A NEW DAWN BREAKING over KSA
In this special issue dedicated to the KSA, Arabad dove deep to learn about the most exciting trends and projects taking place in a country that prides itself on being one of the most, if not the most conservative in the Arab world.
Though one would be tempted to think that in such a highly gender-segregated environment change remains slow, reality on the other hand tells a completely different story.
The slump in crude oil prices has had challenging effects on the country’s economy, which in some cases were detrimental. However, KSA’S growing communication sector continues to expand and grow away from the oil-based model. This paradigm shift towards private non-oil companies is leading to the rising importance of the private sector. As a result, companies are resorting to more communication-based marketing activities to promote their businesses within the region.
This slowdown has also affected the global economy, especially in the GCC, thereby introducing an additional set of challenges to the communications industry. These entities, that were previously hesitant to rely on digital media, are realising that they may no longer have that luxury.
Instead of downsizing, companies are finding more cost effective ways to move businesses ahead. And, with difficulty in attaining media business licenses for print publications, a significant number of projects are being created online. In parallel, online news portals are emerging and attracting more advertising options for different business verticals.
On another equally-related front, the Kingdom is experiencing growth difficulties when it comes to recruiting talent as indicated by a majority of business leaders. However, the lack of talent and the cost of developing talent is the top reason local organisations gave to explain why their investment plans have stalled.
To combat and overcome that obstacle, some major multinational advertising agencies with local branches in the country are taking the lead when it comes to recruiting local females graduates to the advertising industry so as to gain more insight into the market.
Evidence to that effect is a study recently conducted by the Department of Communication and Information at King Faisal University, stating that the highest percentage of people affected by advertising are women (64 percent).
Capitalising on that trend, digital automotive advertising is on the rise with some sites registering an increase in online visits by more than 50 percent, noting that 60-70 percent of consumers spend 10 or more hours online researching their next car purchase.
Another industry, which previously did not even make the cut when it comes to media consumption, is the cinema sector. The Saudi Arabia Producers and Distributors Association has confirmed that the Kingdom will soon build a number of theatres. This presents a huge opportunity for advertisers and opens the door to a new revenue portal.
Coupled with the seven percent increase in passengers visiting the country, KSA is clearly taking big steps and making great strides toward the future.
What follows, in this special section on all things Saudi, Arabad takes a deeper look into the challenges facing the local communication industry with a number of exclusive interviews, thought pieces and other equally relevant insights about what matters most.