Saudi Research & Media Group appoints Saudi Media Company as Exclusive Media Representative

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with SMC in the presence of CEO Jomana Al-Rashid. (Supplied)
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The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with SMC in the presence of CEO Jomana Al-Rashid. (Supplied)
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with SMC in the presence of CEO Jomana Al-Rashid. (Supplied)
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The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with SMC in the presence of CEO Jomana Al-Rashid. (Supplied)
SRMG and SMC logos. (Supplied)
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SRMG and SMC logos. (Supplied)
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Updated 11 November 2021

Saudi Research & Media Group appoints Saudi Media Company as Exclusive Media Representative

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with SMC in the presence of CEO Jomana Al-Rashid. (Supplied)
  • The Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG) has appointed the Saudi Media Company (SMC) as its exclusive media representative
  • Representation contract covers commercial advertising sales across all SRMG brands, outlets and platforms, with immediate effect

Riyadh: The Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG) has appointed the Saudi Media Company (SMC), a leader in digital advertising sales across the Middle East, as its exclusive media representative. Based on the agreement, SMC will handle commercial advertising sales for all SRMG brands and platforms, including audio-visual, print and digital, effective November 8th, 2021.

SMC is one of the leading advertising sales providers with extensive experience in diverse advertising solutions. A pioneer in the adoption of digital advancements and technologies, SMC has solidified its leadership position in the Middle East’s advertising sector.

This partnership will strengthen SRMG's position as a leading premium content provider, publisher and broadcaster by providing a wider reach and new opportunities to trailblazing brands and advertisers across markets.

Jomana R. Al-Rashid, Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Research and Media Group, said: "We have recently announced our transformation strategy to become a data led, technology enabled, digital-first, social-first media hub, and to create quality smart content that is unique and exclusive, reinforcing SRMG’s position as the leading trusted source for news and information from and to the Middle East.

“We have set ambitious performance targets for ourselves, and strategic partnerships have always been a critical success factor. With the signing of this agreement, we are announcing SMC as a key strategic partner to SRMG. This partnership allows for optimization, efficiencies, and revenue enhancement that ultimately will result in a better experience for our users and advertisers, as well as yield higher returns for our shareholders. We are excited about this partnership and eager to begin working together with the teams at SMC.” 

Mohammed Alkhereiji, Chairman, Saudi Media Company, said: “This partnership reinforces SMC’s objectives of giving clients in the region access to our extensive experience in digital transformation and data analysis, including the use of artificial intelligence. Through this, we can   stimulate creativity and competitiveness and unlock innovative opportunities provided by our company’s expanding network and strategic services. With such partnerships, we aim to strengthen SMC’s regional position and support the advertising sector’s development by introducing exceptional solutions for media outlets, including their digital platforms and social networks.

“This partnership also reinforces SMC's portfolio of premium media outlets and provides new ways for our clients to reach their target audiences. We’re looking forward to exploring innovative opportunities across the full breadth of SRMG’s media titles, including its high-growth digital and social platforms.”

Driven by a newly appointed executive team, and listed on the Tadawul Saudi Stock Exchange in Riyadh, SRMG is focused on delivering original, exclusive and premium content to consumers through digital and social platforms, as well as strengthening its cable and satellite reach. SRMG recently announced a growth strategy which leverages the Group’s data and technology strengths to develop new products and services, enhance monetization capabilities and diversify revenue streams. SRMG owns more than 30 Tier-1 media titles and outlets including: Asharq Al-Awsat, Asharq News and Arab News, among others.


Bloomberg announces 2022 Gender-Equality Index, names WPP for 4th consecutive year

Bloomberg announces 2022 Gender-Equality Index, names WPP for 4th consecutive year
Updated 1 min 13 sec ago

Bloomberg announces 2022 Gender-Equality Index, names WPP for 4th consecutive year

Bloomberg announces 2022 Gender-Equality Index, names WPP for 4th consecutive year
  • GEI tracks the performance of public companies committed to advancing gender equality in the workplace

DUBAI: Multinational advertising and communication group WPP has been named in the 2022 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for the fourth consecutive year.

