IRAQ

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

As Iraq re­cov­ers from po­lit­i­cal tur­moil, eco­nomic growth is ex­pected to ac­cel­er­ate no­tably in 2018. This comes due to higher oil prices and the peace div­i­dend stem­ming from the near-an­ni­hi­la­tion of ISIL in Iraq. How­ever, sec­tar­ian ten­sions are resur­fac­ing ahead of the May elec­tions, and large eco­nomic im­bal­ances will pre­vent a sharp steady re­cov­ery. Yet the slow re­cov­ery has been suf­fi­cient to cause an in­crease in ad­ver­tis­ing spend­ing across the en­tire mar­ket. The rise was re­ported at 25% higher than the pre­vi­ous year, most no­tably across TV and out­door (25% and 30% in­creases re­spec­tively) a ben­e­fit at­trib­uted to the lib­er­a­tion of ISIL ter­ri­to­ries, lead­ing to ex­tended ac­ces­si­bil­ity for more view­ers. Ra­dio has shown a 57% de­crease, as op­posed to the growth in TV, in ad­di­tion to more brands ven­tur­ing into the on­line dig­i­tal space. A de­tailed look into the Iraqi mar­ket show­cases a dy­namic pat­tern, with sev­eral new en­tries ap­pear­ing on the top 10 ad­ver­tis­ing brand list, par­tic­u­larly among the con­sumer pack­aged goods cat­e­gory, a tes­ta­ment to a mar­ket that is de­ter­mined to push for more re­cov­ery and claim the newly cre­ated white spa­ces among the var­i­ous me­dia out­lets. Yet, the tele­coms sec­tor con­tin­ues to dom­i­nate as the high­est spend­ing sec­tor, with heavy spend, Zain and Asi­a­cell both lead as top brands. Mean­while, a be­hind-thescenes look at the Iraqi mar­ket shows a com­plete rank reshuf­fle among the bot­tom me­dia agen­cies as Carat, OMD, Fo­cus, Op­ti­me­dia, and Au­rum all came in as new en­trants, while the top five con­tinue to con­sol­i­date their grip on the Iraqi mar­ket in its pe­riod of growth. As for the fu­ture, 2018 ap­pears to have the right foun­da­tion to present even fur­ther growth within the mar­ket. Nev­er­the­less, the May elec­tions co­in­cid­ing with the start of Ra­madan – the MENA’S ad­ver­tis­ing Su­per Bowl – will surely cause an even higher in­crease in ad­ver­tis­ing. Af­ter a long dor­mancy it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how far ad­ver­tis­ing can go, and most im­por­tantly how me­dia agen­cies will re­act to the new chal­lenge of an ex­pected ad­ver­tis­ing jun­gle.

Mo­ham­mad Ab­delka­rim Se­nior Re­search Ex­ec­u­tive Head of ASI ASI Con­nect

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