Netflix continues to push into MENA’s entertainment industry with OSN

The world’s leading internet entertainment service is getting a little help from the region’s leading paid subscription television services in…

The world’s leading internet entertainment service is getting a little help from the region’s leading paid subscription television services in order to improve MENA region penetration.

Created in 1997, Netflix has become the number one place for people to entertain themselves online. The company has been trying to expand into the MENA region since 2016, when they first launched the service in the region.

In order to improve their reach within the region, Netflix has partnered up with fellow entertainment hub Orbit Show Network (OSN) so “customers will be able to seamlessly access and enjoy all the best entertainment in one place.” (Maria Ferreras, VP Business Development for EMEA at Netflix)

The deal provides OSN users access to Netflix’s large content library, with OSN’s newest boxes, and will allow users the ability to pay for both services in one bill.

According to Netflix’s press release, “The deal will offer access to Hollywood movies, top TV shows, documentaries, independent films, stand-up comedy and a wide range of kid’s titles and Netflix’s critically-acclaimed original programming. Customers will also have access to exclusive series and films in Ultra HD 4K and HDR…”

It is a surprising move from OSN, who has been suffering losses since Netflix’s introduction to the region.

According to Baizat, OSN’s losses can be directly correlated to Netflix’s official appearance in the region, previously used illegally and behind VPNs.

After becoming available in MENA, people were able to officially pay for Netflix subscriptions which may have led to a 10.50% drop in subscribers for OSN.

This partnership deal is Netflix’s first real push into the MENA market, with the internet entertainment service having only two Arab created content series planned so far.


Who would the partnership benefit the most?

According to global international analytics company IHS Markit, “[Netflix and Amazon Prime Video] launched in the MENA region in 2016, but a lack of localization resulted in a relatively weak entrance, leaving [them] with just a fifth of the market in 2017. Established players, too, are struggling to rack up subscribers despite some impressive integration practices with the local telecommunication companies.”

IHS Markit stated in a separate report that Netflix would have more to gain from this partnership, stating that they were behind other competitors such as MBC’s Shahid Plus.

It went on to confirm this, “One of the major problems that Netflix is facing in MENA is the lack of partnerships and deals with telcos and pay TV operators that aids the accessibility of its service to the considerably large MENA pay TV subscriber bases.

These partnerships have the added benefit for OTT subscription services of reducing customer acquisition costs and taking the hassle out of having to collect payments in a region with low penetration of credit cards and, in some countries, even bank accounts.”

So, basically, Netflix has a lot to gain from this partnership, a big way into the heart of the MENA region.

Netflix may also help OSN out, who has been having issues with a declining customer base for a few years now, maybe a touch of Netflix will boost its numbers.


What else is Netflix doing to further penetration?

One of the greatest things about Netflix lately is their high-quality, award winning self-produced shows, movies and documentaries. The company has also expanded into other languages such as Spanish to improve penetration and content value across the world.

Netflix has been so successful with their original entertainment that they have started poaching from big name production companies, especially famous writers and directors.

Seeing their success rise with original content, Netflix has already decided to try and create localized content for the region as well.

They are already producing Beirut comedian Adel Karam’s “Adel Karam: Live from Beirut,” a comedy show centering discussing “how Lebanese people love kissing each other, their passion for food, hospital classifications, marriage advice” and more.

With Netflix, added together with rival Amazon Prime Video, having only 21% of the local market in 2017, Netflix’s new partnership and content may be exactly what they need to improve their stay.

Netflix may see that they need to create more localized content, but are they doing enough? Let us know in the comments below.

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Careem acquires RoundMenu, gunning for UberEATS?

Ramadan is coming up, and all we are going to be thinking about is food, food, and food! In what…

Ramadan is coming up, and all we are going to be thinking about is food, food, and food!

In what could be in preparation for that, ridesharing app Careem has now acquired RoundMenu, an online restaurant ordering, delivery and reserving platform based in the MENA region.