WPP CEO Mark Read said that the company is a “people business” and its “client work directly benefits from having diversity in our teams.”

He added: “We’re proud of our recognition in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, which reflects our continued investment in our people and culture, and our progress in driving greater gender balance throughout the company.”

Peter T. Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg, said: “We are proud to recognize WPP and the other 417 companies included in the 2022 GEI for their commitment to transparency and setting a new standard in gender-related data reporting.”

The Index tracks the performance of public companies committed to advancing gender equality in the workplace, and helps bring transparency to gender-related practices and policies at publicly-listed companies around the world, increasing the environmental, social, governance (ESG) data available to investors.

This year, Bloomberg lost a total of 418 companies representing a combined market capitalization of $16 trillion from across 45 territories.

A record number of companies disclosed their data for this year’s GEI by using the GEI Framework, marking a 20 percent increase year-over-year.

The GEI Framework scores companies across five pillars: Female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, anti-sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand. Bloomberg also requests information from other expanded areas to support the broader goal of providing more robust ESG data to investors.

“Even though the threshold for inclusion in the GEI has risen, the member list continues to grow. This is a testament that more companies are working to improve upon their gender-related metrics, fostering more opportunity for diverse talent to succeed in their organizations,” said Grauer.


Iran state TV shows dissidents’ images after apparent hack

Iran state TV shows dissidents’ images after apparent hack
Updated 27 January 2022

Iran state TV shows dissidents’ images after apparent hack

Iran state TV shows dissidents’ images after apparent hack
  • The hack represented a major breach of Iranian state television
  • For several seconds, graphics flashed on screen showing the leaders of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq

DUBAI: Channels of Iran’s state television broadcast images Thursday showing the leaders of an exiled dissident group and a graphic demanding the country’s supreme leader be killed, an incident that state TV later described as a hack.
For several seconds, graphics flashed on screen showing the leaders of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and the name of a social media account, which claimed to be a group of hackers who broadcast the message honoring the dissidents.
The MEK, now largely based in Albania, did not immediately answer telephone calls seeking comment.
The hack represented a major breach of Iranian state television, long believed to controlled and operated by members of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence branches, particularly its hard-line Revolutionary Guard. Such an incident hasn’t happened for years.
Iran’s state TV acknowledged the breach as a “hack,” saying the case was “under investigation.”
A clip of the incident seen by the AP showed the faces of MEK leaders Massoud Rajavi and his wife, Maryam Rajavi, suddenly superimposed on the channel’s regular 3 p.m. news programming. A man’s voice chants, “Salute to Rajavi, death to (supreme leader) Khamenei.”
Then, a speech from Rajavi briefly plays over the images. He can be heard saying, “Today, we still honor the time that we declared death to the reactionary. We stood by it ...”
Massoud Rajavi hasn’t been seen publicly in nearly two decades and is presumed to have died. Maryam Rajavi now runs the MEK.
The MEK began as a socialist organization against the rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It claimed and was suspected in a series of attacks against US officials in Iran in the 1970s, something the group now denies.
It supported the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but soon had a falling out with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and turned against the clerical regime. It carried out a series of assassinations and bombings targeting the young Islamic Republic.
The MEK later fled into Iraq and backed dictator Saddam Hussein during his bloody eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s. That saw many oppose the group in Iran, though to this day it claims to operate a network inside of the country.


Advertising Business Group brings award-winning qualification programs to MENA region

Advertising Business Group brings award-winning qualification programs to MENA region
Updated 27 January 2022

Advertising Business Group brings award-winning qualification programs to MENA region

Advertising Business Group brings award-winning qualification programs to MENA region
  • Programs include the IPA’s Foundation Certificate and Excellence Diplomas in Brands and Business

DUBAI: The UAE-based Advertising Business Group has partnered with the UK-based Institute of Practitioners in Advertising to bring the latter’s training programs to the region.

The IPA’s professional development program has so far helped 30,870 delegates in 87 countries expand their understanding and skills related to advertising.

