During the six-month training period, the creators of the programme grew their followers by 693%, totalling 2.5m followers.
New Media Academy, a platform designed to shape the future of social media by incubating next-generation digital leaders in the Middle East, has completed the second edition of its signature Arabic content creators’ programme – Faris Al Muhtawa.
This season saw more than 1,000 applications come through. It was open to all levels of content creators looking to learn the A-Z of content ideation and creation with the latest software and editing tools. From these, 50 individuals were shortlisted to undertake 1,700 hours of training which included a fully integrated system of weekly classes, assignments, feedback sessions and over 2,000 produced pieces of content to show for it!
The 12 content creators who were chosen to take their skills to career-level training, will continue their odyssey for a further three years honing their craft. Each one will be given tools such as state-of-the-art photography and videography equipment to give their content the WOW factor.
The training will be held under the guidance of some of the top global content creators such as Christian Le Blanc and EMKWAN, who will show them the ropes with best practice tips and hacks when using platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and much more. From how to produce content from conception to completion, to understanding the different needs of each platform, the 12 members will get holistic training from the ground up to set them on their professional path to be fully autonomous as content creators.
Participants in the latest edition of the programme proved their natural aptitude for putting out content and climbing the ranks as far as followers and then scoring brand partnerships because of their accelerated growth. A notable member was Ahmad AlMarzooqi (@chai_with_ahmad), who grew his followers on TikTok, going from 3,000 to 30,000 during the programme.
Meanwhile, the programme itself has achieved a 693% growth since its first edition, with the total number of followers of the participants increasing to 2.5m during the six-month programme. In its first year, the academy graduated more than 200 professional content creators from 16 countries, who increased the total number of their followers on social media by 10 times, from 124,000 to 1.3m.
Rashid Al Awadhi, Chief Executive of New Media Academy, said: “The Faris Al Muhtawa programme contributes to developing professional competencies, which has become a necessity today to meet the growing demand for digital jobs. While the market is growing exponentially around the world – some market analysts predict the industry will be worth more than $15bn by this year – it is on the decline in the Arab world. To overcome this, we are committed to sourcing and streamlining content creators who naturally excel in the digital sphere to maximise their reputation, reach and revenue.”
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, more than 40% of jobs this year will have a digital focus. Al Awadhi also pointed out that the digital economy’s contribution to regional GDP accounts for just 4%, compared with 22% globally. This situation is compounded by the fact that only 1% of all online content is Arabic.
Al Awadhi added: “The Faris Al Muhtawa programme aims to turn the tide in digital trends in the Arab region by capitalising on the UAE’s high internet penetration, which sits at a whopping 99%. Between July 2020 and July 2021, about 520m new users joined social media, which sees growth of more than 1.4m new users every day.”
He also explained that the consumption of Arabic online content is miniscule, even though there are about 182m Arab internet users. This is despite the fact that the Arabic dictionary contains around 13m words, while the language is spoken by more than 440m people around the world, and it is one of the official languages of the United Nations. A report by the United Nations stated that Arabic content on the internet represents only 1 to 3% of the total global content.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has identified the importance of digital content using four economic and social indicators. They include a rapid increase in the importance of smartphones and the internet as a tool for economic development, the contribution to providing job opportunities according to future market indicators, the creation of an important market for promoting applications and software and contribution to the global digital content industry.
“We are proud of the contributions of the Faris Al Muhtawa programme towards developing and enhancing the diverse skill set that Arab content creators need to pursue a successful career in digital media and content creation on a full-time basis. New Media Academy selects a group of participants for the program each year to join its exclusive content creation family. During the three-year incubation, participants start a new phase of development in which they join the global community of content creators. They can subsequently transform themselves into full-time content creators as an independent career path,” Al Awadhi concluded.
After the success of the second edition of the revamped Faris Al Muhtawa programme, the third edition is currently brewing. It’s set to continue to reskill and upskill elite Arab content creators by developing their talent as influential leaders in the digital sphere. New Media Academy’s efforts are supported by major global companies and platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
In keeping with NMA’s eclectic environment, a large and diverse group of global trainers and experts in the industry are participating in the programme, lending their experience. The group will train promising young talent on all they need to know to lift their careers off the ground, from content creation, screenwriting, storytelling, photography and editing. They will also polish their best practice skills in order to display the highest level of professionalism across their digital interactions.
Through practical workshops, engagement between participants and trainers, and weekly meetings for internal and external participants, the programme also emphasises the importance of building a connected community network of ambitious, talented people with similar levels of skills and passion, and who have similar hobbies and interests where they can learn and lead from each other.