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Middle East Digital Digest: July 2012


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My July round up for Digital Qatar of recent developments in the Internet and Tech space relevant to the Middle East.
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Middle East Digital Digest: July 2012

  1. 1. Digital DigestA personal take on recent Internet and Technology developmentsfrom – and/or potentially impacting on - Qatar and the Middle East Issue 2: July 2012 Damian Radcliffe Internet & Society Manager Email: Twitter: @mrdamian76
  2. 2. ContextThis digest aims to share some of the key digital developments from acrossthe Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in recent months.It also highlights some global communications developments which mayimpact on Qatar and the wider MENA region at a later date.Visit: for Volume 1 and future issues of this digest.Stories of particular interest in this second issue include a number of reports looking at the growthof data, smartphones and raft of new technology developments. It has also been a busy month forInternet Governance issues, from new domain names to “take down” reports. -------------------------DisclaimerAll content in these slides is in the public domain and referenced so that you can read the original sources.Any omissions, errors or mistakes are mine, and mine alone.Feedback, suggestions and comments are very welcome.
  3. 3. Contents Slides1. Developments from across the MENA region 4-11 • MENA fastest growing region for Internet traffic 5 • Newspaper growth slows due to online shift 6 • World mobile ad spend in 2011 was lowest in MENA 7 • In Brief: Social Media News 8 • In Brief: Content related news 9 • In Brief: Technology News 10 • “Peak Games” in the Spotlight 112. Wider Internet & Society Research 12-18 • Research: Smartphones seldom used for phone calls (UK) 13 • Youth: Impact of using mobile technology whilst driving 14- 5 • Emerging Technologies: Tablet Wars – Google and Microsoft 16 • Internet Governance: New top-level domains, Transparency 17 reports3. Coming Up – three emerging issues 18-22 • Research: The future of advertising is mobile 19 • Technology: Wearable Computing – soon to become the norm? 20 • Governance: Initiatives to discuss Internet Rights and Freedoms 21-22
  4. 4. 1. Recent developments in the MENA regionIncluding: Web traffic growth, News habits, Mobile Ad spend and News inBrief Images: and
  5. 5. 1.1 MENA fastest growing region for Internet traffic• Cisco report that Global IP traffic is anticipated to increase threefold by 2016.• The Middle East, Africa and Latin America, will lead the way in this growth.• Traffic in the Middle East and Africa will grow at a CAGR of 57% between 2011-16. - MENA will generate 836 million DVDs’ worth of traffic, or 3.3 exabytes per month.• Business IP traffic will grow fastest in the Middle East and Africa. - Anticipated CAGR of 33 %, a faster pace than the global average of 20%. Table: Global IP Traffic, 2011-2016 Image: Source: Cisco’s annual Visual Networking Index
  6. 6. 1.2 Newspaper growth slows due to online shiftPrint is still most popularmedium for reading news in the Migration from print to online has been slower inMENA according to new research the Middle East in comparison to the rest of thepublished by the Arab Media Forum. world, but this may change over time. With newspapers in the Middle East recording the lowest circulation growth rate in the past 3 years, (as shown in the table below) this trend may have already started. Read the full report via: http://www.arabmediaforum.aeAbove image:
  7. 7. 1.3 Mobile ad spend in 2011 was lowest in MENA• $5.3 billion was spent on mobile ads (from display to search to messaging) in 2011.• The Interactive Advertising Bureau reported that spend in Asia beat the other markets.• The Middle East and Africa had the smallest spend, at just $172m.The market breakdown by % is: Asia-Pacific 35.9% North America 31.4% Europe 25.9% Latin America 3.5% Middle East & 3.2% AfricaRead more:
  8. 8. 1.4 In Brief: Social Media News• Saudi Arabia is Twitter’s fastest-growing market percentage-wise month on month:• Young Emirati women started a twitter campaign called #UAEDressCode , urging foreigners to cover up in public places:• Club Penguin, Disneys virtual world for children is launching an internet safety campaign targeting 100m children and parents. Disney will support the campaigns on its TV channels, websites and magazines across the EMEA region, as well as the site itself. CEO Ilja Terebin told Techcrunch that their Q&A service is “most prevalent in Turkey, Argentina, Image and Story: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Spain”. It’s also seeing fast growth in most of South America and the Middle East. MENA users sign-up to via Facebook or Twitter, posting and sharing questions and answers across their social networks. Image and Story:
