Jeddah-based digital content platform Uturn Entertainment is moving its head office to Dubai as part of a push to expand across the region and further afield.
“We intend to go global, like the Hispanic network MiTu in the US — we want to become the network for Arabic speakers all over the world,” said Uturn chairman and CEO Kaswara Alkhatib. The company is opening an office in Dubai Media City in January and a production office in Dubai Production City the following month.
Uturn already has an audience across the Middle East, and among Arabs in the US and Europe, but Alkhatib hopes the move will enable the platform to attract more digital creators from outside Saudi Arabia, and grow its audience overseas.
“The idea behind Uturn is to create content by the youth and for the youth, and we want to start doing that in a local context,” Alkhatib said. “You can’t look at MENA as one region. The creators and viewers are different in Egypt, Levant, Saudi and the Gulf.” The platform also hopes to attract Arabic-speaking content creators based in the West.
Uturn is the one of the top multi-channel networks (MCNs) in the region, attracting 84 million views per month. In addition to aggregating content, it produces web series such as Takki.
Alkhatib attended Dubai Film Market for a PwC panel about the future of video. Speaking about revenue models, he said: “The Arab world is different to the US in that distribution started with satellite channels and we’re used to consuming content for free. The way we see monetisation is through sponsorship, brand integration and ads.”