About Diana Baddar, Managing Director for Digital Content and Development, Rise Studios

Diana Baddar is the Managing Director for Digital Content and Development at Rise Studios, an entertainment company driving investment in content throughout the Middle East and North Africa markets. Diana drives the digital content strategy for Rise Studios, partnering with the group companies to build and enhance their digital storytelling.  

Diana has two decades of experience in the media and tech industry.  She spent 8 years at Google, as the Head of YouTube for MENA and Turkey where she spearheaded the growth of YouTube in these markets.  She negotiated and signed distribution deals with the biggest media companies on YouTube, and managed the largest content creators in the region, who have revised the meaning of stardom in the media industry.  As the first Head of Women at Google in MENA, she was committed to empowering female voices which also helped drive her female strategy for YouTube MENA, working closely with female creators to build their channels on the platform resulting in a staple growth for YouTube. Some of her major accomplishments at YouTube include relaunching Sesame Street Arabic in MENA after a 20-year hiatus with a YouTube-first strategy; launching YouTube Space Dubai and achieving a Guinness World Record for her work with YouTube Creators for the most viewers of an Iftar Livestream on YouTube.

Prior to Google, Diana was the Director for Business Development and Affiliate Channels at OSN.  In her 8 years at OSN, she was responsible for establishing new business opportunities for the platform, along with managing all OSN’s affiliate channels, such as Disney, Discovery. E! Entertainment and many more.  Diana worked on the launch of OSN’s first VOD platform, securing all the rights from the studios and channels.  Diana has also served as an Advisor to media and tech companies in the region, helping them build their local and global strategies.  

About her thoughts for the industry

The busiest content time of the year is almost upon us; how will it play out?  Will the most premium content continue to sit on one SVOD platform, or have licensors decided that the highest bidder will win, regardless of their strength?  To that effect, will premium content only sit behind paywalls, or will content that everyone wants to watch be made available to the widest audience possible? According to TGM Research, People in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) spend 63% more time watching online videos during Ramadan than at any other time in the year.  This is the most opportune time for content creators.

Three key aspects remain important as we navigate the content evolution in front of us: 


Innovation in the content industry is upon us, and we need to embrace it even further.  It’s encouraging to see premium content providers embracing social platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Snap to further expand their audiences to reach a new generation of viewers. However, I’d love to see them to not just repurpose content for these platforms, but also push into new frontiers by creating original content for audiences that would ordinarily skip the traditional TV screen altogether.  Rise aims to work with all types of content makers, as we understand that our audience can be on any screen. 


I love watching new content creators build audiences from scratch, by focusing on their passions and just being true to themselves.  Platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Snap, Instagram serve as blank canvases for ordinary people who want to share their ideas with the world.  These creators are pioneers in innovation in the media industry because they built their brands from scratch and sometimes only did it from their mobile phones.  Every day new talents emerge, pushing the boundaries of creativity and bringing in new audiences who didn’t even know they were looking for that type of content. 

Diversity and Inclusion 

Digital content creators embody the idea of diversity and inclusion so no one is left out, and everyone has a voice.  This is one of our key principles at Rise Studios, to help push voices forward so everyone is heard, and I only hope to see diversity and inclusion become a key principle for all media companies.