Ramadan: ‘The Super Bowl of Mideast advertising’

Ramadan: ‘The Super Bowl of Mideast advertising’
Iraqi actors prepare to perform their roles in ‘The Hotel’ in Baghdad. ‘The Hotel’ is Iraq’s first TV drama in seven years. (AP Photo)
Updated 07 May 2019

Ramadan: ‘The Super Bowl of Mideast advertising’

Ramadan: ‘The Super Bowl of Mideast advertising’
  • People spend an average of eight hours a day watching video content during the Muslim Holy Month
  • Investments in digital advertising almost doubled to $63.6 million during Ramadan last year, while advertising on TV increased by 6 percent

LONDON: If the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of the US ad calendar, its equivalent in the Arab world is Ramadan, when media consumption — and advertising — spikes.
People spend an average of eight hours a day watching video content during the Muslim Holy Month, while activity on digital video platforms rises by 122 percent, according to a report by advertising agency Spark Foundry in Saudi Arabia.
It found that investments in digital advertising almost doubled to $63.6 million during Ramadan last year, while advertising on TV increased by 6 percent.
“Ramadan, especially in the GCC, always comes with a heavy activity across media touch points,” the report noted.
“Ramadan is considered to be the Super Bowl of the Middle East. Digital usership peaks from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. while TV consumption peaks from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., with comedy shows, drama series and game shows taking the lead in content.”
In Iraq, Ramadan viewers will be treated to Iraq’s first TV drama since 2012 — “The Hotel.”
Despite digital advertising having seen the biggest growth in spending during Ramadan, the Middle East’s biggest TV broadcaster MBC Group says it is “bullish” on the market outlook going forward.
The Dubai-based group is airing blockbuster Ramadan productions such as “Al-Asouf 2” (“Wind of Change”) and “Al-Zelzal” (“The Earthquake”) this year.
“The advertising market is currently going through a phase of ‘transformation’,” said Mazen Hayek, MBC Group’s official spokesman.
“MBC remains committed to investing in and offering the best available premium content that’s acclaimed and watched by millions of Arabs across MENA, during Ramadan and beyond. In sum, we’re bullish and optimistic about the future.”