The New Media Academy, the first of its kind in digital media in the Middle East, has completed its first year of operations with qualitative achievements and programs that have enriched the digital economy and its strategic initiatives with qualified cadres and experienced talent. It has achieved its mission in education, training, and content development by empowering Arab content creators, qualifying creators using advanced digital life skills, and preparing a generation of strategy designers, digital experts and professional content creators in accordance with the highest international standards. It has also given creators the ability to gain financial returns, devote themselves to creative work and improve Arab digital content.
Since its launch by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on June 15, 2020, the Academy has helped to open new horizons for individuals and institutions to benefit from the opportunities of the digital economy. The academy has also helped to develop professional Arabic content in accordance with international standards and empowered creators in the Arab region. The Academy has offered a series of leading programs in Arab content creation and the development of digital skills from experts in the region and the world, benefiting thousands of trainees and participants.
On the level of training and education, More than 35,000 trainees from 46 countries participated in nine NMA programs launched in its first year, with 1.2 million educational minutes, in cooperation with more than 15 distinct influencers, experts and global academics, such as Matt Bailey, Robert Mackie and Tim Ash.
The Academy also trained more than 100 public and private institutions and offered exclusive, specialized training to more than 40 communication and marketing leaders in many government institutions, providing them with new professional digital skills to spread among the entities in which they work.
In terms of supporting Arab content creators, the academy managed, in its first year, to graduate more than 200 professional content creators from 16 countries, who tripled their number of social media followers from 660,000 to 2 million.
The Academy has also succeeded, during its first year, in attracting two million followers from the Arab region and the world, as a result of its efforts, initiatives and various programs aimed at enhancing the capabilities of digital professionals and supporting the production of professional Arabic content in the region.
Supporting the digital economy
In its first year, the Academy cooperated with a reputable group of academics and experts, as well as a selection of content creators, to prepare a new generation of digital professionals with integrated experiences and capabilities. The aim is to enhance opportunities in professional digital marketing based on knowledge and expertise and support the emerging potential of the new digital economy in the region. In some Gulf countries, the digital economy comprises just 4% of overall output compared to a global average of 22%. This creates space to provide more promising opportunities in the digital sectors and related creative industries in the Arab region.
A busy year
Rashid Al Awadi, CEO of the New Media Academy, said: “In the first year following the launch of the New Media Academy by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Academy contributed to the development of digital skills and creative industries in an unprecedented way. Our achievements led to a local and Arab creative movement that meets the Arab region’s need for digital skills and creative industries and supports strategies for a digital economy that is full of opportunities.”
Al Awadi pointed out that “the Academy has created new economic opportunities, especially in the sectors of the digital economy, in line with the promising national strategies focusing on the digital economy, developed Arab content creation, strengthened digital strategies and employed global expertise to prepare a generation of professionals capable of presenting an optimal civilized image of our region”.
The CEO stressed that the Academy’s programs produce a new generation of leaders in digital economy, creativity, innovation and technological leadership, and contribute to empowering content creators based on positivity, knowledge, mutual respect, and interaction with cultures and societies to shed light on common human interests and build bridges of fruitful communication between the Arab region and the world.
Al Awadi said: “As part of its integrated strategy, the Academy provided professional training programs in digital skills, creative content, and the development of effective digital marketing strategies, which have accelerated during the past few years, becoming an important part of the communication programs of institutions and countries.
Al Awadi added: “Our goal at the New Media Academy is to empower a group of qualified professionals in designing content strategies, managing digital platforms, and creating content in new promising disciplines, such as technology, space, medicine, sustainability and real estate development. We also provide courses and programs to prepare world-class influencers and develop the capabilities of talented creators to be able to generate independent income and devote themselves to innovation and enrich the Arabic content, which currently constitutes just 1% of the content available online.”
Al Awadi said: “The first months following the Academy’s launch witnessed partnerships with influencers who are followed by millions in the region, which enhanced their capabilities and professional expertise to gain rewarding returns and enriched meaningful and useful Arabic content. In the next stage, the Academy will continue to empower the region’s talents with digital and creative skills, tools for content planning, design and creation and platform management in cooperation with local and regional influencers and global experts. The is part of the Academy’s effort to transfer knowledge and experiences to the youth and emerging talents in the region.”
Al Awadi commended the efforts of all New Media Academy’s cadres, experts, lecturers, and trainers in enhancing the region’s capabilities in the field of digital skills, digital marketing, creative content and presenting the true image of the Arab region and its values with world-class ideas and innovations.
Stars of Arabic content
In its first year, the New Media Academy has partnered with stars of Arabic content who have millions of followers, including Mina Al Sheikhly and Lowi Sahi. It also recorded the first episodes of the “Al-Daheeh” program, whose new season was produced by the Academy and presented by Arab content star Ahmed Al Ghandour. The episodes quickly gained popularity across the Arab region.
