Systematic, comprehensive, and reliable data about media industries in the MENA region are rare, and those that do exist are often not publicly available. This is why the information presented here is a collection of vetted official data, figures collected by media monitoring companies, data reported by media enterprises, raw data provided to us by media enterprises, our own individual tallies, and interviews with industry leaders and insiders with unique insight and knowledge of the subject matter.
We investigated the media industry in two samples of countries:
- In five focus countries that best represent cultural similarities and differences within the Arab world – the UAE, Saudi Arabia (the KSA), Qatar, Lebanon, and Egypt. The UAE, Lebanon, and Egypt are often hubs for media and their content in the region. The KSA is the biggest market in the region by many measures. Qatar was included as the location of our university and of the media scene most immediately relevant to NU-Q, its administration, faculty, and students. But our interest in this country is not simply a parochial one. Qatar is also a venue with one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the Arab world – and internationally. In our five focus countries, NU-Q’ has conducted surveys since 2013 to gauge detailed information about how inhabitants use and evaluate media and communication channels of all sorts. .
- Whenever possible, we also present information about the MENA region as a whole. It includes nine countries in addition to our five, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Libya, and Yemen.
For the collection of much of the data for this report, we worked closely and interactively with Monitor Deloitte, Dubai. Deloitte’s task was twofold:
1. To assemble the most recent information about the media and communication industries and, whenever possible, recent trends. The data collection process started and took shape through a list of fundamental questions put together by NU-Q and DFI after consulting with internal and external experts, including those at Monitor Deloitte.
2. Once best available data were collected for each subject area, NU-Q and DFI vetted the materials and, in conversation with Deloitte, planned and executed a program for updating and verifying existing data, gathering or producing new data through interviews, making special requests for information from companies and individuals, and production of previously nonexistent or unavailable information.
Analyzing, interpreting, and structuring the final data for the report was led by NU-Q, in close consultation with DFI (primarily for film-related chapters) and Monitor Deloitte. Monitor Deloitte also conducted a final fact-check of content in all chapters except for Independent Film – the only chapter for which they were not involved in any of the data collection.
Methodologies used for data specific to individual chapters are discussed in the notes sections of those chapters.