Customised Media Content influences Arab Audiences in an hour


Social Media Outlets Major Influencers in Creating Focused Arabic Content

Customized media targeting specific audiences and countries are the need of the hour to enhance media credibility and dynamics for delivering better quality news and analysis, according to RawanDamen, Producer and Director, Programs Department, Al Jazeera TV.

In western media, customized media outlets already exist reporting on relevant local subjects while in the Arab region, media has been used as vehicles for communicating government policies and objectives.

Damen’s comments came during the workshop titled ‘Media Content, More Personal, More Interactive’on the first day of Arab Media Forum 2011.

The workshop deliberated on the substantial changes that are occurring in content creation in an effort to come closer to the issues that interest target audiences. Social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are already making an influence in creating more personalized content for Arabic audiences.

The transformation and growth of huge media organisations that have started to customize their programmes and introduce avenues for greater public interaction was also discussed.

In addition to examining the way in which traditional media is dealing with the changes and the creation of competition between different media outlets, especially satellite TV channels, experts at the session expressed concerns over the development of local programmes that find favour with the target audience, even at the cost of neglecting other news, however important.

Wael Attili, Co-founder, Chief Creative Officer, Kharabeesh Network, said: “Changes in the Arab world have influenced customized media, reflecting beliefs and convictions of the people in the region. Even our channel has changed and adapted to the new developments through our presence on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.”

The workshop discussed the shift the Arab media is witnessing to become the most interactive avenue, sidelining content from general issues and topics to specialized news. The rapid stride towards the phenomenon of ‘media proximity’ in response to the broad and diverse public demand was also analysed.

Sajed Al-Abadi, Writer, Al JaridaNewspaer, Kuwait, said: “Local media are now beginning to take interest and have already shifted towards customization of news. Social media is an influence but cannot be treated as completely customized as platforms such as Facebook or Twitter can be only used for individual interests.

“Today, there are different Arab environments that have people who want to interact with the global audience. Even if there are local issues, it requires a voice that can be heardon platforms like Twitter. Individuals are beginning to realize that they are able to influence communities with the same power of a newspaper or TV channel.”

The role of smart platforms that combine television with internet such as those launched by technology companies Google and Apple was also highlighted by the experts. The workshop focused on how these two companies have facilitated the opportunity to receive visual and audio content with search and browse options in both television and the internet, in addition to linking television and social networking.

Giorgio Unganiasaid: “Younger generation don’t read newspapers or watch television; however, they use mainstream media. There are also local broadcasters giving themselves an upliftment and embedding new features. This is not working very successfully as they have to move to new platforms and technologies. Students today are keen to access content but want to do it differently.”

The Arab Media Forum, which is now in its 10th edition,has attracted representatives and editors-in-chief of television, radio stations and newspapers, as well as columnists, researchers and students of different media majors from across the world and the Arab region.


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