Digital sandstorm approaching?

Growth in digital platforms set to outperform traditional media

The growth of digital is now noticeably impacting the advertising medium mix across MENA. As Middle East consumers shift from traditional print media to multiple platforms, media companies will need to provide more targeted campaigns and demonstrate clearer return on investment to stay relevant.


Internet advertising is beginning to develop good momentum.Though still a low base, internet advertising in the MENA region is expected to grow at an average of 28% per annum from 2013 to 2017, trebling in value from US$303m in 2012 to US$1.04bn in 2017. This growth is due to fast-increasing internet penetration, growing average disposable
incomes in the GCC countries and the prospects for online retailing and e-commerce.

Mobile internet advertising in MENA still represents a very small proportion at 3% and is relatively immature but is forecast to grow at 33% per annum. In the US, mobile advertising is already 10% of the total internet advertising. The accelerating penetration of smart phones and tablets across the region and the fact that for many accessing the internet can only be achieved through mobile, leads us to believe that business will increasing focus and invest on mobile as an advertising channel.


TV advertising spend itself in the MENA region represents the largest portion of advertising spend at approximately 40% of the total in 2012 and remains resilient. We are some years away from the full arrival of the online generation, which may herald a greater shift of advertising spend in the region from TV towards the internet.

Newspaper publishing still remains an important communication platform in the MENA region despite the increasing internet penetration and heavy investment in the online and mobile services to serve the young “Arab Digital Generation”. We forecast that circulation revenues will increase at 1.3% per annum. However this does not compensate for 
forecast 2.2% decline in advertising revenue with newspapers in the MENA region beginning to face the same challenges from the internet as is the case in more mature markets.