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YouTube Space Dubai: A new home for creators in the Middle East and North Africa

By Dana Baddar

YouTube Space Dubai Manager

Creators are the heartbeat of YouTube. They make it the platform where more than one billion people around the world come to laugh, learn, and think. Over the past few years we watched as Arabic content on YouTube evolved to span hundreds of channels followed by millions of people. This transformation was spearheaded by a diverse and growing community made up of creators from almost every corner in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Today, I am proud to announce that this community now has a new home in the YouTube Space at Dubai Studio City, a facility dedicated to them and all their production needs. 

One of the things we’re proudest of at YouTube is that this is a platform where experiments are born. Some fail to take off, and some move on to position themselves to be part of popular culture such Saudi wives making hilarious sketches about everyday life or powerful social experiments that tell important stories. This appetite to experiment with new formats of storytelling and narratives is something we want to support, and the Space is our way of celebrating this creativity. 

The Spaces program is designed to have something to offer all creators. Channels just starting out on YouTube with more than 1,000 subscribers will be welcome to sit in on workshops and events we will be holding at the Space. Creators that passed the 10,000 subscriber mark will be able to book the Space’s studios and production equipment. 

YouTube Space Dubai is the 10th Space in the world after London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, Mumbai, Toronto, Paris, Berlin, and Sao Paulo. Since the first Space opened in 2012, we’ve had more than 400,000 people visit us to attend events, workshops, or to make their videos. 

The Space comes at an important time for the Arab world as it experiences an increase in the number of channels uploading from MENA countries by 160% in the past three years. Today, there are over 30,000 channels with more than 10,000 subscribers.

Another big indicator of how far we’ve come is the fact that there are now more than 200 channels in MENA that crossed the million subscriber mark, with 1 in every 4 creator channel being female-led. Five years ago, MENA had less than five million-subscriber channels, and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. 

Over the next couple of months, slots will be limited while we work with creators to study the needs of the local community to best provide the programmes and tools and ensure we provide the best support we can to our visitors. Creators will be able to book their production slots by early June. 

To all the creators out there, start thinking of what your next video is going to be about. You might just shoot it at the YouTube Space at Dubai Studio City where we look forward to welcoming you and your ideas.