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Thu 1 Jul 2010 08:56 AM

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Media chiefs predict social networking ad 'explosion'

Advertisers moving away from traditional media with GCC set to benefit, say experts.

Media chiefs predict social networking ad 'explosion'

Three of the world’s biggest media gurus are predicting a huge boost in social media advertising, with the GCC likely to be among the biggest beneficiaries.

The words of global heavyweights, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft vice-president Darren Huston, are being echoed by local giant Omnicom Media Group boss Elie Khouri. All three are gearing up for “explosive” growth in the sector.

At the recent Cannes Lions advertising festival, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, predicted: “Everything will revolve around people and being social and facilitating is key."

Meanwhile Microsoft – which has already penned deals with both Facebook and Twitter, says the growth could be particularly string on the online video market.“Online video is very hot. It’s gone from when nobody wanted to advertise on it to now (when) there is not enough online video inventory for a lot of the big advertisers,” said Microsoft corporate vice president Darren Huston.

Omnicom Media Group's Elie Khouri, voted the world’s 17th most powerful Arab earlier this year, stated: “I think the biggest shift we will see, and in fact are already seeing, is the big players gradually turning their backs on traditional forms of media and embracing the digital platform a lot more.” Digital advertising now accounts for around $120m a year in the MENA region — or nearly four percent of the estimated real worth of the industry, itself close to $3bn.

Khouri's projection is that by end of 2013 the digital market could account for half the television advertising market.

“That’s the feeback we are getting from clients. They want to engage with their customers in the fastest and most efficient way, and a lot more of them see social media as the way to that. The result could be explosive growth,” Khouri added.

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