Arab Social Media Influencer Summit kicks off in Dubai with star-studded lineup

The Kattan sisters founded popular beauty brand Huda Beauty and spoke at Monday's event. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018
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Arab Social Media Influencer Summit kicks off in Dubai with star-studded lineup

DUBAI: The glittering who’s who of the Middle East’s social media world gathered in Dubai Monday for a day of talks at the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit (ASMIS), organized by the Dubai Press Club.

This was the third edition of the summit, and also its biggest yet. The event featured a star-studded guest list, with Saudi TV personality Lojain Omran, fashion blogger Ola Farahat, Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jasmi and Saudi fashion blogger and designer Tamara Al-Gabbani participating, according to event organizers.

The event included talks given by high-profile influencers. Huda and Mona Kattan, known for their hugely-popular makeup brand Huda Beauty, spoke about their experience of building a beauty brand that has gone on to hit shelves around the world. Meanwhile, Murad and Nataly Osmann, creators of the much-copied “#followmeto” project that went viral on Instagram, also discussed their influences and inspirations and talked about their ascent to fame.

Social media influencers from all over the Arab region gathered together for networking opportunities, panels and discussions at the World Trade Center in the heart of the city and the day was topped off with a keynote address by Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan.

 “We are delighted to welcome an iconic Arab figure such as Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, who is also a well-known character in the field of humanitarian and charitable work with an emphasis on issues related to education and youth development,” said Mona Ghanem Al-Marri, president of Dubai Press Club and chairperson of the ASMIS Organizing Committee, in her speech to the crowd.

Other speakers included Roaya Saleh; Bahraini restaurateur and founder of the Villa Mamas restaurant, Egyptian comedy star Mohamed Henedy and Max of Arabia, the half-British, half-American social media star who lives in the UAE and speaks Arabic like a pro.


Apple expected to launch long-awaited video service

Updated 41 min 31 sec ago
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Apple expected to launch long-awaited video service

  • The new video service is expected to have original TV and movies
  • Apple is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new profit growth

Apple is expected to announce Monday that it’s launching a video service that could compete with Netflix, Amazon and cable TV itself.

It’s a long-awaited attempt from the iPhone maker, several years after Netflix turned “binge watching” into a worldwide phenomenon.

The new video service is expected to have original TV shows and movies that reportedly cost Apple more than $1 billion — far less than Netflix and HBO spend every year.

Also expected is a subscription service consisting of news, entertainment and sports bundled from newspapers and magazines.

Apple is making the announcements at its Cupertino, California, headquarters during an event likely to be studded with Hollywood celebrities.

The iPhone has long been Apple’s marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline. The company is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new growth.

Making must-have TV shows and movies that are watchable on any device has propelled Netflix into a force in both Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

But Apple remained focused on making on gadgets: iPhones, iPads, computers and its Apple TV streaming box for TVs. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs began toying with the idea of building a powerful TV business, but he couldn’t pull it off before his death in 2011. It has taken his successor, CEO Tim Cook, nearly eight years to draw up the script that the company will now try to execute.

“Apple is very late to this game,” eMarketer analyst Paul Verna said. “Netflix has become the gold standard in how to create and distribute content, using all the data they have about their viewers.”

Netflix’s prowess has attracted 139 million subscribers worldwide. But Apple will have several other deep-pocketed competitors fighting for consumers’ dollars. Amazon has also become a formidable force in video streaming. Walt Disney Co. is launching its own service this year, armed with an imposing library that became more formidable with its purchase of 21st Century Fox’s films and TV series. AT&T is debuting another streaming service built around HBO.

Apple has plenty of money to spend, though, with about $245 billion in cash and marketable securities. It must prove itself attractive to Hollywood even without a track record for supporting high-quality programming and then ensuring it gets widely seen.

As part of its efforts to make quick connections, Apple hired two longtime Sony television executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, in 2017. They have reportedly signed up stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston.