x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Headline events to fuel boom in advertising

Events such as the FIFA World Cup are forecast to boost the outdoor advertising industry in Qatar.

The Fifa World Cup, the Arab Games and other high-profile events are predicted to spur a boom in outdoor advertising in Qatar, the head of one of its leading media companies says.

Steve Bovey, the managing director of q.media Decaux, which has an exclusive contract to sell outdoor advertising in Doha, expects sporting and leisure events to increase sales.

"Major events do tend to be quite strong on outdoor," Mr Bovey said, pointing to the Arab Games and World Petroleum Congress, both of which are held this year in Doha.

The advertising campaign to promote Qatar's successful bid to host the Fifa World Cup in 2022 was one of the most prominent across outdoor billboard sites last year. The AFC Asian Cup and the Doha Cultural Festival were also heavily advertised.

Mr Bovey said future events would help to further boost spending in Qatar's outdoor advertising business, which was worth US$66 million (Dh242.4m) last year, according to the Pan Arab Research Center (Parc).

"I see positive growth in the next two to three years," he said. "And then organic growth, which I hope will extend … until 2022."

Mr Bovey cited internal research and figures from Parc, which found advertising spending grew by 186 per cent in the entertainment and leisure industry last year.

He said this reflected "the country's ambitions in terms of hosting regional and worldwide events".

The company q.media Decaux is a joint venture between the local advertising firm q.media and JCDecaux, the world's largest outdoor advertising company. The local partner has an exclusive, 20-year contract to sell outdoor advertising in Qatar.

Mr Bovey said there had been some internal discussions about the Fifa World Cup.

"Of course, we see this as a huge opportunity," he said. "We've had behind-the-scenes discussions internally, and of course we've had some very exciting ideas."

Mr Bovey said new roads, bridges, hotels and shopping malls would be built in the run-up to the tournament. But he added his firm would not look to sell excess advertising in Doha.

"We're not looking at cluttering the city, that's not what we do," he said.

JCDecaux, which is listed in Paris, reported consolidated revenues of €2.35 billion (Dh12.48bn) for last year. It recently said it was launching an office in the Abu Dhabi media zone twofour54.

bflanagan@thenational.ae