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.