Bitsmedia was awarded the ‘User Satisfaction’ award by the AdMob Team at the annual Google APAC App Summit 2022 for listening to user feedback and filling a niche gap for Muslims with Qalbox – a streaming service within the Muslim Pro App that celebrates the Muslim community, a group often underrepresented and victimized in today’s entertainment.

“When Bitsmedia was presented with the award, the team and I were surprised because we did not expect something that had just been launched to be recognized for listening to our users,” said Louis-Bernard Carcouet, Bitsmedia’s executive advisor.

“We are grateful for Google’s recognition. This is an achievement and testament to the team’s hard work and efforts. Hopefully, this is the start of many more!” He added.

The award was introduced this year to recognize publishers who have demonstrated outstanding app execution.

Google held its first in-person App Summit for APAC at their Singapore headquarters since COVID-19 from 3-4 November where Louis-Bernard Carcouet participated in a panel discussion on the topic of global change and growth.

Moderated by Google’s SEA Head of Growth & Acquisition, Denis Nichifor, the panel included  Alicia Vo HCMC Marketing Director at ABI, Amari Nguyen UAE Marketing Leader at Rocket and Saad Hameed, CEO at Game District.

In addition to discussing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), the panel addressed the current challenges facing the industry and the steps startups are implementing, such as hiring re-skilled talent or promoting women to leadership roles.

“The discussion among the panelists was insightful and a great way for us to learn from each other on the probable ways to mitigate issues faced in the industry,” said Louis.

The Google App Summit is an all-invite only event for partners as well as promising start-ups from the region.

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    • Bitsmedia introduces Qalbox at its first participation in the 38th International Co-Production & Entertainment Content Market – #MIPCOM.
    • Aside from promoting the visibility of Muslim people on screen, Qalbox is also seeking more programs from MENA regions.

 Co-CEO, Fara Abdullah, was in Cannes to share about Qalbox which was recently launched in July inside the Muslim Pro app. Qalbox is a global subscription video on demand (SVOD) entertainment streaming service that hosts a library of content that celebrates Muslim identities and cultures worldwide.

“Qalbox is open to all content formats. Scripted, unscripted, factual, documentary, feature films, children’s, sports, series and specials. Our key consideration is finding content that connects to our Muslim audience through its stories, characters, settings, and experiences.”

“One of the reasons we’re here at MIPCOM is because Turkey is one of our fastest growing entertainment markets and we are looking to leverage great Turkish content for Qalbox. Additionally,  we are eyeing content from the MENA or GCC region as well,” said Fara. 

Among the content distributors Bitsmedia networked with were Turkey-based Raya Group, Blue Media, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), Bahrain’s FableMill as well as Samsung Europe’s Women’s Networking event.

Ramazan Yirmibesoglu, Founder of Raya Group

Ramazan Yirmibesoglu, Founder of Raya Group (right).

Doruk Yenihayat, Sales and Acquisition Operation of Blue Media

Doruk Yenihayat, Sales and Acquisition Operation of Blue Media (left).

The global Muslim community has diverse interests, based on a recent survey by Muslim Pro in May 2022.

“While 55% of the users seek faith-driven content such as Islamic documentaries on history, heritage, and Quran recitations, others prefer secular content that represent Muslim identities and cultures.”  

Apart from being global entertainment for Muslims worldwide, Qalbox footing aims to increase Muslims’ visibility and portrayal on screen, putting Muslim cast at its forefront or as lead characters.

According to The Muslim Blueprint, although 25% of the world’s population is Muslim, only 1% of TV characters are Muslim and although Muslims are one of the world’s most racially and ethnically diverse groups, 66.7% of Muslim characters portrayed were Middle Eastern/North African ethnicities.

To date, Bitsmedia has acquired content from six out of seven continents including North and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, as well as Oceania.

Bitsmedia is also slated to produce original content for Qalbox, with one being made in Singapore while another coming out of Malaysia as well as Latin America – both in the pipeline for the next twelve months.

Additionally, part of Qalbox’s mission includes encouraging content creators and creatives worldwide to embrace diverse Muslim narratives and understand the significance of Muslim representation on screen. 

“The global Muslim community is not homogenous. We hope that Qalbox will play an instrumental role in breaking down the conventional storylines and stereotypes that have stinted towards the Muslim experiences for a while now.”

“In addition to highlighting unique content, we hope that our platform will also serve as a space for Muslim filmmakers and producers to showcase their work. I am excited for Qalbox to make waves in the streaming and entertainment space! ” Fara added.

Qalbox users can now stream from the Muslim Pro app on their iOS and Android devices, as well as the web app, which includes chromecasting, and soon on SMART TV. New users can also enjoy a 7-day free trial which also gives access to the full features of the Muslim Pro app such as their favourite Quran reciters, call to prayer audio, and many more, ad-free.

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