  9. 9. 1.5 In Brief: Content related news • Agence France-Presse (AFP), a French news agency founded in 1835, has launched its iPad app in Arabic. (Same as left.) • The app now offers 5 different editions: English edition, Latin America (in Spanish), Spain (in Spanish), Brazil (in Portuguese), and the new Arabic version. • AFP has 16 offices in the Near and Middle East, and describes itself as the leading news agency in the Arab-speaking world. Get the app here:•Owners of the new Nexus 7 Tablet can benefit from•At launch English content was translated to Arabic. Source:
  10. 10. 1.6 In Brief: Technology News• A designer from the U.K. has created a prayer mat that lights up when it faces Mecca, known as EL Sajjadah. (“EL” stands for Electro Luminescent and “Sajjadah” meaning prayer mat) See: • Google announced new features to its Chrome Web Store, a store for free and paid web-based apps and browser extensions for the Chrome browser. This includes a section with apps that work offline to its store. • Google also announced it is bringing the Chrome Web Store to 6 new countries: Turkey, Ukraine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UAE. • Boomerang, the scheduling software for Gmail , is now available for all 57 Gmail-supported languages, including Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Try it here:
  11. 11. 1.7 Peak Games in the Spotlight• Peak Games, a gaming company focused on Turkey and the MENA is now the world’s No. 3 social-gaming company in terms of daily active users (DAU), with 9.4m daily players.• Peak creates culturally-relevant social games, in contrast most big social-gaming companies simply translate Western games into other languages.• With c.200 employees in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, all but one of their games are available only in Turkish and Arabic.• Popular games include Okey (18m users) and Happy Farm, the world’s No. 2 farm game, after Farmville. “In the Turkish version, the farmer is not covered, while in our Arabic version there is a Saudi man with a cultural outfit.” “We don’t have cowboys or American horses.” Rina Onur, Chief Strategy Officer “Peak has no plans to make its locally targeted games available in Image:, as they don’t hold the same relevance for Western cultures.” Business Week
  12. 12. 2. Internet & Society: External Research Update Smartphones, texting whilst driving, tablet wars and new top level domainnames Images: and
  13. 13. 2.1 Internet & Society: Societal ImpactUK: Smartphones seldom used for phone callsThe UK’s largest mobileoperator O2 publishedresearch which showsthat making calls isonly the fifth mostpopular reason forusing a smartphone.The averagesmartphone ownerspends more than twohours each day usingthe device, with moretime spent surfing theweb, checking socialnetworks or playinggames than makingphone calls.Source:
  14. 14. 2.2 Internet & Society: Youth• Research from the US shows the impact of people using mobile technology whilst driving – a problem familiar to us in Qatar and the MENA.• 13% of drivers aged 18-20 in crashes admitted to using their phone at the time of the crash.• Many cite the behavior of adults doing this as a reason for this being Source:
  15. 15. The law aside, potential solutions introduced in the US include:
  16. 16. 2.3 Internet & Society: Emerging TechnologiesTablet Wars – Google enters the fray, as do Microsoft• Google announced its first tablet, the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet priced at $199 for 8GB of storage and $249 for 16GB. It was developed in partnership with Taiwanese firm Asus. • PC World noted that Amazon, Lenovo, Research In Motion and Barnes & Noble also offer $199 tablets. “At only $200, the Nexus 7 is a steal.” “Its elegant, its easy to use, and its hands down the best tablet in its sub-$200 class. But that alone wont be enough to launch Google past Apple, or even Amazon, in the tablet space” Bloomberg report that Apple plans to debut a cheaper, smaller (7-inch) iPad by the end of the year. See:• Whilst Microsoft have unveiled “Surface” a new Windows 8 based tablet with a built-in stand and keyboard built into the screen cover. Launch date and price are still to be confirmed. Images: and
