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The Dubai PodFest — Examining the future of Podcasting in the MENA region

Mon 15 Nov 2021    
| 3 min read

DUBAI: Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, Dubai PodFest, the first event of its kind dedicated to podcasting in the region, discussed the future of podcasting in the Arab world and the massive opportunities in the sector.

Held at the Dubai Press Club, the event brought together more than 200 prominent podcasters and audio content creators, in addition to leading organisations in the sector.

The inaugural edition of the event, which was organised by DPC, tackled a range of topics including engaging and attracting subscribers, measuring performance, challenges, and opportunities for content creators, and the growth of the MENA podcast market. Dubai PodFest 2021 also highlighted the experiences of various podcasters from across the Arab world and discussed their roles in promoting positive content and inspirational stories.

During her opening speech, Mona Al Marri, President of Dubai Press Club, welcomed the participants to the event and said, “The Dubai PodFest reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, over two decades ago to establish DPC as a platform for advancing Arab media development.”

She added, “As part of our efforts to support Dubai’s vision to embrace the latest advancements in the media sector, DPC is keen to support the development of the Arab podcasting sector and enhance its reach and impact globally. Events like these are critical for generating new insights on accelerating the sector’s growth in the region.” Al Marri stressed the importance of strengthening the growth of the sector and further enhancing the quality of podcasting content in the region.

During the event, she announced the launch of Dubai Edition, a podcast programme that will host officials from the Government of Dubai as well as various figures from the cultural and creative sectors who will share inspirational stories from Dubai.

Maitha Buhumaid, Director of DPC, also delivered a speech during which she expressed her appreciation to the participants and said that Dubai PodFest has been able to provide an enriching platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences between participants in the podcasting industry. She expressed the hope that these discussions can continue in the future in order to support the digital transformation of the Arab media industry. DPC is committed to working with leading organisations and platforms to support the development of audio content on podcast platforms, she added.

Participants in the first session of the event, titled ‘The Future of Podcasting’, discussed ways to widen the audience for podcasting and the challenges facing podcasting in the region, such as being able to monetise podcasts.

During the session, speakers highlighted the importance of using the right tools when producing podcasts and keeping the content fresh in each episode in order to keep attracting more listeners. Participants also pointed out the need for podcasters to develop their storytelling skills, focus on quality and share insightful information from credible sources.

During a second panel discussion titled ‘New Avenues for Content Creators’, participants shared their insights on the opportunities available for content creators in the MENA region, enhancing the diversity of music content on podcast platforms, as well as the impact of the global pandemic on the consumption of digital music and entertainment.

The session shed light on how companies can take advantage of massive growth opportunities in the podcasting sector and how content creators can increase their subscribers and monetise their podcasts.

The third session titled ‘Podcast Platforms’ discussed the distribution of ad revenues among podcasters and podcast platforms and the key marketing tools available to maximise reach and income. The session also examined what podcast platforms offer content creators.

Participants in the session pointed out that the Arab podcast industry has great potential for growth and that investing in good content and understanding the needs of audiences is crucial in order to succeed in podcasting.

On the sidelines of the event, podcast network and cultural consultancy Dukkan Media announced the launch of a podcast about Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) titled ‘Show Me Your Wallet’. To be hosted by Co-founder of Dukkan Media Reem Hameed, the first of its kind podcast in the MENA region will share weekly highlights of the NFT world in a short and fast format.

As part of the event, several leading organisations and content creators set up their equipment to podcast live from Dubai PodFest. Al Arabiya and Sky News Arabia were among the prominent media companies that podcast from DPC.

Dubai Press Club also organised different activities related to podcasting on the sidelines of the event.


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