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New report from The National Research Group and Snapchat shows vertical video ‘key to reaching KSA consumers’

As consumers in KSA continue to spend more of their time online, Snap Inc. has released a new report that captures the evolving role of mobile video in next-generation consumers’ lives.

Snap Inc. commissioned The National Research Group, an independent market research company, to conduct a study to learn how Gen Z and Millennials are engaging with this rising form of entertainment, and what to expect as we enter a new era of mobile-first experiences.

The new study examines how demand for TV-quality mobile content is growing faster than ever thanks to soaring consumer demand for high production values, immersive storytelling and shared cultural moments that are made for mobile and shot in vertical display.

The study shows that nearly all consumers tune into some form of video on their phones daily, and 87% of consumers are watching more video on their smartphone than a year ago. Premium mobile video, once seen as an ‘extra’, now creates TV-like moments, powered by the intimacy of a smartphone, with 90% of consumers saying full length TV or video series are too much of a time commitment for their busy lives. 96% of those surveyed say video that fills the screen vertically feels more personal and 94% say it feels more immersive.

Outpacing other markets, consumers in Saudi Arabia are spending 4 hours and 5 minutes on their mobile phones for entertainment, compared to the average 1 hours and 58 minutes spent watching TV per day.

Consumers are turning to short-form video to watch on their own terms, matching their schedules and time commitments. 94% of Gen Zs and 96% of Millennials say short-form premium content fits well into their days, with 92% of Snapchatters agreeing that short-form premium video content makes them feel like they’re part of a community.

Since the pandemic, media consumption has increased across every screen type. Covid-19 is accelerating trends for mobile as the report finds consumers are spending double the amount of time watching mobile video as they do with TV, and 45 minutes more than on desktops, laptops or tablets in 2020, with mobile viewing projected to continue growing in the coming years.

Providing a sense of togetherness and authentic interactions to its users, Snapchat is ranked as the number one app that makes users feel connected to others, outperforming all other social video platforms. This has been obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 94% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers saying mobile video has helped them cope with new anxieties and to stay connected with loved ones while physically apart.

With mobile video viewership outpacing other platforms for share of media time (eMarketer, Global Digital Video 2020*), long gone are the days where mobile video is simply a time filler. Unsurprisingly, Gen Z has driven this shift and it’s not just about entertainment. According to the study, more than 9 in 10 consumers turn to short-form premium content to get their news fix and to participate in the conversation.

Discover, Snapchat’s content platform, was launched in MENA in 2017 as a place for its community to be both informed and entertained by professional storytellers. In 2018, Snap expanded its partnerships in MENA with a host of regional media publishers, expanding the local content already available, where Snapchatters in the region can see content from some of the best content creators such as MBC Group, Rotana, Saudi Broadcasting Authority, Sayidaty, UTURN, and many more.

Hussein Freijeh, MENA Regional Director, Snap, said: “We have seen a drastic shift in how people choose to communicate and consume media and mobile video has become at the forefront of storytelling. From brand communications to entertainment, digitally native populations turn to mobile content to connect with their favorite brands and to stay abreast of what’s happening in the world around them. With mobile media proving more popular in Saudi Arabia than any other medium, now is the time for brands to transition into an exciting new space that offers higher engagement and better payoffs.”

Walid Karam, Senior Digital Manager, Rotana, said:“Staying relevant requires an adaptive approach to media distribution. Different generations of viewers will have their preferred methods of connecting with our content. Platforms such as Snapchat enable us to extend our reach to Gen Z and Millennial users, who represent the majority of Saudi Arabia’s population. We have seen immense success using Snapchat to broadcast short videos.”

Bilal Hallab, Regional General Manager, Uturn, said: “Our data analysts are constantly studying the behavior, psychometrics, and responsiveness of our audience in order to produce better performing content. We believe that digital first, and social in its heart, is the best strategy to adopt in order to maximize reach in a region dominated by Gen Z and Millennial populations – 90% of whom think that watching a full-length TV or video series is ‘too much of a commitment’. These are young people who have grown up with social media; it is more natural to them to log onto a platform such as Snapchat to get the latest news than it is to pick up a newspaper. They want a personalized experience that will place the content they want first and foremost, which is why Uturn has fully embraced social-mobile content as one of the strongest means of building engagement.”

Anas Bukhash, Owner, Bukhash Brothers, said: “Each digital platform has its unique charm in terms of the type of content it hosts. Long-form videos are powerful in storytelling while short-form videos that are viewed on mobile devices on platforms like Snapchat are exciting and dynamic. Sometimes, by keeping things simple and concise, the viewer is more engaged and committed. We get to the point quickly and directly.”