LEADING THE WAY
Top 10 Performers in Lebanon & the Arab World
Although we all feel relieved at the end of a difficult year while hoping for a better year ahead, we later come to realise that matters were even more difficult and complicated than expected. It also seems that the start of 2016 will not be promising either.
At the beginning of every year, and in the years that followed, we analyse advertising expenditures in the MENA region. The year 2015 was definitely a very tough one as most markets showed a drop in the total advertising expenditures, with few exceptions. Also, the political and security turbulences in the region are not helping at all. Syria is still in a dramatic war, the same applies to Iraq, and KSA is in war with Yemen while many other countries fight instability.
Another important factor compounding the above-mentioned problems is the shift to digital that is gaining traction, which for the first time in 2015, is starting to become a serious threat for existing media. Agencies started to get mandates from their global offices to shift some of their budgets to digital, thereby cutting into previously allocated budgets reserved for traditional media with the majority now going mainly to the likes of Google and Facebook. Furthermore, the lack of understanding of digital in our region, is adding a little bit of chaos, considering that only few people are certain to approach the matter in the future.
For that very reason, agencies need to spend more on digital and less on traditional media. In our region, beyond the shadow of a doubt, TV is the biggest and most efficient media, which is why digital companies are focusing mainly on proving that medium’s worth as a tool that has the ability to increase the reach of TV and traditional media in general, and can be a cheaper replacement. Although, this has not been proven yet, least not in our region and in any market in the world, the pressure, nonetheless is increasing.
Before we begin, I would like to remind the readers that the numbers are based on the official rate cards, which are very inflated compared to the reality. I also would like to remind the readers, that all our attempts to try to reduce those inflated numbers by bringing them closer to reality have not been successful, as most players prefer to keep things as they are, strengthening the fear of transparency, which unfortunately still reigns supreme.
TV is still the biggest media in our region, with 77% market share, from the total expenditures in 2015 amounting to $25.4 billion compared to $24.4 billion in 2014. Based on rate cards, the numbers in 2015, for the first time, increased just a little resulting in a slight decrease on newspapers and magazines, with the former dropping 8% in 2015 though keeping its second place in terms of share from total advertising expenditures of
12%. Magazines dropped by 8% with a total market share of 2%. That money went to digital. Outdoor comes in 3rd place with a share of 5%, Radio is in fourth with a share of 3%, and Cinema comes last with a share of 1%.
This year, we looked at the numbers from different angles to try and better understand what is happening. If we consider the numbers by market, the Pan Arab market, where most of the satellite TV channels are allocated is still leading with 35% market share up 7% year on year. This is followed by Egypt in second place, with 34% market share and growth of 12% year on year. The UAE is in third with 9% market share and 2% of growth. Lebanon is in fourth place with a growth of 4%. KSA is fifth place with 5% market share and a decline of 9% year on year. Kuwait is in sixth place with 3% market share and a decline of 22%, mainly due to the closure of Al Watan TV and Newspaper. Iraq, Qatar, Pan Asia, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain and Syria came in last place, in addition to all of them showing a decline year on year, with the exception of the Pan Asia market, which witnessed a small growth.
TV is the leading media in the Pan Arab market, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Pan Asia. Newspapers is the leading media in the following markets: UAE, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Oman and Bahrain. However, due to the pressure from digital, those markets will start to lose ground if they do not find the right formula.
What is also very remarkable in 2015, is that in most of the markets, even the ones that have declining expenditures, the number of ads increased, meaning that these outlets are offering more for less with the clients benefiting most.
Looking at the numbers from another different angle, the Food sector in 2015 surpassed the Hygiene and Beauty Care sector as the number one sector while the Hygiene and Beauty Care fell to second place followed by Entertainment and Leisure, with non-alcoholic drinks in forth and telecommunication in fifth place. By category, Real Estate is leading this year, replacing the telecommunication in second place followed by Medical Services. In fourth place is the Automotive sector followed by Restaurants in fifth place. By Brand, Dettol is taking the lead from Pepsi which fell to second in 2015 followed by Dabur in third, Saudi Telecom in forth and Sedar in fifth place.
The Top agency in 2015 in terms of official advertising expenditures is Starcom Mediavest Group followed by Universal media in second, OMD in third, MEC in forth and Initiative in fifth place.
For 2016, the Digital advertising expenditures will finally be added to our end-of year analysis starting with the month of January 2016.
The following numbers are based on the hard work of hundreds of colleagues in the region working on a daily basis to monitor all the advertising expenditures in all markets. To them I extend my thanks. .