Saudi Arabians will soon be able to watch YouTube videos directly from their televisions, thanks to a new partnership between Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Google Saudi Arabia. The partnership will bring an interactive television service called Invision, to customers, letting users search for and watch YouTube videos directly from their TV sets, no computer involved.
This is pretty cool for Saudi Arabians, and sure to draw tons of enthusiasm. According to The Next Web Middle East, “YouTube is the second most visited site in Saudi Arabia, after Google Saudi Arabia.” Google MENA director Arimr Kesisoqlu said, “More than 100 million Arabs log on to the YouTube network every day, and about 11 million users go online at an average of 136 minutes per day representing 40 percent of the Kingdom’s population.”
TNW writer Nancy Messieh points out the fact that, “In the wake of Saudi women taking to the streets and sharing their driving experiences on YouTube, it certainly is an interesting move on the part of Google Saudi Arabia to launch this service now.” I couldn’t agree more—it certainly is interesting.
When we’ve seen YouTube and other social networks used for similar protests in other countries, the social networks in question have often times been blocked, as in the Iranian elections of 2009 and recent protests across the Middle East. Here, a Middle Eastern country is actually making YouTube more accessible to citizens, despite the fact that it has recently been used as a tool for revolution.
What do you think about YouTube coming to Saudi Arabian televisions? And if you are in Saudi Arabia, will you be watching?
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.