‘The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the Eighties’ — META executive

‘The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the Eighties’ — META executive
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‘The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the Eighties’ — META executive
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‘The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the Eighties’ — META executive
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‘The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the Eighties’ — META executive
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Updated 12 June 2022

‘The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the Eighties’ — META executive

‘The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the Eighties’ — META executive
  • Moon Baz, creator partnerships lead at META Middle East, Africa and Turkey, talks content trends and content creators

Can you tell us about the latest content trends on Instagram in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia?

The Middle East region has one of the highest social media usage rates in the world. People in the region have turned to Instagram to stand behind causes they care about and have successfully ignited waves of digital activism, which gave rise to content that focuses on sharing information and educating communities. It also allowed others to find their own voices in these movements.

We have also seen an increasing interest in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) among our communities as the buzz around concepts like the metaverse and Web3 continues.

Content creators in the region creatively used our Spark AR features to bring forth the spirit of Ramadan and augment the holy month celebrations with filters by @Bdanabol and @aymen_ghnia topping the list.

Reels content has also been on the rise with content spanning everything from celebrating Saudi coffee on the back of declaring the year 2022 as the Year of Saudi Coffee, to anime and K-pop content, and the latest hits on Netflix.




Moon Baz, head of Entertainment Partnerships for MENA and Turkey at Meta. (Supplied)

Can you elaborate on the popularity of anime content on the platform?

The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the Eighties. The Japanese art has inspired Arab creators to use anime for self-expression, incorporating Arab culture and sensibilities within its parameters of character and world-building.

With the boom in local anime creation, lovers of the medium are increasingly turning to Instagram as the platform to showcase their talents. To date, the hashtag #anime has garnered almost a million followers across KSA, UAE, Egypt and Kuwait on Instagram.

Regional creators are exploring the full range of the anime universe with manga, cosplay, origami and folktale anime productions coming together on the platform and redefining the boundaries of the medium through its originality.

Talents like Jassim Al Mohannadi use Instagram to publish original anime productions spiced with Middle Eastern flavors. Jasim has published 21 chapters of his own Arabic manga creations on WEBTOON under the title “Justice in the Wasteland” and penned the Middle Eastern manga “Primeval.” Others like Reem (@renberryart) were able to turn their impressive talents in anime illustration into a source of income on Instagram. Everything from anime movie characters to fusions of Mirko and Tengen can be found on Reem’s emerging storefront.

We are delighted to witness the incredible Japanese art shaping Middle Eastern creator communities and further making Instagram home to self-expression.

How has fashion and travel content grown on the platform?

Instagram is a place to explore, share and push culture forward. We see our community heading to places like Explore, Reels, and Stories for inspiration, self-expression and discovery of all types of content. Yet, there is no doubt that the fashion and travel categories have always been, and continue to be, a cornerstone of the Instagram experience.

There is always a new fashion trend to jump on in terms of what to wear and where to shop. Our 2022 Instagram Trends Report has shown that Gen Z is now making bold moves with its style choices, using fashion as a vehicle for joy, optimism and self-expression.

They are also moving away from big-box online retailer websites as more than half of young people are interested in new shopping experiences, opening new avenues for small-to-medium businesses and thrift shops.

In the region, we saw a recent interest in modest fashion where the hashtag #modestfashion grew 45 percent in the UAE, as creators were experimenting in the lead-up to Ramadan.

Travel content has also been on the rise, especially with the boom of Reels. We have seen creative content from a plethora of creators in the region such as Murad and Nataly Osmann and Kasem Hato, who continuously share everything from vacation hotspots for the summer to hidden gems around the world through content that sparks a sense of adventure.

What do brands need to know about current content trends both in terms of creating their own content as well as in terms of collaborating with creators?

90 percent of people on Instagram follow a business globally, making it easier for brands to transform content into commerce by building trust with customers through their owned channels as well as collaborating with key opinion leaders and creators.

We introduced an array of tools that help brands seamlessly connect and collaborate with creators on Instagram including Branded Content Ads, Shopping from Creators, and Branded Content Tags, to name a few.

Last year, we added a new hub to the Professional Dashboard where businesses can find inspiration to spark more content ideas for those unsure where to start. Instagram users with business accounts can browse a collection of quality organic and promoted posts from other businesses in the hope it will inspire them to post their brand-specific content.

There is so much room for exploring and expanding brands’ presence online and to make that search easier, we curated guidelines and tips to help businesses amplify their growth based on their goals.

