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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

AJ+ Arabi on YouTube

Entered in YouTube Presence


YouTube is a world in itself that sometimes can feel overwhelming, especially for a news brand that wants to succeed on the platform. Competition is fierce, and the Arabic video market is one of the most competitive globally. It is not an easy task to carve out a space for news and current affairs among all the "TikTok trends," "YouTube challenges," and music videos. But that is exactly what we set out to do in AJ+ Arabi. We took this challenge head-on while focusing on being true to our purpose and mission.

Strategy and Execution

The cornerstones of our strategy are to be platform-native (only original, premium content, produced specifically for YouTube) and audience-centric (focusing on the stated needs of the target audience on the platform). We have also developed clearly defined audience personas.

Before we start producing any new content, we search for a cross-over between our purpose and audience needs, and in that space, we search for a market gap.

A team of four spent four months full-time researching the video market in the Arab world. We looked at more than 20 countries, analyzing both the most successful and the least successful (to learn what mistakes to avoid). The research was quantitative and qualitative and resulted in a very robust YouTube strategy. The strategy suggested multiple content verticals on separate channels, targeting different psychographic and lifestyle segments and fulfilling different brand promises. So far, we have launched three YouTube channels with their own separate identities: AJ+ Kibreet ("firestarter"), AJ+ Arabi, and AJ+ Saha.

The purpose of AJ+ Kibreet is to "ignite" young minds and empower critical thinking. It delivers episodic content about some of today's most important questions in an entertaining format. Content is produced in dialectal Arabic, which was one of the findings in the research we conducted.

The second channel, AJ+ Arabi, produces explainer content focused on current affairs and politics as well as human-focused feature stories. Topics are mostly evergreen and relatable to the target audience. The purpose of the channel is to aid understanding of the complicated events around us, both globally and locally. The content is produced in Modern Standard Arabic (Fusha) as the research showed that the audience relates that dialect to trustworthiness.

AJ+ Saha, our third channel, produces inspiring content. Currently, it focuses on exclusive episodic content with two very well-known public figures in the Arab Word – poet Tamim Al-Barghouti and Assad Taha – documentary filmmaker and journalist.


The results have been overwhelming. In 2021 alone, our YouTube channels have garnered more than 278 million views, almost 29 million watch hours, and just shy of 4 billion impressions. We have also added 970+ thousand new subscribers.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

AJ+ Arabi


Entry Credits