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Global Media Intelligence 2021: United Arab Emirates

Noteworthy in 2021

For the first time, internet users in UAE spent longer with digital video than with live TV. But social media claimed more time than both combined.

  • Digital video has now clearly surpassed the reach of live TV in UAE. Fully 95.4% of internet users ages 16 to 64 surveyed in H1 2021 had streamed video in the prior month, while 86.1% had watched live TV. The average daily time spent with digital video content (1 hour, 33 minutes, or 1:33) was also marginally greater than time spent with broadcast TV (1:29).
  • That said, a growing number of internet users watched TV shows via time-shifted options. Nearly 73% of respondents had used TV broadcasters’ catch-up or on-demand services in the previous month, and almost 70% had recorded TV programs to view later.
  • Consumption of paid-for video also jumped year over year (YoY). More than three-quarters (78.0%) of respondents had watched films, TV programs, or other video content via subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix.
  • Social networks and messaging services can hardly expand their audiences further in UAE, as uptake is near full saturation. Fully 99.2% of those polled in H1 2021 had used at least one of 37 named social platforms in the prior month, and 98.5% had used messaging services, spending a daily average of 3:16 on those combined activities. It should be noted that GWI no longer includes YouTube in its social category.


Karin von Abrams


Anam Baig
Senior Editor
Joanne DiCamillo
Magenta Fox
Senior Chart Editor
Donte Gibson
Chart Editor
Kathleen Hamblin
Chart Editorial Manager
Dana Hill
Director of Production
Erika Huber
Copy Editor
Hilary Rengert
VP, Research Strategy
Amanda Silvestri
Senior Copy Editor
Ali Young
Research Editor
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