The Daily Q

Sadeem, Al Jazeera’s new digital initiative

Mariam Al-Dhubhani, Staff reporter

Photo: Mariam Al-Dhubhani

 

Al Jazeera launched its brand new digital initiative, Sadeem, on Dec. 1. Sadeem is like the “Arab Idol” of Al Jazeera but with a focus on social media and creation of entertaining and informative content to engage the most number of viewers.

“In the world of digital influencers, Sadeem is a competition to discover and nurture the next generation of Arab influencers,” said Mohamad Zaoud, head of digital growth for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Al Jazeera Media Network, at Northwestern University in Qatar on Sept. 12.

“People will be flying in for 10 weeks to compete and do a set of challenges, and the winners will be those who can get the most views online,” he said.

Sadeem is AJ’s biggest digital investment in 2017, targeted at generation Z–people aged between 15 and 25. As the new digital brand, Sadeem aims to create a network of young social media influencers from across the Arab region. AJ is trying to create an ecosystem of influencers that can carry their values in the marketplace, he added.

The expected number of competitors is 5,000 to 10,000 Arab social media influencers. Twenty finalists will get the opportunity to compete live. The nine most-viewed influencers from around the Arab region with the most social media engagement will be selected as winners and receive support to continue producing content.

Some students at NU-Q played a role in Sadeem’s initial planning stage. Sadeem’s team worked with a strategic communications class in the spring 2017 semester under faculty member Ilhem Allagui to help carry out market research for the brand. The students explored Sadeem’s targeted audience’s media habits and social media usage. Their research evolved around figuring out how to raise awareness of Sadeem once it launches.

“It is great to see that Sadeem has developed significantly since last spring,” said Ilhem Allagui, associate professor in residence in the journalism and strategic communication program at NU-Q.

NU-Q students expressed interest and concern for the project. “I am in fact worried about people who don’t already have a platform and have nothing to apply with, but are actually still just as passionate and just as looking forward to be a part of the social fever,” said Ömer Alaoui, a communication sophomore at NU-Q.

Omaima Es-samaali, an NU-Q alumnus who graduated in 2017, accompanied Zaoud to the event at NU-Q as AJ’s associate engagement producer. “The aim is to go from a zero to a hero. It is not an opportunity that comes around on the daily basis,” she said. “If you have a dream of becoming a social media influencer in the Arab region, just go for it.”

Sadeem’s content will be in Arabic, but Al Jazeera also plans to launch a similar platform in English and a third one targeting Southeast Asia in the future, Zaoud said. Facebook, Arabs Got Talent, Master Chef, The X Factor, and Star Academy are some of the names Al Jazeera is partnering up with to create this project.

Sadeem’s advertising has started in October and now the application is available on the website. After filtering all the applications, the finalists will go live in mid-March, he said.

“Sadeem is an interesting and promising venture that will be launched in a critical time in the region—time of division and conflicts,” Allagui said. “It may be an opportunity to bring the youth from across the region together and have them engage in a positive way around meaningful messages.”

 

 

 

 

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