A new mobile web site for Arab users is not the only new Yahoo product planned for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): another is to be launched for the Holy month of Ramadan in August.
According to reports in the Khaleej Time, Yahoo’s chief executive also says that as regional broadband penetration continues to grow, the company will invest in a video-on-demand service to deliver content from popular Arabic TV series, movies and music videos.
“When we look around the world, the Middle East and North Africa is one of the most exciting markets for us at Yahoo, with a combination of rapid user growth and a very attractive advertising market with incredible potential,” Carol Bartz, chief executive officer, Yahoo, said this week at a press conference in Dubai.
“Arabic is one of the fastest growing languages on the internet, yet only one per cent of online content is in Arabic today,” she added. “Part of Yahoo’s investment in MENA is to facilitate the growth of the Arabic language online.”
Since Yahoo acquired the Arabic portal Maktoob in November 2009, the combined reach of the company has grown from 30 million to 50 million unique users, according to Ms Bartz. Since launching the Arabic Yahoo Maktoob homepage in November 2010, it has become the world’s fifth most popular Yahoo homepage, after the US, Taiwan, India and Indonesia.
“Because our teams are local, we understand what people need and in turn develop our products accordingly to serve up the right content,” said Ms Bartz, citing the company’s offices in Dubai, Amman, Cairo, Casablanca, and Riyadh and the quality of the Arabic content they create as what differentiates Yahoo Maktoob from the competition.
This regional editorial team is to select lifestyle and religious content from its news, women, video and omg properties – as well as from other internet forums – to collate content for a special ‘Ramadan around the world, Ramadan where you are’ site in August.
Meanwhile, Yahoo Maktoob’s new mobile webpage in Arabic and English is set to be launched next week for the ever expanding number of mobile users in the Middle East and Africa, as reported in Rapid TV News on 2 June.
The company has been rewarded by a rise in its already strong hold on the regional online advertising spend. Although this amounts to just two per cent of the region’s total advertising spend, Yahoo already accounts for 40% of the digital pot.
“We envision the online ad market in MENA to reach at least five to seven per cent of the total ad market by 2015,” said Ms Bartz, according to Khaleej Times. “And with our strong agency and client relationships — along with our leadership in science, art, and scale — I am confident we’ll be there to deliver the benefits.”