Expertise to institutions
In addition to completing 7,000 creative items in the first year, as part of its strategy to enrich the Arabic digital content available online, the New Media Academy provides institutions and business sectors with its expertise to help them build strategies and offer various content services.
Though various strategies and programs, the Academy aims to train elite Arab content creators and help them diversify their sources of income and devote themselves to creativity by possessing skills of in-depth research, creative writing, photography, content editing and publishing, and analytics.
The program is preparing an elite group of Arab content makers and creating real opportunities to help them earn income in order to establish a culture of professional production of influential Arabic content. The program also aims to build a community of qualified Arab content makers who are able to continue with their creativity and sustain their contributions in enriching the Arabic content online.
In response to the gap in the growth rate of influencer-based digital marketing in the region, compared to the high global rates, the New Media Academy launched the “Content Hero” program, which enables talented people in the Arab region to develop professional skills to benefit from content creation in seizing digital marketing opportunities. 100 distinguished Arab content creators can bridge this gap and raise growth rates to the desired levels. The Academy also launched the second and expanded version of the “Content Hero” program, after the graduates of the first cohort achieved a growth rate of 693% in the total number of followers, exceeding 2.5 million followers in less than a year.
The “Content Hero” program, which draws on the experiences of 15 important international experts, aims to qualify an elite group of Arab content makers, develop their skills as influencers on local and global digital platforms, and give them opportunities and capabilities to pursue an independent creative career path. The program also supports the Academy’s vision to enable talents in the region to create distinguished and creative content and contribute to the advancement of Arabic digital content.
The figures of the New Media Academy indicate that one out of every five participants in its first-year programs and courses have succeeded in devoting themselves to content creation, digital marketing or social influence, and achieving financial independence thanks to their digital skills income, which increased the monthly earnings for some of them by 20%. In addition, Snapchat decided to work with one of the Academy’s content programs alongside Abdullah Al-Muhairi, which attracted millions of views from all over the Arab region and the world, with more than 10 million views in the first season only.
In its first year, the Academy recorded many success stories. Through her work with the New Media Academy, content creator Maitha Mohammed was able to double the number of her followers by 1,300% with more than 120,000 followers. The content she created on humanitarian issues recorded 5 million views and was praised by His Highness Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In cooperation with the Academy, content creator Ahmed Al Marzouqi succeeded in increasing his followers from 60,000 to half-a-million within 10 months and became dedicated to creative content.
Dr. Seif Darwish, who specializes in medical content, increased followers from zero to 160,000 on Tik Tok within just nine months of working with the Academy. And Fatima Al Hashimi, the first Emirati opera singer, has become a well-known figure on digital platforms.
The Academy launched its integrated virtual academic campus, the first of its kind in the region, which provides an immersive learning experience and employs virtual and immersive reality technologies to enable its program members to access academic and training content at any time, and to test creative concepts and ideas in an interactive digital environment.
During the inauguration of the virtual campus, the first session was presented by Charlie Fink, Forbes writer and global expert in augmented, virtual, and immersive reality applications. He gave the participants a presentation on the acceleration of the global transformation towards digital learning using virtual and immersive reality technologies.
The educational strategy of the New Media Academy during its first year also included the promotion of virtual, augmented, and immersive educational applications in vital service sectors, such as healthcare and education.
The New Media Academy’s tendency to develop and expand the uses of virtual and immersive reality in new sectors through its programs and training courses is a response to the opportunities offered by these technologies in the region and the world. Virtual and augmented reality technologies in the UAE alone are expected to contribute more than $4 billion to the local economy by 2030, or 1% of GDP.
The content of creative campaigns, which the New Media Academy took part in implementing and publishing, reached hundreds of millions of followers around the world. One of these was “The Most Beautiful Winter in the World”, which presented some of the UAE’s most beautiful landmarks and its unified tourism identity to the world.
As part of the campaign, the Academy contributed to the creation of more than 100 professional content items, which reached 100 million views around the world.
The New Media Academy is one of the leading platforms for creating creative content for social media. In April, global platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Tik Tok selected several content creators at the Academy to work with them on the development of communication campaigns dedicated to the holy month of Ramadan.
Through its knowledge and training programs based on developing skills and capabilities and facilitating the use of new tools in the creative industry, the New Media Academy aims to prepare a generation capable of creating world-class Arabic content, increasing the presence of influencers, enriching Arabic digital content, and empowering its creative personalities.
Taking into account the highest international standards and best creative practices, the New Media Academy also offers interactive programs, initiatives, courses and educational and training materials that qualify makers of professional and powerful content, in cooperation with a group of key experts, specialists and international trainers. The Academy’s programs aim to develop skills and enable creators to achieve financial returns in exchange for the content they produce and establish a culture of creating outstanding professional creative content, a pillar of new media.