x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Advertiser group looks to region

An industry association for the digital advertising sector is set to accept members from the MENA region.

An industry association for the digital advertising sector is set to accept members from the MENA region. The Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau (OVAB), which has European headquarters in Germany, will extend memberships to companies in the region from Marchto help build awareness of outdoor video advertising.

It will accept memberships from players in the "digital out-of home" industry, which includes companies that sell advertising on video billboards. A report by the research firm PQ Media said the digital-out-of home advertising sector globally was expected to grow by 10.1 per cent a year from this year until 2014. Florian Rotberg, a member of the executive board at OVAB Europe, said the digital signage sector in the MENA region had "reached the tipping point".

"We will have the first OVAB presence in March," said Mr Rotberg, who is a co-founder of the group. He said OVAB would have two immediate priorities: to "educate the [MENA] market"; and to publish regular research about the industry.

"We want to track and publish the size of the market. If we manage to join forces with the major players, it's not too difficult to get estimates," he said.

OVAB is approaching 100 regional companies about taking part in its research. Some of those could become members, said Mr Rotberg. "I believe we could grow to 10 to 15 members within 12 months," he said, adding that the initial focus would be the UAE, before seeking members across the MENA region.

OVAB will not immediately have full-time members of staff in the region. However, it is being assisted by the Abu Dhabi Media Company unit AD Media Digital Out of Home (DOOH), its first member in the region.

AD Media DOOH operates Al Barq Digital, which is rolling out advertising video screens in several UAE shopping centres. The Abu Dhabi Media Companyowns and publishes The National. "There is no industry body that represents the interests of what is a very fast-growing sector," said Andrew Wood, the general manager at AD Media DOOH.

"We'll be assisting [OVAB] because we think it's a good thing," he added. "Once and for all, it confirms that digital out of home is here to stay and has reached a critical mass in the Middle East and North Africa."

bflanagan@thenational.ae