In a statement, Careem stated that the acquisition “is part of a wider investment into the food delivery category.”

RoundMenu currently has a presence in 18 cities across the Middle East, including Cairo and Alexandria, and maintains a partnership with the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor.

The acquisition was settled for an undisclosed amount.


Could Careem be gearing up for another battlefront with rideshare competitor Uber?

In the hot summers of the Arab region, many of us would prefer to order in.

This is the reason why there is an abundance of shops and restaurants willing to deliver, our growing need to stay in during the melting heat has driven demand to higher levels.

Uber has already jumped on the bandwagon by expanding their UberEATS system into the region.

Last month, Uber announced it will be releasing UberEATS to Egypt soon. The platform allows users to sign in on the app or website, scroll through partnered restaurant menus and order food from Uber.

UberEATS is currently available across more than 200 cities around the world including Dubai and Abu Dhabi. According to the company, UberEATS has been pretty successful in the UAE with orders growing by 169% in the second half of 2017.

Careem’s acquisition of RoundMenu may be a response to the news, seeing as the acquisition happened less than a month after Uber’s announcement.

Could Careem really be preparing to add food delivery to their repertoire in Cairo?

They may even be aiming to cater, through bus sharing app SWVL, from which they acquired a minority share back in July 2017. Who knows? At the very least, we know is that Careem is definitely going to try and enter the same market as Uber and Otlob, Egypt’s reigning online food delivery platform.

Careem has stated that they will be testing delivery capabilities (on small scale) later this month.

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Google launches native ad-blocker to improve Ad standards

After almost a year of preparation, Google has finally released their new native Ad-blocker for Chrome, hopefully pushing advertisers to…

After almost a year of preparation, Google has finally released their new native Ad-blocker for Chrome, hopefully pushing advertisers to improve their ad standards and quality. Google chrome will now automatically filter and disable certain ads and websites that do not adhere to their new set of rules.

Users will not have to fear bad experiences again as websites with pop up ads (with no exit/close button in sight), full volume music when opening webpages, and etc.

The ad-blocker has been in the works for almost a year now, with sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal back in April 2017. The ad-blocker will be turned on by default for all Chrome users.

This is another step for Google, who aims to ensure a better online experience for their users, and to shift the ad industry from intrusive advertising to more subtle and relevant ads.

Google and fellow internet giant Facebook are members of the Coalition for Better Ads, an international industry group that has researched the different forms of web advertising that has annoyed internet users the most.

The group has complied a list of undesirable ads, listing 12 forms of online advertising that advertisers should avoid to provide consumers with the best online experience. Unsurprisingly, the biggest offenders are in mobile.


via Coalition for Better Ads


The ad-blocking system has been rolling out for a while now, and has already caught some offenders. According to Google’s Engineering Manager Chris Bentzel, “As of February 12, 42% of sites which were failing the Better Ads Standards have resolved their issues and are now passing. This is the outcome we are were hoping for — that sites would take steps to fix intrusive ads experiences themselves and benefit all web users.”

For users, when navigating through websites, the ad-blocker will first check on the website you are about to visit, checking if it is a part of a website that had been flagged as not following the Better Ads Standards. If it is, ads will be automatically blocked.

When this happens, this is how it will look like for users.



If you’re a website developer or website owner, you can visit Google’s Ad Experience Report to find out if you need to make some changes.

Otherwise, you may receive a 30-day warning from Google about your violations. Ads will not be stopped by default until 30 days after the warning has been issued, and there have been no changes.


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#BloggerGate; how one hotel got over 4M Euros in publicity

You may or may not have heard, but BloggerGate has been washing over international media the last few days, just…

You may or may not have heard, but BloggerGate has been washing over international media the last few days, just like how Cadbury’s Aliens have taken over our newsfeeds.

Caused by a simple request for free accommodation by a young influencer and the snarkiest reply from a hotel, Bloggergate has now amassed over 4.2 million Euros in free publicity.

