Twitter removes 140–character limit from DM’s

Twitter has removed the limitation of 140 characters from it’s Direct Messaging (DM) service. While Twitter is largely a public experience, Direct Messages allow for private conversations and this is the latest in a number of changes to the service over the last few months such as updating messaging rules and adding a Direct Message button to profile pages on Android and iPhone.

The update to the Direct Messaging service will have no effect on the public side of Twitter, which will continue to limit tweets to 140 characters. The new version of Direct Messaging will be rolled out across Android and iOS apps today, as well as on, TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac, and this will continue worldwide over the coming weeks.

Noura Al Kaabi joins LinkedIn’s Global Influencers

Noura Al Kaabi, CEO of twofour54, is the first woman from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to be selected for LinkedIn’s Global Influencer Programme, a platform for leaders in their respective geographies and industries to share their insights and discuss topics of interest on the social network aimed at professionals.

Approximately 500 personalities hold the LinkedIn Influencer badge globally, including: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington.

Meltwater Dubai opens agency department

Global media monitoring platform Meltwater has opened an agency department for the MENA region. Based in Dubai, the new department will deal directly with media agencies to provide local and customised support as well as technology solutions. Meltwater will provide a dedicated account manager to agencies to act as an extension of its team, in order to consult on ways to improve client accounts. The department will be headed up by Director of Agency Partnerships, Mohamed El Wardani, and current Meltwater clients include Leo Burnett, Memac Ogilvy and TBWA\RAAD.

Twitter CEO to step down

Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo is set to step down from his position on July 1, 2015, having been in the role since October, 2010. The former entrepreneur will remain on Twitter’s board of directors and the company has iterated that Costolo’s departure is his own decision to move on from his role, and that this move will have no financial impact for stakeholders. Former colleagues have praised Dick across Twitter, using the hashtag #ThankYouDickC.

While Twitter’s board hunt for a new permanent CEO, Jack Dorsay – a co-founder of the social networking site, as well as the first person to send a tweet when it launched in 2006 – will act as Interim Executive Officer.

CNN’s Connect the World to go on tour

CNN’s flagship news and current affairs show, Connect the World with Becky Anderson, is taking to the road this month, for a month-long tour. Beginning in Cairo, the programme will head to Amman and Beirut, before ending in Istanbul.

In each location anchor Becky Anderson will present a range of live programming and feature content, including interviews and analysis of the issues that matter in each location and beyond. Topics will vary for each location, but will encompass breaking news as well as culture, society and politics. On the final day in each location the team will host a special segment called CNN Café, which will see Becky take the show to the people in a live broadcast on location.

A range of digital content supporting the programme will be found on the show’s blog page,, and CNN Arabic will be supporting the tour, publishing a range of related content for Arabic-speaking users on as well as via social media. Both and CNN Arabic will be interacting with audiences, asking users to send in suggestions and pictures to guide the editorial content both on TV and online.

“There is so much to explore and discuss in each of these locations, and we also want to add a truly interactive element to these special programmes,” says Becky. “This is about democratising the narrative, hearing the voices from the region on the stories resonating here and beyond. It promises to be a fascinating few weeks in some of the world’s most vibrant cities.”

For further information, contact Kimberly Lobo at / +971 (0)4 425 8979

CNN to launch global Traders programme

CNN is set to launch a new feature strand called Traders, which tells the stories of individuals who trade goods and services across borders. CNN plans to cover the stories behind the global import and export markets by meeting characters who passionately believe in their business to trade products and services overseas. In each report, CNN audiences will also gain valuable business information to put each story in context of international trade and commerce. Traders will run as a fortnightly segment that is part of CNN International’s The Business View with Nina Dos Santos and CNN domestic’s CNN Newsroom Weekend.

Traders is a content strand that makes sense of the drivers behind international trade in the context of globalised, connected business,” says Ellana Lee, Senior Vice President, CNN International. “By telling the stories of the passionate, innovative people working in global trade, CNN will bring import/export markets to life and show why this affects us all. Traders will add an intruiging angle to our wider business programming.”

