Asharq News Leverages Wildmoka’s AI Tech To Increase Viewership

February 18, 2021

Asharq News, the leading multiplatform economic and political news service, has achieved a leap in delivering news content across multiple platforms with the launch of a mobile vertical live streaming format based on artificial intelligence, for the first time in the Arab world, making it only the second media entity across the globe to offer this service.

Asharq News now leverages the state-of-the-art Auto ReZone solution from French tech company Wildmoka that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning, to enable automatic, 24/7 and real-time transformation of horizontal layouts into vertical.

In this context, Dr Nabeel Al-Khatib, General Manager of Asharq News, said: “At Asharq News, it is our core priority to provide a seamless and impactful experience for our audiences in the Arab world and beyond through leveraging cutting-edge technology and implementing digital transformation.” He pointed out that media consumption today is increasingly dependent on smart devices, media organisations need to take into consideration the rapid adoption of technology to ensure a smooth viewing user experience. “Asharq News is seeking to lead this transformation in the region.”

The case for providing content in a vertical format is clear. A large majority of people, especially among younger generations, do not turn their devices when watching videos on mobile. This is due to the basic ergonomics of mobile devices that are designed to fit into the palm of the user’s hand. It requires two hands to hold a phone horizontally, so it is more convenient and natural for people to hold smartphones vertically when watching video.

Steven Cheak, Creative Services and Digital Director at Asharq News commented: “With this breakthrough solution, we can finally resolve the challenge that has puzzled news broadcasters for years – despite smartphones becoming the primary channels for news consumption, news broadcasters continue to produce horizontal, linear format TV content. With Auto ReZone, we simply send our horizontal 16:9 live streams to the cloud platform and the solution seamlessly returns the recomposed vertical live stream, keeping all the graphics and information intact.”

Steven explained: “Where recomposition is not required, we developed dynamic backgrounds and logos where the show’s identity can be distinguished. The transformation is done automatically and in just a few seconds, ensuring minimal delay between the original live stream and the newly generated vertical stream. Moreover, this breakthrough and seamless solution is on for 24/7 and does not require any additional manpower or resources.”

Phase one of the vertical streaming was deployed in February 2021 across Asharq News’ websites, while phase two will extend the solution across Asharq News’ apps, Asharq NOW for video-on-demand, and other platforms.

The Wildmoka cloud-native technology is truly game changing and can, for the first time, transform horizontal frame layouts into vertical ones in real-time. Auto ReZone works for live, recorded, and archived content. With more and more phone users recording content vertically and given that the majority of social media applications today, rely on a vertical interface, this solution marks a significant breakthrough in news gathering and presentation.

“We are delighted to see Auto ReZone entering a new region” explained Cristian Livadiotti, CEO of Wildmoka. He added: “We are sure that with this innovation, Asharq News will stand apart from other news providers and engage new and younger audiences”.