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’

  • 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.”


News Corp. Australia’s push for digitization to lead to job losses

Updated 28 May 2020

News Corp. Australia’s push for digitization to lead to job losses

News Corp. Australia said it would restructure its organization to focus on digital publishing, a move that will also lead to job losses.
Scores of regional and community titles will be published only digitally from June 29 under the reorganization, the Australian arm of the mass media and publishing firm News Corp. said in a statement on Wednesday.
The company did not specify how many jobs could be lost, but Australian media reported up to 1,000 staff could be axed as a result of the restructuring.
It said its print publications had become unsustainable amid the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of revenue to digital platforms that use its content without payment.
“To meet these changing trends, we are reshaping News Corp. Australia to focus on where consumers and businesses are moving and to strengthen our position as Australia’s leading digital news media company,” News Corp. Australasia Executive Chairman Michael Miller said.
News Corp. incurred an impairment charge of $1.1 billion in the third quarter ended March 31, primarily related to a write-down at its struggling Australian pay television unit, Foxtel.