CNN names new VP of Arabic Services

Caroline Faraj has been named the new Vice President of Arabic Services for CNN, as the international news outlet unveils ambitious plans for growth in the Middle East. Caroline was previously responsible for the content and management of the CNN Arabic website, leading the site’s re-launch in 2014.

In her new role, Caroline will have strategic oversight of while also working alongside CNN’s Middle East newsgathering team, and the CNN Abu Dhabi platform on major cross-platform editorial initiatives. She will also work with the CNNI commercial and digital teams on new digital opportunities in the region. Her immediate focus will be on continuing the expansion of the CNN Arabic brand, while also expanding the CNN Dubai operation in order to allow for increased content development to feed all of CNN’s linear and non-linear platforms.

“CNN Arabic has proved an outstanding success story under Caroline’s leadership and has demonstrated the region’s growing digital appetite for our news product,” says Andrew Morse, Executive Vice President and General Manager, CNN Digital.

Rani R Raad, Managing Director, Turner Broadcasting in the Middle East, adds “Our continued investment under Caroline’s leadership in CNN Arabic reflects the strength of our aspirations for this region. Caroline is perfectly placed in this new role to continue to enrich the news content we offer our consumers, while also helping to develop exciting new digital propositions that will engage audiences and excite our partners.”


Effie Global Ranking Index 2015 announced

Effie Worldwide has announced its 2015 index ranking, with five top global entities in the MENA region being recognised and awarded under the scheme. The index, now in its fifth year, identifies and ranks outstanding agencies, marketers and brands through a rigorous evaluation of their case studies and work, with a core objective to recognise and reward ideas that have had the most impact across the globe, irrespective of campaign size.

The Effie Effectiveness Index 2015 is compiled from 3,146 finalists and winning entries from worldwide Effie Award competitions from January 1 to December 31, 2014. Organisations that have been awarded this year in the MENA region include Unilever, for Most Effective Marketer, Coca-Cola, for Most Effective Brand, IPG, for Most Effective Holding Group, McCann Worldgroup for Most Effective Agency Network and FP7, for Most Effective Individual Agency.

“The Effie Effectiveness Index is the world’s most prestigious ranking of effective marketing, and five years of data allows for a bigger picture to compare and contrast the trends in Marketing,” says Neal Davies, President and CEO, Effie Worldwide. “By having access to the cases that led to success in the Effie Index, marketers can study best in class examples of effective marketing from around the globe.”

Twitter to open offices in Dubai

Twitter will open its offices in Dubai in the next few months. Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s Vice-President for Asia Pacific, Latin America and Emerging Markets announced the news during a session discussing the future of Twitter at the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit. As the platform’s first office in the MENA region, it will aim to better serve local users, partners and advertisers. MENA is one of Twitters fastest growing markets worldwide, and this announcement serves as a part of the company’s increased investment and commitment to the region.

“MENA is a key strategic market for us and our new Dubai office will serve as the focal point to help our development across the region,” says Shailesh. “Dubai is a regional hub for many brands and advertising agencies and we are excited to build a team on the ground here who can work with partners directly, helping them get the most out of Twitter.”


The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has officially signed a Memorandom of Understanding (MoU) with global airline and tourism management company AVIAREPS. As part of the agreement, the two organisations will join forces to promote international tourism to various destinations around the world that are in need of destination marketing assistance.

The MoU was signed by Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO and AVIAREPS’ Chairman and CEO, Michael Gaebler.

“In partnership with the UNWTO and our mutual belief in tourism as a positive driver for inclusive economic growth, AVIAREPS is excited to work diligently with our tourism and aviation partners to provide destination marketing expertise and assistance for a number of worthy recipients around the globe,” says Michael Gaebler, Chairman and CEO, AVIAREPS. “Through these actions, we aim to make a positive difference with tourism providing tangible results for people on the ground.”

Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO adds, “We look forward to working with AVIAREPS, a valued UNWTO Affiliate Member supporting destinations around the world improving their international presence and tourism competitiveness in the area of marketing.”