Video Livestreaming to Power the US$2.1 Billion Creator Economy Through 2025 Across the MEA Region

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Over 6.6 billion social media apps were downloaded to date across the MEA region

Consumers are expected to spend $2.1 billion via social apps by 2025

Riyadh – KSA –  Video livestreaming is fuelling user growth, engagement and consumer spend within social apps, according to mobile and data analytics platform App Annie. $78 billion is forecast to be spent in social apps through 2025 globally – of which $2.1 billion is projected to be spent from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region during 2025 – accelerated by consumer spending in apps and the model of directly incentivizing content creators for their work.

The report looked at Social, Communication, Photo & Video and Entertainment App categories. It includes analysis by App Annie Intelligence that illustrates consumer shifts towards authentic, engaging experiences as apps with livestreaming features rise to the top 10 rankings worldwide.

Championing A Creator Economy

Livestreaming features such as real-time chats, multi-guest rooms and virtual incentives have paved the way for creators to boost engagement within social apps, leading to increased consumer spend. The report estimates that consumer spend across the MEA region is expected to reach $1.1 billion in 2022 – rising to $2.1 billion in Annual Spend by 2025 – an increase of almost 100 percent.

“Livestreaming is the new frontier of social media, and it is creating real economic value,” said Lexi Sydow, Head of Marketing Insights, App Annie. “Our report shows that while heavyweight social media apps continue to command a sizeable portion of the market, new trends such as video, livestreaming and the creator economy are set to change the industry forever.  Livestreaming is the new social language that facilitates real connections and authentic experiences with the community. We see livestreaming fuelling the boom in the social media space with the potential for tremendous growth in the next five years.”  

The key to the monetisation strategy is the emergence of the creator economy – where users can compensate their favourite creators by providing them with in-app incentives. Globally, two regions dominate this economy; consumers in the United States and Japan spent more than $1.5 billion in social apps in the first half of 2021. In the MEA region though, Saudi Arabia is ranked 4th for consumer spend in social apps during H1 of 2021, followed by Kuwait that was ranked at 11 and the UAE at 20.

Bigo Live, a popular livestreaming app, has greatly contributed to the growth of the creator economy. The app has retained its position as one of the top social apps – ranked 5th in the first half of 2021 in the world, moving up two spots from 2020.

“The live streaming industry within the MEA region has seen significant growth over the past few years. Social livestreaming apps such as Bigo Live have provided people with an alternative platform where talents and passions can be transformed into a full-time career. Our fundamental goal is to enable everyday people to livestream anytime and anywhere, and connect them to the world,” said Mike Ong, Vice President, BIGO.

Over the past year, over 500 Bigo Live broadcasters have become superstars by surpassing one million fans globally.

In fact, earlier this year, at BIGO’s Annual Gala Awards, Sultan Khalid, a talented content creator and live broadcaster from Saudi Arabia, has won the award of ‘Top Regional Broadcaster’ on BIGO Live.

Commenting on his win, Sultan Khalid said: “It is such a privilege to be recognized as a top regional broadcaster on one of the world’s fastest growing social media platforms. I truly hope that more people can see how this excellent platform enables me to show my talents to the audience both in the Middle East and across the world.”

Time spent on livestreaming apps outpace chat, photo and video social apps

The time spent on social apps has maintained steady growth over the past three years. In the first half of 2021, 49 billion hours were spent in social apps within the MEA region. Furthermore, it was also revealed that live streaming is driving growth in engagement for social apps, which sets them up for consumer spend.

Live streaming bridging the gaps between culture and society

Social apps continue to show high demand globally, regionally and locally. Within the MEA region, based on data from 2010, a total of 6.6 billion social apps have been downloaded to date.

Within the MEA region, it is widely known that people view live streaming as an opportunity to create connections by sharing cultures of people from all walks of life. Many creators took to livestreaming to host culturally relevant challenges for sports, gaming, and culturally important occasions such as Ramadan and Eid.

Video culture is certainly the future. In fact, it is entering a space in which live format videos will create and maintain a sense of connection through immersive multi-cultural experiences rather than simply one-way viewing.

To read the full Evolution of Social Media Apps report, visit appannie.com.

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