Sky News Arabia has introduced mobile-friendly vertical viewing and streaming across its website, iOS and Android applications as part of its digital transformation efforts aimed at enhancing user experience. This makes it the first TV broadcaster in the region to have a live 24/7 channel output on its website in mobile-friendly vertical mode, utilizing an innovative design layout.
Research has shown that more than half of all video is now consumed on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Wissam Ayoub, Director of Operations at Sky News Arabia, said, “As a news organization, our focus is to create digital-first content so we always look at incorporating technologies that enhance our viewers’ experience, both on our screens and digital platforms. Mobile phone users hold their phones vertically most of the time and prefer to consume video in vertical mode, without having the need to rotate their devices. Videos watched vertically have a higher completion rate versus videos watched horizontally, and have been proven to be more engaging.”
Ayoub added, “Live streaming of channel output in 9:16 format is not common although it is widely used for short video clips on different social media platforms. By launching 24×7 live streaming in 9:16 format, Sky News Arabia will be the first broadcaster in this region to stream live in vertical format 24 hours a day. Should any user prefer watching in traditional horizontal 16:9, they can easily flip their mobile phones to do so on the SNA applications or select this option on the website.”
Suresh Kumar, Director of Technology at Sky News Arabia, said, “We explored the option of real-time conversion of 16:9 live stream to vertical mode using Artificial Intelligence, but found a more efficient and feasible solution that we were able to develop in-house. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our Creative, Operations, Engineering and Development teams we were able to leverage additional outputs of our existing systems to ensure an excellent vertical viewing experience.”