Jordan: Increased smartphone penetration, a lack of restrictions and the changing regional media landscape are all driving an upward trend in the number of Jordanians using YouTube, experts said on Saturday.
The number of videos uploaded to YouTube in Jordan increased by 140 per cent between 2010 and 2011, while the number of views rose by 240 per cent, according to the recently released Arab Social Media Report.
The experts, who said the number of Jordanians who use YouTube grows by more than 50 per cent annually, added that the video sharing site has also become popular because it is easy to use and not censored.
"In Jordan, there are no restrictions on using YouTube. People are free to download any videos they wish from the site. They can also upload videos in a few simple steps," Ibrahim Ayyad, a social media expert, told The Jordan Times on Saturday.
Ayyad also pointed out that as more sophisticated mobile devices enable users to shoot and upload videos on YouTube easily, increased smartphone penetration in Jordan contributes to the rising number of uploads.
"Most mobile users carry devices that enable them to take videos and upload them to YouTube in seconds. People take videos of themselves at picnics, in cafés, or at gatherings and upload them," he noted.
Smartphone penetration in Jordan, where the number of mobile subscriptions exceeds 7.758 million, is currently estimated at 45 per cent and is expected to reach 50 per cent by the end of 2012, according to the Arab Advisers Group.
Another expert at a private IT company said that during the Arab Spring revolutions, when many events were documented by citizen journalists on YouTube, the site became a major news source for Arabs, driving a rise in its user numbers across the region.
"In 2011, as people from across the Arab world started uploading videos about developments in the region, YouTube became a media outlet for users across the Arab world and a main source of information," said the expert, who declined to be named.
YouTube users in Jordan said they liked the platform because it provided a space to share their own experiences with others.
"I like using YouTube. I upload videos regularly about gatherings with my friends when we hang out," Omar Sabri, 19, told The Jordan Times on Saturday.
Mohammad Ali, a sales manager at a private company, said he was "addicted to YouTube", which he uses mostly to listen to music.
"Sometimes my mother asks me to show her videos on YouTube for recipes. She likes watching videos about cooking Italian and Chinese food," added Ali, a resident of the capital's Ashrafieh neighbourhood.
The Arab Social Media Report, which covered all Arab states, indicated that 167 million YouTube videos are viewed every day in the Arab world, putting the region just behind the US and ahead of Brazil in terms of daily views.
One hour of YouTube video is uploaded in the Arab world every minute, according to the report. Source: zawya.com