But, what is Bloggergate?


From the top

On Jan 16, White Moose Café and Hotel posted a Facebook post that showed a redacted email from a young influencer who was interested in the hotel. She emailed asking if the hotel would be interested in a collaboration, as most influencers do, but she wasn’t expecting this reply.


Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names),Thank you for your email…

Posted by The White Moose Café on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The hotel’s reply has been called magnificent, many stating that influencers shouldn’t ask for freebies.

The influencer’s, UK based Elle Darby, email can be seen in the photo, where she discusses her (back then) 87k YouTube followers and 76k Instagram followers. She continues with


“My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentine’s Day weekend from Feb 8th to 12th to explore the area.

As I was searching for places to stay, I came across your stunning hotel and would love to feature you in my YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation.”


Apparently, Darby did not do her research.

White Moose Café has been famous for its sharp witted social media, often getting into battles with Vegans and even an entire country on social media.

Its Facebook currently has over 180k fans, and the White Moose Café wasn’t here to play.

Although the hotel tried to keep her identity secret, people figured it out and flooded her social media. Darby soon took to YouTube to try and explain her side.


Her reaction video got a lot of backlash, even from the blogging community as well. Backlash continued on the hotel, to which they replied by banning all influencers from the café and hotel.

**ALL BLOGGERS BANNED FROM OUR BUSINESS**Following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay…

Posted by The White Moose Café on Wednesday, January 17, 2018


What’s happening now

Media outlets all over the world tried to get Paul Stenson, the owner and replier of the infamous email, to discuss things and media exposure has blown through the roof.

Stenson is definitely having fun with the attention.

Following recent events, we have added a new container to our countertop…

Posted by The White Moose Café on Saturday, January 20, 2018

I have been blocked from Twitter for Tweeting to Aldi UK a screenshot of an abusive message one of their employees sent…

Posted by The White Moose Café on Friday, January 19, 2018


Posted by The White Moose Café on Monday, January 22, 2018


The biggest thing happening now though is a PR company’s estimation of how much the free publicity that both have received would be in advertising spend.

According to ClearStory, an Ireland based PR company, BloggerGate has been written about in over 50 publications worldwide, which would have cost the influencer 4.3million Euros in equivalent advertising spend.

Well, Stenson couldn’t let the opportunity pass.

I’ll be posting out this invoice today…

Posted by The White Moose Café on Saturday, January 20, 2018


The photo shows an invoice towards the influencer, requesting payment of the 4.3 million, as well as taxes which makes it equal to 5 million Euros.

The press conference underhandedly also makes fun of President Trump, including Melania Trump.

Darby also couldn’t help herself as she released another reaction video on her channel.

So far, we’re waiting for Stenson’s next reply.


Researching before Requests

There is a lesson to be learned here for eager influencers.

Always research your target audience before trying to reach out.

Honestly, it’s a lesson all of us should know.

If Darby had done a little bit of research, she would have steered clear of Stenson’s wrath. Or maybe, just maybe, they’re in on it together?

The White Moose Café has created viral and great content gems over the years.


And even created a video, earlier in 2017, discussing how to use “Offended Snowflakes” on social media to your advantage.


If only Darby had seen it.

Either way, its been lucrative for Darby, whose YouTube channel has received over 8,400 followers since this all started. Her views have also accumulated over 2.7million views since then.

The White Moose Café has also received a lot of good will through the scandal, and will definitely get more with their brand-new t-shirts.

Paul Stenson isn’t completely bad either.

Should we follow this example?

It cannot be said that the whole situation has been bad for both parties, it’s the exact opposite.

The opportunities and free publicity from this very public, and very “savage” battle has shown that sometimes being rude or witty can get you places.

But, should others follow their example?

Could just anyone reply, as Stenson did, and receive such a boom?

Tell us your thoughts on the entire thing in the comments.

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