Du to double investment in digital media advertising

The UAE telecoms operator du plans to double the proportion of advertising it places on digital media in the next two years.

The telecoms operator du plans to double the amount of advertising it places on digital media over the next two years.

Osman Sultan, the chief executive of du, says that the company is aiming to devote more than 14 per cent of its advertising budget to online media by 2013.

"Digital media in 2010 represented a bit more than 7 per cent of our spending. I'm expecting this to double in the next two years," he said.

Telecoms companies rank as the highest advertising spenders in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to the Pan Arab Research Centre.

Zain, STC and Mobily top the list of the largest advertisers in the region last year, according to PARC. Du ranks 23rd in the region, ahead of players such as McDonald's, Toyota and Gillette, according to PARC.

Mr Sultan was speaking at this week's Dubai International Advertising Festival, which also comprises the Dubai Lynx advertising awards.

He was taking part in a debate moderated by Martin Newland, editorial director at The National.

Mohamed Fawzi, marketing director at BMW Middle East, was also on the panel.

Mr Fawzi said that BMW is currently "spending around 10 per cent" of its total Middle East advertising budget on digital media.

He said that general levels of advertising spending on digital media was behind that of the developed world.

"We are definitely behind the developed world. The main reason is the absence or the low quality of the CRM [customer relationship management] and sales management systems here. Whatever is happening online is not linked to the sales system directly," said Mr Fawzi.