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10 December 2023

Youth Media Forum masterclasses reveal the key to maximising youth engagement

By E247

Experts from Netflix and TikTok share insider strategies for creating compelling content for young audiences

The sway of online content and social media among the youth found resonance in two masterclasses at the inaugural Youth Media Forum held as a prelude to the 21st edition of the Arab Media Forum.

Experts from Netflix and TikTok threw light on the larger strategies underpinning their programming and production efforts as they bid to sustain and expand their respective audiences among the youth.

Titled ‘Visual Development: From Conception to Realisation’ and ‘How to Kickstart Your TikTok Career’, the sessions focused on key elements of the strategies that the two hugely successful platforms harness to further their youth engagement.

Hamda Al Najjar, Member of the Organising Committee of the Youth Media Forum, emphasised the unprecedented opportunities that new media platforms offer for creative expression and how it is crucial to harness this potential for the greater good. "Through initiatives such as the masterclasses organised at the Youth Media Forum, we are keen to empower the youth to leverage new media and become not only prolific content creators but also productive contributors to the economy and society,” she said.

Ayesha bin Kalli, Member of the Organising Committee of the Youth Media Forum, said: “The energy and enthusiasm of the youth need to be channelled positively to build a new tomorrow. The masterclasses form part of our efforts to bring together experts from the world’s leading digital media companies to impart guidance to aspiring content creators to realise their aspirations and evolve into true trendsetters.”

The first of the masterclasses saw Edmond Laccon, Netflix’s Colour and Look Development Technologist (Europe, Middle East and Africa) elucidating the need to trigger emotions, stir associations and evoke the world of characters to connect with the youth.

The smarter the effort placed in enriching those images, the stronger the connection between Netflix’s characters and audience, Laccon said.
The session illustrated aspects like what it takes to conjure successful or ‘iconic’ visual styles, the key moments that help enrich and foster image-making throughout the production process and how it is vital to nurture positive cycles of idea-sharing between artists from early development to final grading to arrive at compelling visuals that bring in the audiences.

Zaina Khaled, the Partnership Lead for Emerging Verticals in MENA at TikTok, expanded on how those active on the platform could showcase themselves better and craft compelling stories to engage and inspire their respective audiences.

Khaled gave an overview of the TikTok ecosystem and its unique features while telling participants ways of harnessing the authenticity that TikTok thrives on and why it was crucial for connecting with one’s audience.

TikTok, Khaled said, was all about storytelling and went on to explain why storytelling was key. She elaborated that it is storytelling that enables one to connect with an audience on a personal level, fostering thoughtful engagement. She also touched on how original content can become a source of inspiration and learning for one’s followers.

Khaled went on to highlight practical strategies for crafting a narrative, guiding participants on the proper way to go about choosing a niche, understanding one’s audience to create content that meets their preferences, needs, and demographics, besides the 80-20% Rule to tap trends, among other things.

Khaled’s session also featured success stories that allowed participants a chance to gain valuable insights and hear firsthand from notable TikTok creators.