According to Yahoo Middle East’s Head of Audience, Hosam El Sokkari, all the content from the BBC Arabic television channel will be available for Yahoo’s use. Sokari himself used to work for the BBC before he was hired in 2010 by Yahoo Maktoob.
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The content won’t be live for at least another month. El Sokkari said, “We will launch it with a revamped news site that we will have by the end of this month or the beginning of next month.”
It seems that Yahoo Maktoob is simply following in the footsteps of the US mother company, who recently concluded a similar agreement with ABC News.
This is not the first deal of its kind for Yahoo Maktoob, with content agreements already in place with Reuters and Al Jazeera. The move is bound to only further cement Yahoo Maktoob’s popular standing in the Middle East. Maktoob was acquired by Yahoo to the tune of $200 million in 2009.
In June, during a visit to Dubai, former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz revealed some of Maktoob’s statistics. Maktoob is Yahoo’s fifth most popular home page on Yahoo, preceded by US, Taiwan, India and Indonesia.
The site is the second most popular news source in the region, after Al Jazeera, and receives 50 million unique users, a 20 million increase from before the acquisition.
Speaking about the Middle East, Bartz said, “The region is one of the most exciting markets for us. Arabic is also one of the fastest growing languages on the Internet. Part of Yahoo!’s investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is to facilitate the growth of the Arabic language online.”