GCC print media grows stronger

DOHA: The print media, which is rapidly losing circulation and advertising revenue in the West, continues to maintain its influence in the oil-rich GCC region.

But a surge in the popularity of digital media in the region could soon begin to dent print media advertising revenue.

The global financial downturn that emerged in 2008 hit the media and advertising industry hard in most parts of the world, resulting in lower revenues.

But the GCC region remained less affected, with industry profits declining only slightly, only to rebound in the second half of 2010.

Last year, advertising revenue in the region grew 5% year-on-year to $4.8 billion (QR17.47 billion), with the UAE and Saudi Arabia holding the highest shares. significant – 33 and 30%, respectively – of ad spend. Kuwait trailed with a 20% share and the other three GCC states – Qatar, Oman and Bahrain – together accounted for 17% of the total.

The Kuwait Financial Center (Markaz) report said yesterday that companies in the region have started to increase their media spending budgets as regional economies appear to be coming out of their pause.

The regional media industry landscape is changing at a rapid pace due to technological advancements and changing consumer habits.

Digital media is growing in influence and effectiveness, according to the report. Digital media accounts for 18% of global advertising spend and this percentage is expected to reach 20% in 2014.

Print media continues to grow in the GCC with a high share of 71% of overall advertising expenditure. Digital media is still in its infancy but is growing at a rapid pace.

Social networking and the use of social media sites are on the rise in the region. Of all the social media sites, Facebook has the highest penetration – around 40% in the United Arab Emirates and 35% in Kuwait, followed distantly by LinkedIn and Twitter.

Kuwait has the highest Twitter penetration of 13% in the Arab world, compared to 3% each in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Print media is struggling due to declining circulation figures in the United States and Europe. In 2011, North America experienced a 4.3% drop in newspaper circulation and, in Europe, a 3.4% drop. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, on the other hand, recorded the highest global growth rate of 4.8%. Growth in Asia was 3.5%.

Changing media usage habits are pushing advertising spend from traditional print media to digital platforms.

In the GCC, the print media is still considered more reliable and therefore grew by an average of 3.5% per year between 2007 and 2011.

The peninsula

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