Bi­ased Re­sults*


The aware­ness and ac­cep­tance, of the need for re­search and the im­por­tance it car­ries in the de­vel­op­ment of ac­cu­rate me­dia sta­tis­tics, is fi­nally upon us. There is an im­per­a­tive need for the avail­abil­ity and ac­cess to independent in­for­ma­tion, in order to re­spond to the chal­lenges posed by glob­al­i­sa­tion, be­cause to­day, in the Arab world, there are five to six ma­jor groups han­dling 80 per­cent of the brands. Th­ese brands re­quire ac­cu­rate sta­tis­tics and rate card trans­parency. In the past, most if not all re­search, was fi­nanced by me­dia, and there­fore of­fered bi­ased re­sults. The time when one could turn a blind eye to such dis­crep­an­cies is far be­hind us, es­pe­cially if we are to evolve and al­low our in­dus­try to progress.

The call for re­forms in th­ese mat­ters, and the of­fi­cial ac­knowl­edge­ment and im­ple­men­ta­tion of th­ese, has taken place. To­day, the Le­banese Syndicate of Ad­ver­tis­ing Agen­cies’ res­o­lu­tion, as­ton­ish­ingly - unan­i­mously voted by me­dia agen­cies, MBU’S and clients, could be­come, if prop­erly ex­e­cuted, the so­lu­tion to a long pre­vail­ing ill­ness.

This un­der­ly­ing malaise can be per­ceived in sev­eral in­dus­try-re­lated el­e­ments. If we take for ex­am­ple the mon­i­tor­ing of ad­ver­tis­ing spend in the Arab world and specif­i­cally Le­banon, we will find that Le­banon en­joys the high­est per capita rat­ing in terms of mon­i­tored fig­ures, whereas it has the low­est per capita in terms of “real money”. Another ex­am­ple is the mon­i­tored ad spend for Le­banon, which ex­ceeds 1.70 bil­lion US dol­lars in re­ported fig­ures, whereas the real spend is in fact closer to 160 mil­lion US dol­lars. In the face of such mis­lead­ing fac­tors, cer­tain ques­tions come to mind. “When will we fi­nally have the ac­cu­rate fig­ures per agency, per me­dia and per dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the in­dus­try?” “When will we clas­sify agen­cies ac­cord­ing to real money spent, as it is done world­wide?”

If the sit­u­a­tion in our in­dus­try con­tin­ues as is, then the drop in ad­ver­tis­ing spend that we have wit­nessed in the re­cent past will also con­tinue its de­scent.

The much-awaited call for more trans­par­ent re­search and ac­cu­rate sta­tis­tics, which could help rem­edy the sit­u­a­tion, has now of­fi­cially been launched.

Will this call fall upon se­lec­tive ears, or will we, as “an in­dus­try” in­stead of as “an or­gan­ised mo­nop­oly,” rise to the chal­lenges of open­ness and re­form? *This ar­ti­cle was pub­lished in 2003. 15 years later, noth­ing has changed.

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