The Num­bers Don’t Lie... Do They?


This month, like ev­ery year, we pub­lish Ip­sos' ex­clu­sive re­port to Arabad per­tain­ing to the MENA re­gion’s top per­form­ers. The re­sults are of­ten seen as mis­lead­ing, be­ing based on fre­quency and rate cards, which do not ac­cu­rately com­mu­ni­cate the var­i­ous mar­ket re­al­i­ties re­lated to ad­ver­tis­ing spend, they none­the­less re­main the only ref­er­ence avail­able.

In re­la­tion to the health of the Le­banese com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try, and de­spite the fact that 2016 was, ac­cord­ing to Ip­sos, the tough­est year since the cri­sis of 2008, the coun­try’s me­dia sec­tor, against all odds, saw ad­ver­tis­ing ex­pen­di­tures grow by 4% for a to­tal of $1.71 bil­lion in 2016. The two big­gest growth sec­tors were out­door and TV. The former grew by 8% for a to­tal of $191 mil­lion while TV held the sec­ond po­si­tion in­creas­ing by 5% to $1.4 bil­lion.

In the same anal­y­sis, 2016 was also a very dif­fi­cult year for the MENA re­gion due to nu­mer­ous eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal fac­tors. As a re­sult, this af­fected the ad­ver­tis­ing ex­pen­di­tures in the en­tire Pan-arab re­gion. TV wit­nessed a growth of 0.3% based on more than 76 mon­i­tored satel­lite chan­nels. The truly sub­stan­tial de­crease how­ever, was in the print in­dus­try with a drop of around $56 mil­lion. News­pa­pers suf­fered an 86% de­crease in bud­get and a 21% de­crease on mag­a­zines. The shift from off­line to on­line played a big role in this drop.

This mat­ter was fur­ther com­pounded by the lack of in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge of our mar­ket in re­la­tion to dig­i­tal, which con­fused clients and ad­ver­tis­ers even more when it came to find­ing op­ti­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion so­lu­tions for their prod­ucts and ser­vices.

To make the most in­formed de­ci­sion af­ter read­ing these sta­tis­tics, one needs to read be­tween the lines so as to inch closer to the facts and the fact is, we are still far from where we need to be.

So, and for the sake of more clar­ity, Arabad will, in its March is­sue poll the per­sonal find­ings of me­dia ex­perts who, just like us, have had enough.

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