  17. 17. 2.4 Internet & Society: Internet Governance• ICANN, the non-profit that oversees the Internet domain address system announced the full list of submissions for new internet address endings , which included .doha• Currently, there are 22 global top-level domains (gTLDs) such as .com, .net, .co, or .org• This figure will quickly change, with ICANN receiving over 1,900 applications for 1,409 new domain suffixes such as .google, .news, and .blog. View the full list:• Google published its latest Transparency Report which includes numbers of removal requests received from copyright owners or governments as well as user data requests from government agencies and courts. Dorothy Chou, Senior Policy Analyst at Google commenting on the increased number of requests for content to be removed wrote: “It’s alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect—Western democracies not typically associated with censorship.” See:• Twitter has also published its first transparency report, receiving 3,378 " takedown" notices so far this year. The network removed 38% of the requested tweets. Report:
  18. 18. 3. Coming Up – three emerging themesMobile advertising Wearable Internet Rights & Computing Freedoms Images:, and
  19. 19. 3.1 Internet & Society: Societal ImpactThe future of advertising is mobile•Writing in The Atlantic, Derek Thompson noted that US audiences: “…Spend more time engaging with mobile devices than reading print. But print publications still get 25-times more ad money than mobile… There is still a huge gap between the rapid adoption of mobile and the budgets assigned to it.” But he thinks this will change. “Imagine a world in the next 2-3 years, where smart phones are in the hands of every consumer and tablet sales will exceed PCs. It will be a world where global internet users will double, led by mobile usage. At that time, mobile will no longer be a support medium, it will be THE medium.” Source:
  20. 20. 3.2 Internet & Society: Emerging Technologies Wearable Computing – soon to become the norm? • At their I/O Conference Google announced Project Glass, Internet- connected glasses which will be available to the public from 2014. • If you can’t wait until then, Google has said that I/O attendees can buy a $1,500 “explorer’s version,” which will ship next year. • The glasses contain a camera to collect photographs or video, as well as a number of tools needed to determine location and direction. It has also microphones for collecting sound, a speaker to relay audio and uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.Image: • Product manager Steve Lee told Wired that they weighed about the same as a pair of sunglasses and gave examples of how he hadSee a 2’30” demo: used the product whilst cycling to capture content to share withSee a 2’30” demo: friends and to receive SMS messages. Wired: Do you think this kind of technology will eventually be as common as smart phones are now?And the live “skydivingAnd the live “skydiving Lee: Yes. It’s my expectation that in three to five years it will actually look unusual and awkward when we view someonedemo” launch here:demo” launch here: holding an object in their hand and looking down at it. computing will become the norm. Wearable See:
  21. 21. 3.3 Internet Governance: new initiatives to discuss Internet Rights and FreedomsAmerican Congressman Darrell Issa has published a Digital Citizens Bill of Rights askingfor people to “comment, criticize and collaborate” in refining the draft (published below).• Freedom - digital citizens have a right to a free, uncensored internet• Openness - digital citizens have a right to an open, unobstructed internet• Equality - all digital citizens are created equal on the internet• Participation - digital citizens have a right to peaceably participate where and how they choose on the internet• Creativity - digital citizens have a right to create, grow and collaborate on the internet, and be held accountable for what they create• Sharing - digital citizens have a right to freely share their ideas, lawful discoveries and opinions on the internet• Accessibility - digital citizens have a right to access the internet equally, regardless of who they are or where they are• Association - digital citizens have a right to freely associate on the internet• Privacy - digital citizens have a right to privacy on the internet• Property - digital citizens have a right to benefit from what they create, and be secure in their intellectual property on the internet Source:
  22. 22. Elsewhere, organizations and individuals arebeing asked to sign up to – and discuss – aDeclaration of Internet Freedom.“We believe that a free and open Internet canbring about a better world. To keep the Internetfree and open, we call on communities,industries and countries to recognize theseprinciples. We believe that they will help tobring about more creativity, more innovationand more open societies…Let’s discuss these principles — agree ordisagree with them, debate them, translatethem, make them your own and broaden thediscussion with your community — as only theInternet can make possible.”
  23. 23. Thank you for reading.Comments, suggestions and feedback for future digests are welcome. Damian Radcliffe, Internet & Society Manager Email: Twitter: @mrdamian76 Tel: +974 44993612