An independent TV audience monitoring system will be in place by 2008 according to Sam Barnett, COO MBC group.
A consortium of broadcasters and advertisers will pay for the scheme, which is aiming to balance out the region's advertising market.
Speaking at the 2nd Middle East Broadcasting Summit in Dubai, Barnett said "We think the people meter initiative is critical. We are fully behind this. Advertisers are getting a massive bargain."
Satellite footprints in the Middle East tend to cover large, expansive areas. This means an advertiser paying for the Saudi Arabian audience, will often have its advert broadcast across the entire region. This situation means companies can reach tens of millions of additional homes for no extra cost, Barnett claimed.
Advertising spending in the region is growing steadily, although figures from the Pan Arab Research Centre suggest it is still lagging behind. Currently, advertising spending per capita is US$229 in the UAE and just $39 in Saudi Arabia. In developed markets such as the UK, US and Hong Kong, this figure is $431, $542 and $886, respectively.
Barnett expects the system to be in place before the end of 2008, with advertising rates for 2009 the first to be affected.