“As communication becomes increasingly globally interconnected, it is vital that learning and development is available to as many people as possible all over the world, so we can share expertise, language and experience to deliver better work for our clients and agencies,” said Louise Hinchliffe, the IPA’s associate director of professional development.

ABG members will get discounted access to a range of IPA qualifications, including the entry-level Foundation Certificate, and Excellence Diplomas in Brands and Business.

“Knowledge- and capability-building is a key pillar of the ABG, and we are committed to providing the MENA advertising and marketing industry with the latest resources and tools to create accountable and effective marketing,” said ABG chairman Sanjiv Kakkar, the executive vice-president of Unilever MENA, in a statement.

“This partnership will go a long way in helping strengthen talent, growing the industry and raising standards,” he added.

The two bodies are running an introductory workshop for ABG members on February 3, which will include a presentation from Sera Holland, author of “IPA Effectiveness Essentials” and co-chair of the IPA Excellence Diploma in Brands.


Spotify removing Neil Young’s music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum

Spotify removing Neil Young’s music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum
Updated 27 January 2022

Spotify removing Neil Young’s music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum

Spotify removing Neil Young’s music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum
  • ‘Spotify has become the home of life threatening COVID misinformation. Lies being sold for money’

Neil Young’s music is being removed from Spotify’s streaming service after the singer-songwriter objected to his songs playing on the same platform that offers Joe Rogan’s podcast, the company and the musician said on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, Young had released a letter addressed to his manager and record label, Warner Music Group , demanding that Spotify no longer carry his music because he said Rogan spreads misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
On Wednesday, the “Heart of Gold” and “Rocking In the Free World” singer thanked his record label for “standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify,” and he encouraged other musicians to do the same.
“Spotify has become the home of life threatening COVID misinformation,” he said on his website. “Lies being sold for money.”
The Swedish company said it worked to balance “both safety for listeners and freedom for creators” and had removed more than 20,000 podcast episodes related COVID-19 in accordance with its “detailed content policies.”
“We regret Neil’s decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon,” Spotify said in a statement.
Rogan, 54, is the host of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the top-rated podcast on Spotify, which holds exclusive rights to the program.
He has stirred controversy with his views on the pandemic, government mandates and vaccines to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, 270 scientists and medical professionals signed a letter urging Spotify to take action against Rogan, accusing him of spreading falsehoods on the podcast.
Young, 76, said Spotify accounted for 60 percent of the streaming of his music to listeners around the world. The removal is “a huge loss for my record company to absorb,” he said.


VMLY&R Commerce appoints Nazia Khan as head of growth for MENA region

VMLY&R Commerce appoints Nazia Khan as head of growth for MENA region
Updated 27 January 2022

VMLY&R Commerce appoints Nazia Khan as head of growth for MENA region

VMLY&R Commerce appoints Nazia Khan as head of growth for MENA region
  • Khan, joining from Outform, will work closely with MENA CEO Nick Walsh

DUBAI: VMLY&R COMMERCE, WPP’s creative commerce agency, has appointed Nazia Khan to the newly formed role of head of growth for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Khan will work closely with MENA CEO Nick Walsh to enhance the agency’s growth plans and business opportunities by opening new verticals across existing sectors.

“We are delighted to welcome Nazia to the team. She comes with a proven track record of driving growth across EMEA and her drive and ambition match strongly with our own,” said Walsh.

The agency enjoyed organic client growth in the last quarter of 2021 as online commerce boomed.

Khan will work with existing clients to integrate the agency’s creative commerce offering into business plans as well as look to further develop the roster of clients across sectors including FMCG, beauty, automotive, technology, consumer electronics and retail.

“We are in a hyper-growth region and the recent explosion of commerce means we need talent like Nazia who can help identify and support clients to reach their goals across the unified commerce landscape,” Walsh added.

Khan previously worked at Outform, a global retail agency where she was the business development director for EMEA and managed multi-million sales channels with a focus on retail transformation clients.

“VMLY&R COMMERCE is the largest end-to-end creative commerce company in the world and I look forward to engaging clients in the pivotal role that the agency can play in leveraging its powerful creative commerce portfolio to drive brand growth,” said Khan.