In terms of Internet penetration, Qataris have one of the world’s highest Internet use rates with a saturation level at 95%, according to the latest report released by North Western University in Qatar in its annual Media Use in the Middle East survey.
The survey points out that Qatar has unique social media use patterns. Among all Qataris, 93% use WhatsApp, 70% use Instagram, and 64% use Snapchat. The latter two figures are among the highest penetration rates in the world for those two platforms.
The survey also finds that Qataris spend the most time face-to-face with family each week despite increased time spent online. Qataris said they spend an average of 43.2 hours a week with family and 44.5 online.
Compared to 2015, Qataris are far less willing to pay for news content in 2017 as 71% said they are unwilling to do so, compared with only 24% in 2015. Qataris are least likely to express willingness to pay for news content.
According to the survey, trust amongst Qataris in mass media has decreased. Nearly one-third of Qatari nationals said they do not trust mass media, more than double those who expressed this view in 2015.
Declining numbers of Qataris believe people benefit from getting news from foreign news media – a decrease from 56% in 2015 to 33% in 2017.
At the same time, the belief that international news organisations are biased against the Arab World has doubled between 2015 and 2017, from 7% to 13%.
The number of Qataris who think more should be done to preserve cultural traditions dropped from 94% in 2014 to 81% in 2016.
Qatari nationals are now less likely to be identified as culturally conservative with a decrease in their numbers from 75% in 2015 to 41% in 2017.
The Media Use in the Middle East surveys by Northwestern University in Qatar have been conducted annually since 2013. Each year the survey has been conducted among 1000+ residents in each participating country, in collaboration with Harris Poll in conjunction with Pan Arab Research Centre.