Online & Social Media

Almost all internet users go online – often on a daily basis – for entertainment. Many watch online videos (both professionally-produced and user-generated) and stream or download other video content such as films, television, and sports. Some download music, and a strong subset of the population plays video games with others in online platforms. Users also enjoy passing the time online.

Most residents of Gulf states are online (96% UAE, 87% Saudi Arabia, 85% Qatar), but access drops considerably among the other countries in the study (62% Lebanon, 47% Tunisia, 36% Egypt). Overall, younger residents are twice as likely to use the internet as their older counterparts (86% under 25 vs. 40% 45 and older).   

Unlike television, where Arabic-language content dominates, English is almost as popular as Arabic for watching videos online. Half of adults who watch online videos do so in English compared to approximately two-thirds who do so in Arabic (52% vs. 69%). Interestingly, while all age groups are equally likely to watch videos in English, younger viewers (those under 25) are much more likely to also watch in Arabic than any other age group (81). 

Viewership of online videos from one’s own country is very high in Egypt, Lebanon, and Tunisia (watched by more than 8 in 10 in these countries), but few residents in Qatar watch videos from that country; even Qatari nationals are not likely to watch videos produced in Qatar (18% all Qatar residents, 29% Qatari nationals).

Four destinations account for most social network use in the countries surveyed: Facebook is the clear leader, followed by Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. More percentages for these networks are provided deeper in this chapter. More than nine in ten internet users are on Facebook in five of the six countries covered in this study. Fewer internet users are on Facebook in Qatar overall (70%), and only a third of Qatari nationals (36%). Qatari citizens are more likely to use Instagram than Facebook (46%) and as likely to use Twitter (37%).

This chapter focuses primarily on using the internet for watching various kinds of video content, and for social networking. All information presented in this chapter apart from “internet use” is among internet users only.