DMI taps MEMS to sell advertising across all brands

Middle East Media Services signs a five-year contract to sell advertising across all of DMI's recently expanded portfolio of brands.

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Middle East Media Services (MEMS), a subsidiary of the Choueiri Group, has signed a five-year contract to sell advertising across all of Dubai Media Incorporated's (DMI) recently expanded portfolio of brands. The deal, signed last month, is the first signal so far of how DMI plans to commercialise its new print, radio and television holdings, which were transferred to the company from its cousin, Arab Media Group (AMG), by decrees from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, last autumn. "For us, it's basically a consolidation and a strategic partnership with DMI," said Ghassan Harfouche, the managing director of MEMS. "It also reconfirms the value that our company can bring to media owners, and has brought to DMI." MEMS has sold advertising on DMI's holdings since 2000, and signed its most recent five-year contract in 2004. Until recently, this meant that it sold mostly television advertising for DMI's bouquet, which includes Dubai TV, Dubai One, Sama Dubai, Dubai Sports Channel and Dubai Racing Channel. It also sold advertising for Al Bayan, the Arabic-language newspaper originally owned by DMI but given to AMG when the TECOM Investments-owned media company was founded in 2005. Al Bayan was given back to DMI in September, and was soon followed by AMG's other print properties, including Emirates Business 24/7 and Emarat Al Youm, Noor Dubai TV and radio stations, as well as the company's printing subsidiary, Masar. By the end of the transfers, AMG, which started last year with about 2,000 employees, had about 300. Its chief executive, Abdullatif al Sayegh, resigned last week. Only the Arabian Radio Network, Arabian Television Network (including MTV Arabia and Nickelodeon Arabia), Shoof Outdoor advertising, Done Events, Fulcrum Relationship Marketing and Tawseel distribution are left at AMG. Viacom, the owner of the MTV and Nickelodeon brands, took over operational control of its channels at AMG last autumn. DMI could not be reached for comment. With the bulk of Dubai's media assets brought under one umbrella and, now, being sold by one company, DMI has the opportunity to sell advertising packages to its clients that cross media borders, Mr Harfouche said. "I think this consolidation will allow us to develop a better solution, with time, for our clients by trying to work on a combination of platforms," he said.