How is Instagram investing in content creators?

Creators are the heart of culture on Instagram. We’re committed to building a suite of tools to support creators’ various needs and ambitions, regardless of if they’re aspiring, emerging or established creators.

If you have an idea that you want to share with the world, you should be able to create it and get it out there easily and simply — across Facebook and Instagram — and earn money for your work. That is why we are focused on developing a range of creative and monetization tools across our platforms to support creators’ various needs and ambitions, whether they are just getting started or already have an established brand.

In 2021, we expanded the support to fund content for even more creators to produce fun and engaging content that will help them grow their personal brands and make a living. We also launched @creators as a way to reach even more aspiring creators around the world with best practices, product news, and tips & trips.

We have a dedicated creators’ page, which includes everything a creator needs to know on Instagram — ranging from trends, content tips, success stories, staying safe and earning money, to guidelines on using the most recent tools and features.

By the end of 2022, we plan to invest over $1 billion in programs that give creators new ways to earn money for the content they create on Facebook and Instagram. This investment will include new bonus programs that pay eligible creators for hitting certain milestones when they use our creative and monetization tools.

We will also provide seed funding for creators to produce their content. Our goal is to help as many creators as possible find sustainable, long-term success on our apps.

Lastly, how does Instagram moderate and monitor content?

When we find content such as a post, comment or story that goes against our Community Guidelines, we remove it from Instagram. If the content does not go against our Community Guidelines but may be inappropriate, disrespectful or offensive, we may limit it from Explore, rather than removing it from Instagram.

Our Community Guidelines define what is and is not allowed on Instagram, and they apply all over the world. They are designed to encourage expression and create a safe environment on Instagram.

To find, review and take action on content that may go against Community Guidelines, we use technology and human reviewers. Artificial intelligence technology is central to our content review process. AI can detect and remove content that goes against our Community Guidelines before anyone reports it.

Other times, our technology sends content to human review teams to take a closer look and make a decision on it. These thousands of reviewers around the world focus on content that is most harmful to Instagram users.

Anime content creators in the Middle East

User: @artistsoosa https://www.instagram.com/artistsoosa/

About: Jeddah-born Samah Kamil was the first Arab artist to receive a master’s degree in the art of manga from the Arts & Designs faculty at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. As well as being an artist, she’s also the editor of Manga Arabia, and leads and facilitates workshops covering a variety of manga-related topics.

Her work, which she posts on Instagram, illustrates Saudi culture through contemporary anime drawings, reflecting meaningful plots with relatable characters and social messages.

User: 6th__kage https://www.instagram.com/6th__kage/

About: The Saudi-based content creator is an avid gamer who merges the worlds of gaming and anime. He often cosplays his favorite character Kakashi Hatake from the manga series Naruto.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Kakashi-Gaming (@6th__kage)

User: @Paris.ae https://www.instagram.com/paris.ae/

About: Taking cosplaying to the next level, @Paris.ae presents herself as an Emirati Kawaii doll bringing anime characters to life.

 

User: @Renberryart  https://www.instagram.com/renberryart/

About: 21-year-old Reem has combined her passion for all things anime and her artistic skills to create digital art that she posts and sells through her Instagram page.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by (@renberryart)

 


Saudi advertising agency wins big at Cresta Awards 

Saudi advertising agency wins big at Cresta Awards 
Updated 5 sec ago

Saudi advertising agency wins big at Cresta Awards 

Saudi advertising agency wins big at Cresta Awards 
  • Leo Burnett Riyadh picks up 10 prizes for its work for client Ikea
  • Middle East region collects 36 awards at event to celebrate creativity in advertising and marketing

DUBAI: Leo Burnett Riyadh was the big winner at this year’s Cresta Awards ceremony, an annual event held to recognize creativity in advertising and marketing.

The agency collected five silver and five bronze awards in various categories — including Print Craft, Print and Out-of-Home, and The Media Magic Award — for its campaigns for client Ikea.

The Middle East region as a whole won 36 awards in the competition, which saw entries from more than 70 countries.

A total of 347 entries were shortlisted, of which 58 were from the Middle East.

The UAE was also a big winner thanks to its push toward digitization and innovation.

The UAE Government Media Office picked up two silver and seven bronze awards for its three campaigns: “The Donation Plate,” which promotes the “100 Million Meals” scheme, “The Warm Winter Livestream” tourism campaign and “The Visitor from the Future” for the Dubai Museum of the Future.

Advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi MEA won one gold, one silver and four bronze awards for its “Empty Plates” campaign for the UAE Government Media Office.

Horizon FCB Dubai picked up four gold, two silver and two bronze awards for its “Breakchains with Blockchain” campaign for the Children of Female Prisoners’ Association.

In Egypt, thousands of women are sent to prison every year for being unable to repay loans often worth only a few hundred dollars.

Working with global artists, Horizon FCB and the association created non-fungible tokens, each designed to tell the story of a woman sent to prison and priced at the amount it would cost to free her.

Among the other winners were Impact BBDO Dubai, which picked up a Grand Prix in the Print and OOH category and a gold award in the Ambient and Experiential category for its “The Elections Edition” campaign for Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar.

The Film House Doha won a bronze award in the Brand Content category for its “Unparalleled” campaign.
 


Saudi GCAM lists new Mawthooq advertising license rules 

Saudi GCAM lists new Mawthooq advertising license rules 
Updated 59 min 53 sec ago

Saudi GCAM lists new Mawthooq advertising license rules 

Saudi GCAM lists new Mawthooq advertising license rules 

LONDON: The Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) on Thursday released new guidelines for obtaining “Mawthooq” (trustworthy) licenses to advertise in Saudi Arabia. 

Under the campaign name “Your ad is #Mawthooq,” GCAM revealed on its website a list of questions and answers to simplify the process of identifying which businesses need to obtain the license. 

For example, an individual promoting work on a personal social media account does not require a Mawthooq license, but working as a marketer in a bank and promoting personal loans as well as banking services on social media requires a license.

Working as a designer and promoting designs on personal social media accounts does not require a Mawthooq license. Similarly, those operating gift wrapping, non-commercial photography and workshop business and using personal social media accounts do not require a license. 

The news comes following an announcement by GCAM last August stating that from early October, every Saudi and non-Saudi content creator in the Kingdom who earns revenue through advertising on social media must first apply for an official permit. 

For a fee of SR15,000 ($4,000), content creators will receive a permit lasting three years, during which time they can work with as many private entities as they wish and promote any product or service, as long as it does not violate the Kingdom’s laws or values.

The new regulations are being touted as legal protections, both for influencers and businesses wishing to advertise with them, so that rates and contractual obligations are standardized across the industry.

Saudi influencers, whether based in the Kingdom or abroad, must apply for the permit if they wish to work with a brand — local or international. However, non-Saudi residents in the country must follow a different track.

After applying to the Ministry of Investment for a permit to work in the country, they can then apply for an influencer permit through GCAM. However, non-Saudi residents must be represented by specific advertising agencies.


Female Arab influencers star in new reality show from Warner Bros. Discovery and Intigral

Female Arab influencers star in new reality show from Warner Bros. Discovery and Intigral
Updated 06 October 2022

Female Arab influencers star in new reality show from Warner Bros. Discovery and Intigral

Female Arab influencers star in new reality show from Warner Bros. Discovery and Intigral
  • ‘Dare to take Risks,’ featuring Amy Roko, Hadeel Marei and Maha Jaafar, will begin streaming on Jawwy TV on Oct. 17
  • It will follow them as they travel across Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt participating in activities such as mountain climbing and diving

DUBAI: Warner Bros. Discovery has partnered with the Saudi Telecommunication Company’s TV service Intigral to launch a new reality show, “Dare to take Risks,” starring Arab influencers Amy Roko, Hadeel Marei and Maha Jaafar.

The six-episode series will follow the three friends as they embark on a journey across Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, participating along the way in activities such as mountain climbing and diving.

“This unique project is a landmark moment within our long-standing partnership with Intigral,” said Francesco Perta, vice-president of business development and distribution for MENA and Turkey at Warner Bros. Discovery.

“We are excited for viewers to be inspired by this new generation of Arab women, with their extraordinary creativity, zest and humor.”

The show was filmed in some of the region’s most historic and distinctive locations, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Hegra in Saudi and Aswan in Egypt, as well as at the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in Dubai.

Peter Mrkic, Intigral’s chief commercial officer, said the partnership “marks a new milestone for digital entertainment in the region as it engages a group of talents from the Kingdom and the region, and the best production and broadcast technologies.

“It will also enhance the Kingdom’s position as a production powerhouse and a hub for the latest digital entertainment productions.”

The first episode of “Dare to take Risks” will be available to stream on Jawwy TV on Oct. 17, with new episodes released each week.


