KSA’S New Dy­namic Me­dia Land­scape

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

Ni­dal Abou Zaki, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Ori­ent Planet PR & Mar­ket­ing Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, elab­o­rates on so­cial me­dia’s role as a pow­er­ful tool to ad­dress the needs of KSA’S emerg­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor. He dis­cusses in this ar­ti­cle the par­tic­u­lates.

For the last 10 years, the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia has wit­nessed a paradigm shift in the coun­try’s move to di­ver­sify and di­rect more in­vest­ment to­wards es­tab­lish­ing a non-oil sec­tor based econ­omy. This has led to great de­mand from the pri­vate sec­tor within the re­gion to do more. To fur­ther en­hance the busi­ness, com­pa­nies have adopted di­verse com­mu­ni­ca­tions based mar­ket­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­mote their busi­nesses. De­spite this re­cent shift, com­pa­nies are mov­ing from tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing op­tions to more dig­i­tal based ac­tiv­i­ties.

Tra­di­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion frame­works in the re­gion have inherent chal­lenges be­cause of a va­ri­ety of fac­tors. One key fac­tor is the slow­down in the in­ter­na­tional econ­omy, in­clud­ing the GCC econ­omy. This has ham­pered the ways of tra­di­tional PR and ad­ver­tis­ing within the re­gion, which are set to con­tinue for the next sev­eral years. As a re­sult, busi­nesses are look­ing to utilise al­ter­na­tive me­dia plat­forms in or­der to reach their re­spec­tive cor­po­rate goals and com­mu­ni­cate their brand mes­sage to their tar­get de­mo­graph­ics.

Dig­i­tal me­dia is prov­ing to be a pre­ferred choice in this re­gard, not only for the ease of use that it rep­re­sents, but also for the wide reach that it has to of­fer.

The Arab In­ter­net Pop­u­la­tion Fore­cast (2014-2018) notes that the num­ber of In­ter­net users in the Arab World is ex­pected to rise to about 224 mil­lion by 2018. The In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion rate will jump from about 37.5 per­cent in 2014 to over 55 per­cent in 2018. By the end of 2018, Saudi Ara­bia is fore­cast to have a pop­u­la­tion of 26,658,323 in­ter­net users, which will lead to 75 per­cent In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion.

Dig­i­tal me­dia is also a cost ef­fec­tive plat­form, which will greatly ben­e­fit com­pa­nies who are look­ing to im­ple­ment an ef­fec­tive and strate­gic cam­paign. Be­ing a more rea­son­able al­ter­na­tive, dig­i­tal me­dia is the best so­lu­tion es­pe­cially for com­pa­nies that are look­ing to down­size and fol­low rigid bud­gets.

The dy­namic me­dia land­scape within the re­gion has also been af­fected by the ex­ist­ing na­tional leg­isla­tive in­fra­struc­ture. The dif­fi­culty in ob­tain­ing busi­ness li­censes within the me­dia sec­tor, in­clud­ing news­pa­pers as well as other forms of print pub­li­ca­tions has led to an in­crease in on­line news por­tals that pro­duce cred­i­ble con­tent. The emer­gence of on­line news por­tals has opened a new range of mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tis­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for com­pa­nies across var­i­ous in­dus­try ver­ti­cals.

Aside from on­line pub­li­ca­tions, so­cial me­dia is be­com­ing an in­te­gral com­po­nent of the coun­try’s in­hibi­tant's daily lives. Saudi Ara­bia cur­rently ranks sev­enth, glob­ally in terms of in­di­vid­ual ac­counts on so­cial me­dia. The re­port fur­ther notes that within the King­dom, each in­di­vid­ual holds an av­er­age of seven ac­counts, three of which are ac­tive, while the num­ber of tweets on Twit­ter ex­ceeds 500,000.

Ac­cord­ing to an in­ter­na­tion­ally con­ducted sur­vey, an im­pres­sive one bil­lion peo­ple visit Face­book ev­ery day, and ap­prox­i­mately 400 mil­lion users post 80 mil­lion pho­tos on In­sta­gram, with more than 5.3 bil­lion likes per day. The heavy so­cial me­dia us­age of peo­ple in the coun­try has cap­tured the at­ten­tion of com­pa­nies that are look­ing to re­in­force their po­si­tion, as well as pub­lic re­la­tions and mar­ket­ing con­sul­tan­cies which are look­ing for more ef­fec­tive means to com­mu­ni­cate their clients mes­sage.

The rise of dig­i­tal pub­li­ca­tions and so­cial me­dia has cre­ated a new area of spe­cial­i­sa­tion in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­tor. It has not only be­come a vi­able op­tion for com­pa­nies and or­gan­i­sa­tions, but has also be­come an es­sen­tial and in­dis­pens­able plat­form that will play a sig­nif­i­cant role in the com­pa­nies’ suc­cess.

Be­ing a more rea­son­able al­ter­na­tive, dig­i­tal me­dia is the best so­lu­tion es­pe­cially for com­pa­nies that are look­ing to down­size and fol­low rigid bud­gets.

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