the Comcast price.
“The question now is if Fox actually sells out and if not can Comcast get to 50 percent,” he said.
Another hedge-fund manager said it was a “huge” price, and shareholders would accept it.
Sources familiar with the matter said Fox, Disney and Comcast had not been in discussions about the 39 percent stake.
The quick-fire auction marked a dramatic climax to a protracted transatlantic bidding battle waged since February, when Comcast gate-crashed Fox’s takeover of Sky.
It is a blow to 87-year-old Murdoch and the US media and entertainment group that he controls, which had been trying to take full ownership of Sky since December 2016.
Murdoch’s son James, currently chairman of Sky, was instrumental in building the company into the leading European pay TV group, with operations in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, and more than 23 million customers attracted to its top-flight sport and entertainment content.
Sky’s chief executive Jeremy Darroch said it was the beginning of a new chapter. “Sky has never stood still, and with Comcast our momentum will only increase,” he said. ($1 = 0.7648 pounds)