Bigger the screen, better the audience recall
Elie Aoun is the CEO of Media Cluster Mena
The UAE has always been one of the most important markets for Ipsos. We have witnessed the progress of the country, and we proudly have played a role in this mainly when it comes to helping our clients grow and adapt.
Putting aside the Pan Arab TV stations, the UAE has always been the biggest market for local media players especially in print, outdoor and radio. I remember a few of my clients mentioning that a billboard on Sheikh Zayed Road costs more than a TV campaign on one of the strongest Pan Arab TV stations.
One should not, therefore, underestimate the strength of the print media in the UAE.
Media landscape in the UAE
Outdoor has taken the lead now as the biggest media in the UAE, followed by digital, which is growing exponentially. Coming third in terms of advertising expenditure is the radio, now considered as an influential medium in the UAE. Newspapers comes next.
These changes have a lot of implications on the industry, and also the way we measure media. With the advent of digital, Ipsos put in a lot of initiatives for print to evolve and keep up with the times , but unfortunately the print lost the revenues.
Digital is surely a faster way to report news but I cannot say more reliable. With all the changes that are happening around us, the clients are looking for better measurement for their ROI. This is where we come in and this is what we are doing.
For example, with the decline of print readership in the UAE and in the region, we started to include the digital newspaper readership combined with the print version. In 2012, we were the ones to introduce the electronic measurement of radio in the UAE, an initiative that unfortunately did not work.
Again, in 2007, we were again the first ones to introduce electronic measurement for out-door campaigns by measuring the movement of people, and how they are exposed to outdoors.
Print versus digital
Print is the most affected media with the rise of digital since the latter has taken most of the advertising revenue, and now is doing the same with TV. This phenomenon is happening all over the world, but I would say that our region is the most affected.
The exposure to TV in other regions is not declining, while our region has lost more than 35 per cent value in the last three years.
Staying ahead of the curve
In our region, joint industry committees (JIC) don't exist as is the case in few countries. These committees organise the way media measurement is done: they call for a pitch, followed by research companies applying, and who-ever wins the pitch does the media audience measurement.
This doesn't involve any risk by the research company. But in this region, Ipsos has to build and conduct a research, and then sell it to a client. The investment is ours. Unfortunately, the market keeps on asking for better measurement and at the same time is unwilling to spend the money.
However, even during these challenging times, we are taking a lot of initiatives to answer to the new market needs. MediaCell by Ipsos is a software technology that enables us to measure what consumers are exposed to, whether that is the radio, TV viewing, cinema or anything that contains audio.
This enables us to measure the size of audiences for media, channels, programmes or commercials. It also enables us to measure cross-media behaviour. It is a passive technology application which fits inside everyday consumer devices like smart-phones or tablets.
This approach keeps the people at the core of our measurement solutions, recognising the importance of using measurement tools that are already part of consumers' lives.Technology-wise, this app is a game-changer but now the challenge remains as to how much is the industry willing to invest.
Clients today are asking for social media listening. They want to find ways to know what the consumers are talking about their brands to be able to take the right decisions, and to be able to measure their ROI.
They need to link their media performance and their social media listening directly to the sales. There have been lot of initiatives lately that allows a brand to immediately measure their media performance to their traffic or to the number of downloads, through a lot of call to action campaigns.
The years 2011 to 2013 saw a lot of ad investments. The only hope is digital as it is growing but that will not bring any added value to the regional economy, because unlike the traditional media, where the ad money is used to em-ploy more people, the money that is going on digital is mostly from outside the region, which means the local economies are not benefitting at all. Tougher times are coming our way.
The views above are personal, and does not reflect those of the newspaper.
Outdoor advertising is now one of the biggest forms of media in the UAE, outgrowing digital and print media advertising.