New report highlights COVID-19’s impact on ad market

A woman wearing a protective face mask is seen at a shop selling office wear for men and women amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan July 26, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 27 July 2020

New report highlights COVID-19’s impact on ad market

  • The pandemic has forced many consumers, and therefore businesses and marketers, to go online
  • This has resulted in digital advertising making up for more than 50 percent of all advertising

DUBAI: Global advertising expenditure will shrink 9.1 percent in 2020, according to Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecasts. This is similar to the 2009 recession when ad spend dropped by 9.5 percent.
The US is reported to have been relatively resilient, benefiting from record political spending in the run-up to the presidential elections in November. However, ad spend in the Middle East and North Africa region is expected to decline by 20 percent.
The pandemic has forced many consumers, and therefore businesses and marketers, to go online, resulting in digital advertising making up for more than 50 percent of all advertising.
According to global research by Criteo, in recent months 53 percent of consumers have discovered at least one form of online shopping that they plan to continue. Combined with the decreasing footfalls in retail stores, this means that businesses will have to rethink their digital transformation strategies with data and insight at the core. It’s now more important than ever before for brands to personalize their approach to consumers.
“Brands need to show consumers that they understand their rapidly evolving needs in this uncertain time,” said Christian Lee, managing director of Zenith Worldwide. “So we are helping our clients integrate their data, digital communications and e-commerce approaches, and leverage them more deeply to deliver personalized experiences throughout the fast-changing customer journey.”
This digital transformation means that brands are shifting more money away from traditional advertising, despite digital ad budgets being cut in the first phase of the pandemic. As a result, digital ad spend is forecasted to shrink by just 2 percent in 2020.
“The coronavirus forced brands to embrace digital advertising even faster than expected and made digital transformation of businesses more urgent than ever,” said Jonathan Barnard, Zenith’s head of forecasting. “This year will be the first in which digital advertising will attract more than half of total global ad spend, a milestone we previously expected in 2021.”


Lebanese news agency boycotts politicians’ press conferences, including Hezbollah’s Nasrallah

Updated 07 August 2020

Lebanese news agency boycotts politicians’ press conferences, including Hezbollah’s Nasrallah

  • The Lebanese news agency LBCI has said it will no longer provide coverage of any politician’s press conference, including Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
  • “Let your accomplishments speak for you and don’t distract people with storytelling,” an LBCI presenter said

LONDON: The Lebanese news agency LBCI has said it will no longer provide coverage of any politician’s press conference, including Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, following Tuesday’s massive explosions.

“The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International decided that what comes after Aug. 4 is not like what came before,” a presenter announced on live television on Friday.

“Because after the earthquake is not the same as before, because your (Lebanese government) neglect and failure is one of the main reasons for what we have come to ... because after Aug. 4, we need actions and not words, achievements and not speeches.

“Let your accomplishments speak for you and don’t distract people with storytelling,” she said.

“Finally, we tell people: While you are waiting for the speeches of your leaders, there are mothers who are waiting for the return of their children from the rubble — the priority is for them, not for you.”

Many Lebanese welcomed LBCI’s announcement, with several taking to social media to praise the move — especially given that Nasrallah spoke at a press conference at 5:30 p.m. local time, his first address since the blasts.

“Not only Nasrallah, but all speeches, by all parties. They are nothing more than propaganda. They own their own propaganda bullhorns, so let them use those to address their sheep, rather than block the airwaves for the rest of us,” Raghda Azad, a policy adviser, told Arab News.

“Not that LBC is a model or anything, but all television outlets should stop unquestioning and uncritical reports of so-called leaders,” she added.

However, some doubt the move will not be followed by other stations.

“I think it would be great if they all do. But I think because many people care what he says, stations feel like they should oblige,” Aya Chamseddine, a Beirut-based researcher, told Arab News.

“Generally, people tend to — even if they loathe him — root themselves in front of TVs to watch and listen. His speeches are theatrics above all,” she said. “His narrative will be predictable. He will say they know more than anyone what it means to lose people. He’ll be insulting.”

A Lebanese media expert, who did not want to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, disagrees with the move.

“CNN, even when it hates (US President) Trump, carries his speeches. Nasrallah is the biggest political player in the region; when he speaks people would want to listen because of his effect on politics and our daily lives,” he said.

“The issue is analyzing what he says later, and tearing it apart when it is false or stupid, like CNN does after every Trump speech or statement.”

The boycott comes three days after Beirut was rocked by two blasts when 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate confiscated six years ago and left in a port storage hangar exploded.

The massive explosions left at least 140 people dead, over 5,000 injured and more than 300,000 homeless. Many say that government corruption and negligence are behind the explosion.