'More work' needed to unlock Middle East ad market potential

Dubai Future Council on Media says regional average ad spend is just $6.17 compared to $680 in the US
The meeting of the Dubai Future Media Council was chaired by Mona Al Marri, director general of the Government of Dubai Media Office
The meeting of the Dubai Future Media Council was chaired by Mona Al Marri, director general of the Government of Dubai Media Office

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Significant growth opportunities in the Middle East advertising market and the quality gap in Arabic content were two of the topics discussed at a meeting of the Dubai Future Council on Media.

Chaired by Mona Al Marri, director general of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), the meeting heard that although the advertising sector is growing rapidly in the region, average advertising spend in Middle East and North Africa does not exceed $6.17 per person.

This compares to $680 in the US and $270 in Western Europe which points to significant growth opportunities in the region’s advertising market.

More work is required to unlock hidden opportunities in the regional market, Al Marri said.

Digital advertising accounted for the lion’s share of total advertising spend in 2018 at 46 percent globally compared to 36 percent in the MENA region, while TV advertising came second with 33 percent globally and 24 percent regionally.

Radio advertising represented 5 percent of total advertising spend globally, compared to 7 percent regionally.

She also said that bridging the quality gap in Arabic content requires the training of local talent and new strategies to attract talent from across the world, as well as investment in content-related infrastructure.

Promoting the growth of Arabic content requires a conducive environment that fosters greater collaboration between content developers and the growth of fresh talent.

The Dubai Future Council on Media also discussed the rapid development of media platforms, the growing importance of content, and the use of big data and artificial intelligence in the media sector.

Members of the Dubai Future Council on Media also shared their perspectives on the the $617 billion global advertisement industry, whose growth is being driven by digital advertising.

During the meeting, Al Marri said the council needs to monitor and analyse data to develop a clear vision for the local media sector to keep pace with global media both technologically and professionally.

Launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) in January, the Dubai Future Councils comprise 13 councils that aim to create a futuristic platform to build strategic sectors in the emirate over the next 50 years.

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