Get Engaged: Live Broadcasting App Swoo Aims To Make A Dent In UAE's Social Scene The app claims to "bridge the gap between passionate broadcasters and their followers by engaging them live."

By Pamella de Leon

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Swoo live broadcast at an event

Developed and backed by Algorythma, the technology arm of Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG), Swoo is an iOS and Android live video broadcasting app launched in the summer of 2017 as a platform for curated emerging and established artists and talent to engage and communicate to a wider audience. The app claims to "bridge the gap between passionate broadcasters and their followers by engaging them live," and in the process, has created social communities within the platform.

Ahmed Alhosani, Head of Operations at Swoo, emphasizes on this aspect of the app, "At Swoo, celebrities, influencers [and] performing artists can all interact with their audience in real time, reaching a unique live engagement- which sets us aside from other apps." Prior to his current role at Swoo, Alhosani started out at ADFG as an investment analyst in 2016, and imbued by his passion for tech, delved into Algorythma. Alhosani says that Swoo came to be after they looked into trends in the industry in 2017: "Around the world, and particularly in the MENA and Indian subcontinent regions, talent craves a stage. Both media and tech spaces are heading towards live, and social media behavior shifted from pictures and recorded videos to live streaming and interaction."

With a team of twelve engineers, Swoo was launched as a minimum viable product. But the need for Swoo to have a content and marketing strategy rose, which strengthened Alhosani's role in the enterprise's operations and strategy, wherein he currently handles defining and building features with a user-centric approach, approaching users for feedback, conducting market research, and aligning its communication strategy and business collaborations with the aim of "using different strengths to make it easier to reach goals, and excel in our collective performance."

Ahmed Alhosani, Head of Operations at Swoo

Today, the Swoo app has had more than four million installations, with one million users interacting with it, and 200 videos created per day, with content in various categories including entertainment, business, tech, education and travel. The app's broadcasters cover live events, conduct interviews, and create shows and mini-series, plus they've also partnered with media and content agencies, universities, talent hunts, and other content creators.

With there being several players currently in the region's tech and media space, Alhosani notes Swoo's local appeal as being a defining characteristic. "Being a homegrown app, we understand and capture the local and regional content providers' expectations." Swoo's team aims to satisfy the market's needs by providing features including identifying and promoting high-quality informative content, and helping viewers to easily access and explore personalized content based on people's preferences.

They also aim to reward talent and help create more opportunities for talents through monetization, in addition to building business opportunities through targeted niches by demographics and interests. Swoo users are also provided with interactive features to engage in real-time, such as claps, live chats, and co-hosting for up to four broadcasters to go live simultaneously, with audiences getting to engage with all of them live. The app also acts as a marketplace for content creators and consumers.

Swoo live broadcast at an event

"Through gamification and providing modes of monetization, content creators can monetize their content leveraging Swoo over other apps," Alhosani explains. "The need for people to showcase their talent to the world is rising. TV has done so far, a good job through talent shows. We see an opportunity here in adopting this concept and transforming it to a live mobile app, easing live interaction between talents and audiences through live game shows and many other sectors, where social media can bring people together and assure ease of communication."

As the UAE's tech ecosystem continues to thrive, Alhosani values the country's market which works to Swoo's benefit: "The UAE is a hub for talents who crave a stage in the UAE, and beyond in the Middle East and GCC area. Additionally, the GCC has one of the biggest data consumption rates. Investors in the UAE have a big appetite for rising technology companies, especially the tech companies." But what else is needed to perhaps give UAE and the region the push it needs? Alhosani notes: "Due to our location and the time at which these technology companies are rising, I can positively say that we have our own DNA in this sector. The UAE is geographically located to be a bridge linking talents in within South Asia, Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and the GCC areas. Those talents are craving for a stage, in parallel with the obvious great appetite for rising disruptive technology companies, specifically technology media ones. I think that we are rightly positioned to add value in terms of content and technology to the rich tech landscape in the UAE."

As for what's in the works? The team plans to launch new features including maps exploration, drone and external camera compability, gamification and monetization features. They aim to "become the leading global livestreaming platform through making roads into all aspects of people's lives, including entertainment, education, e-commerce, health and business, through strategic partnerships with major government and private players locally and beyond." Make sure to check out the app for yourself- start "Swoo-ing" today!

Related: Startup Kasra Wants To Create Arabic Content That Trends On The Internet

Pamella de Leon

Startup Section Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Pamella de Leon is the Startup Section Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is keen on the MENA region’s entrepreneurship potential, with a specific interest to support enterprises and individuals creating an impact.

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