Dubai: Social media company Snap has signed new deals with 20 local media brands to publish its daily stories and shows in content channel known as Discover.

The platform is strengthening its presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region after opening an office early this year.

The new partners include 7awi, Abu Dhabi Media (ADM), Al Aan TV, Al Arabiya, Discovery Inc, Dubai Media Inc (DMI), Group, Gulf News, Hia Magazine, ITP Media Group, Kooora, Loolia, Lovin Dubai, MBC Group, Online Lifestyle Network FZLLC, Rotana Media Group, Step Group, Trend For Digital Communication, UTURN and Vice Arabia.

The 20 partners in the Middle East will be bringing over 32 shows as well as four publisher stories to the platform.

Rami Saad, head of international content partnerships at Snap, said that Mena is a very engaged content market for Snap.

“It is not entirely true that Snap is targeted only at youth but what we really see are content from a wide range of demographics, especially in Saudi Arabia. Snap has over nine million daily active users in Saudi Arabia, and one million daily active users in the UAE. In the region, Snapchat has over 12 million daily active users,” he said.

Local content first arrived in the region in May 2017. Discover was introduced globally in 2015 with 18 partners and now it has over 100 partners globally.

“We have published over 600 stories and over 7,000 snaps since May last year in Layalina Discover channel. We got more than 11 million unique views but to reach that number in other platforms, it took us many years,” said Anas Abbar, Chief Executive Officer of 7awi.

He said that about 25 per cent of 7awi’s total revenues come from Snap.

Saad said that Mena is the fifth market Snap is making an announcement after UK, Ireland, Norway and France on Monday.

“Discover is a closed environment and we invite content providers to join and we select whom we want to work with. Building a sustainable business model is important to us. Monetisation is going to be enabled from the day one in all of the formats we are launching,” he said.

Snap is going to launch a new ad format — commercials — an unskippable video of six seconds message by the first quarter of next year.

Between April and September this year, he said that its daily viewership on professionally created content from media companies has increased 56 per cent and a 54 per cent increase in time spent in Discover.

Apple disclosed earlier this year that they saw one trillion photos taken with iPhones each year but Saad said that more than three billion Snaps are created every single day on the app globally and over one trillion Snaps created annually.