More or Less? Facebook gives users greater control over their feeds

More or Less? Facebook gives users greater control over their feeds
Updated 06 October 2022

More or Less? Facebook gives users greater control over their feeds

More or Less? Facebook gives users greater control over their feeds
  • New buttons will allow people to customize what they see, company says
  • Move is part of wider effort to improve AI systems

LONDON: Facebook has introduced a new set of features to give users more control over what appears on their feeds.

The changes mean that on all posts from individuals and communities that a user is linked to, including recommended posts, there will be buttons offering the options to “Show more” or “Show less.”

“Today, we’re announcing new ways to customize what you see in your Facebook Feed so you can discover what’s most relevant to you,” the company said in a blog post.

Depending on which button is pressed, the algorithm will temporarily increase or decrease related content, it said.

Facebook said the move was part of its ongoing efforts to improve its artificial intelligence systems.

“By offering more ways to incorporate direct feedback into feed ranking, we’re making our artificial intelligence systems smarter and more responsive”, it said.

According to Tom Alison, the head of Facebook’s core app, the algorithm will record the preference for 30 to 60 days, a time frame decided after a study of users’ preferences.

“We are looking at it as a signal you are giving us that is a little more time-bound than liking a post,” Alison said.

Currently, users of Facebook and Instagram — both of which are owned by Meta Platforms Inc. — can hide posts from people they follow or have been suggested, but the new feature will encompass Facebook posts from friends and recommendations.

The company said also it was trialing new ways to help users customize how much content they see in their feeds from the friends and family, groups and other pages to which they are connected.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the changes were part of the company’s efforts to compete with the surge in popularity of Chinese rival TikTok, whose recommendation-based algorithm has proven a hit for the video-sharing app.

“Features like these can help you discover more of the content that’s valuable to you, so you can see more of what you want and less of what you don’t,” the company said.

“As with every product change we make, we’ll use direct feedback to continually refine our approach.”


Prince Harry launches legal action against UK media group

Prince Harry launches legal action against UK media group
Updated 06 October 2022

Prince Harry launches legal action against UK media group

Prince Harry launches legal action against UK media group
  • ANL, also the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, said on Thursday it "utterly and unambiguously" rejected the allegations
  • There have been a number of damages claims over unlawful activity at newspapers in the wake of Britain's phone-hacking scandal

LONDON: Britain’s Prince Harry and singer Elton John are among six public figures suing the publisher of the Daily Mail over alleged unlawful information-gathering at its titles.
The others taking part in the legal action are actresses Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost, John’s husband David Furnish and Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murder victim Stephen Lawrence, the domestic PA news agency said in a report.
The six had “become aware of compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy” by Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), a statement by law firm Hamlins acting for the group said.
ANL, also the publisher of The Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, said on Thursday it “utterly and unambiguously” rejected the allegations.
Lawrence, whose son was killed in a racially-motivated attack in south London in 1993, had also lodged a claim against Rupert Murdoch-owned News Group Newspapers, publisher of various titles including The Sun and the now-defunct News Of The World.
The details of that claim are not known, but it is understood also to relate to misuse of private information.
The statement about the legal action against ANL released by Hamlins claimed that the unlawful acts alleged to have taken place included the hiring of private investigators to secretly place listening devices inside cars and homes and the recording of private phone conversations.
It also alleged that payments were made to police “with corrupt links to private investigators” for sensitive information, that medical information was “obtained by deception” and that bank accounts and financial information was accessed “through illicit means and manipulation.”
Hamlins is representing Harry and Frost, while the other claimants are represented by law firm Gunnercooke.
There have been a number of damages claims over unlawful activity at newspapers in the wake of Britain’s phone-hacking scandal.
That resulted in the closure of the Murdoch-owned News of the World.
While most of those claims have now been settled, this is the first claim to be brought against ANL.
News Group Newspapers (NGN) settled claims relating to the News Of The World, while never admitting any liability over claims made in relation to The Sun.
Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) has settled claims relating to its titles, including The People and The Sunday Mirror.
Both publishers are currently facing further claims, and have recently made attempts to bring the long-running litigation to an end.
A spokesman for Associated Newspapers said it “utterly and unambiguously” refuted “these preposterous smears which appear to be nothing more than a pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone hacking scandal concerning articles up to 30 years old.
“These unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims, based on no credible evidence, appear to be simply a fishing expedition by claimants and their lawyers, some of whom have already pursued cases elsewhere.”