A rosy future for TV advertising in region

Television advertising in the Arab world will probably see double-digit growth in the medium term.

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Television advertising in the Arab world will probably see "double-digit" growth in the medium term, according to Sam Barnett, MBC's chief operating officer and general manager.

Analysts estimate just US$7 (Dh25.70) per capita per year is spent on TV advertising in the Arab world compared with $71 in Germany, $113 in the UK and $229 in the US. But TV ad spending is rising in the region and is likely to continue.

"You've seen the market going up by 15 to 25 per cent for many years," said Mr Barnett.

"That's able to happen because the TV market in particular was dramatically lower than it should have been. I'd anticipate that TV has a rosy future in the Middle East, because that kind of growth can continue … Talking about TV, there should be good double-digit growth over the medium term."

Mr Barnett said MBC's revenue increased last year.

"It was good growth, particularly towards the end of the year," he said. "Globally, there's a big opportunity in the region, given that there is an under-spend in the advertising market. Long term we still think the Middle East is vastly undervalued. So we should see the market increase for the next five years."

More than 106 million people watch MBC's television channels on a daily basis, according to the group. The broadcaster has also started offering a video-on-demand service through its web portal Shahid.net.

Mr Barnett said web revenues were "growing at a much higher rate" than the rest of the market.

"It's still reasonably small as a percentage," he added. "But in growth-rate terms, there's a much higher rate of growth online.

"So we would continue to input investment and watch that grow."