Arab women YouTubers get exclusive platform in new ‘Batala’ channel

The project was in response to the growing demand for female-related content on the video sharing website

Rua’a Alameri
Rua’a Alameri - Al Arabiya English
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Arab women vloggers have been given a new exclusive platform to showcase their videos in YouTube’s latest channel Batala.

The new YouTube channel Batala - the arabic word meaning heroine and can also be a refrence to a female protagonist - will be a hub that features women creators who offer content in the Arabic language in various different genres, such as comedy, education, fitness, lifestyle and beauty.

“There are eight different sections. We wanted to go for a diverse group of genres, we didn’t want to just focus on make-up and fashion,” Google’s project leader on Batala, Zain Masri told Al Arabiya English.

During a launch event held in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh on Monday, YouTube announced that Batala features more than 100 female creators from the Middle East and North Africa and already has more than 1,000 videos.

“Essentially, what we wanted to do was to showcase the top creators with huge followings and a lot of diverse videos, but we also wanted to highlight up and coming creators as well and provide them with support and to showcase their content,” Masri said.

The hub will also highlight a new list of vloggers every month at the top of the channel, Masri explained, stating that the section will be specifically for the top creators with hopes of inspiring others to “aspire to be featured more prominently, and encourage them to post more content and become part of the top group.”

The launch of the project was in response to the growing demand for female-related content on the video sharing website. According to Google, the total number of hours spent watching female-related videos has grown by 50 percent in 2015 in the region. While a recent survey showed that in Saudi Arabia, 63% of Saudi women are motivated to watch their most recent online video sensation to be entertained or inspired.

Project leader Masri explained that the event was held in Saudi Arabia as currently a lot of the content vloggers featured on the channel are from Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi contributes almost a third of the MENA Watch time – so we would see a lot of consumption from Saudi as well as a lot of creators being Saudi based so we decided to launch the event in Riyadh,” she said.

Batala currently features Saudi lifestyle YouTuber Arabia Njoud Al Shammari, Egyptian amateur film critic Enji Aboul Seoud and Palestinian travel vlogger Haifa Bseiso. It also features popular creators such as Noor Stars and Hayla Ghazal, who each have more than 2 million subscribers.

“With the continuing growth of female content creators in MENA, we want to keep the momentum going,” head of YouTube Partnerships in MENA Diana Baddar said. “The hub highlights the work of some of our best creators in the region, and showcases high-quality Arabic content to YouTube’s one billion users.”

However, the channel is not exclusive to vloggers from the region. “They don’t necessarily have to be MENA-based but the content has to be in Arabic,” Masri said, stating that Batala has already featured content from US-based creators whose content is in Arabic.

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