Global digital media investor North Base Media (NBM) announced today an investment in Abu Dhabi-based Majarra, the region’s leading Arabic online content provider. Other investors include strategic GCC individuals.
“We’re delighted to have a high quality and specialized investor like North Base Media as a believer in our vision for a new business model that addresses the massive inefficiency of Arabic online content,” said Abdulsalam Haykal, Majarra’s executive chairman. “NBM’s global perspective and unique insight into the industry strengthens our commitment to deliver the best content and user-experience for the Arabic-speaking internet users in the region and around the world.”
Majarra, formerly Haykal Media, announced earlier this year a plan to offer a single-subscription sign-on to a network of reliable, high-quality online content platforms in Arabic. The network so far includes Harvard Business Review Arabia, MIT Technology Review Arabia, Stanford Social Innovation Review Arabia, Popular Science, Fortune, and Manhom, the largest professional profiles service in the Arabic language.
“We’re really thrilled to partner with Majarra,” said Marcus Brauchli, NBM’s managing partner. Brauchli, a former top editor of both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, will join Majarra’s board of directors. “We look for partners that combine content and technology to unlock the power of the internet in high growth markets. Majarra combines a bold business vision, a solid track record, and a strategic approach to addressing the demand for quality Arabic-language content.”
Michael Garin, CEO of twofour54 Abu Dhabi, said: “There is real untapped potential within media and entertainment when it comes to Arabic content – particularly online. At twofour54, we’re proud to see international players realising this growth opportunity and joining forces with leading regional platforms, such as our partner Majarra, to provide quality Arabic content for the 420 million-plus Arabic speakers around the world. This is a high-impact investment both in terms of the growth and development of the knowledge economy in our region, and also in helping unlock the potential of digital Arabic content.”
In a joint announcement in March 2021, Majarra’s chairman together with CEO Ammar Haykal laid out the company’s approach. “We have a vision of a better, more useful, and more engaging Arabic web. We hope that Majarra will become a catalyst to unlocking the Arabic web, ushering in a new dawn for an industry that is crucial to progress in our region.” said the company leaders in their statement. “Business models that rely only on advertising revenue and audience size feed a spiral of lower-quality content. This is a massive lost opportunity for our societies.” Majarra, they added, “is a commitment to what we can do together to change the state of Arabic content online, and to what we can be together as a result.”