x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Digital media ad spend to buck trend

Online sector to account for 10 per cent of the region's total advertising market by 2013, says senior executive.

Advertising spending on digital media is expected to hit US$195 million (Dh716.2m) in the GCC and the Levant this year, and account for 10 per cent of the total market by 2013, according to Elie Khouri, the regional chief executive of Omnicom Media Group.

Online advertising has been relatively slow to take off in the Arab world, where some analysts estimate it accounts for just 2 per cent of the total ad market.

But in the GCC and Levant, digital ad spending makes up 6 per cent of the market, and is growing at 30 per cent a year, according to Mr Khouri.

"Today, digital media is in the $150m range," he said.

"That's growing at a 30 per cent base … In my view, we're going to touch to $190m, $195m, by the end of this year in the GCC and the Levant.

"Growing, it will become 10 per cent in two years' time," he added. "That's not like the UK, where it's about 22 per cent. But it's pretty similar to places like Italy, like Spain."

There are no accurate figures available as to the total size of the advertising market in the Mena region.

The two main advertising monitoring companies in the region, Ipsos MediaCT and the Pan Arab Research Centre, put the gross figures at $15.3 billion and $13.7bn, respectively.

But these are based on published "rate card" fees - and do not take into account discounts and free advertising.

Mr Khouri said the total "real" spending in the Mena region, across all media including print, TV and radio, stands at $3.5bn. The GCC accounts for $2.2bn of this, North Africa $1bn and the Levant $300m, he said.