By Karen Leigh
Opens office in Abu Dhabi; says region could see ‘most growth’ for advertising industry
Jean-Charles Decaux, the co-CEO of JCDecaux, the world’s largest outdoor sign company by revenues, said the UAE was a market that could see the most growth for the billboard industry.
“The UAE is one of the major potential development areas within the outdoor environment in the world,” he told Arabian Business.
The France-based media giant opened an office in Abu Dhabi this week.
Decaux said MENA business counted for four percent of the company’s overall development and revenues, though, highlighting the region’s impressive GCC-led growth, “it was a nonexistent region for us four years ago.”
In 2010, the company’s revenues soared 22.5 percent, hitting $2.35bn. Organic revenues were up 9.1 percent.
The country began Middle East operations in 2007, with Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. It also runs 500 signs across the Dubai International and Sharjah airports.
Decaux said he had not seen any serious business fallout from the unrest currently sweeping the Arab world, though outdoor signs are usually targets of mobs.
In North Africa, the company operates only in Algeria, where unrest was limited compared with neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt.
“We think outdoor remains a very appealing media proposition in the region,” he said.
In October, JCDecaux made its biggest move to date in the GCC, securing exclusive rights to signage and billboards in all of Saudi Arabia’s 26 airports.
“We are basically now operating the airports, and business is starting to be rolled out,” he said.
“We started operations gradually at the end of last year and this year [we’re expanding] on a much bigger scale. We are establishing our footprints.”
JCDecaux should open up to the SME that provide quality work with quality large format digital printing machines and that also can propose innovative ideas. The region has great potential for the outdoor industry but lacks the modern innovative approach to problem solving, the appropriate statistics and information and more importatly the introduction of disciplined regulated outdoor environment coupled with deep undrestanding of the local culture.