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Mon 1 Jan 2007 12:00 AM

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Media counts

The media industry is evolving quicker than most in the region, but companies have yet to fully value its significance. Mohamed Elzubeir reveals why it’s time to maximize the use of the rapidly growing sector.

Media monitoring was once a traditional task, part of the daily routine in many corporate communications and public relations consultancies. Now, it has come of age and proved itself to be worth every penny you spend on your company’s communication.

The Middle East’s media sector is experiencing an exponential boom as magazines, newspapers, television, radio stations, and websites expand everyday. In whatever form, exposure matters. This makes monitoring media coverage more challenging, especially in this region.

But a piece of information or the number of mentions your company gets in the media does not necessarily mean you have received the right exposure. Clipping after clipping will simply pile up on your desk and will be useless information if it isn’t analysed.

Media is a serious business and studies have shown how its influence can dramatically change perception. It will certainly add significant value if intelligence casting goes to the monitoring of your media coverage. An analysis of how the exposure fares along with the other reports of the day will certainly give a new dimension to the way your communications are being handled. For instance, employing a public relations consultancy nowadays is very useful as it is increasingly viewed beyond being an additional marketing tool.

PR is considered as the most effective means of publicly communicating a company’s message, ensuring positive investor and governmental relations. When crisis knocks on your door, they are the first to come to your rescue.

It is important to have an intelligent overview of your performance in various media. If it takes a while before you realise how relevant one source of information is from another, then you are slimming the opportunities you might have decided on in the early stages.

Measurement of your campaign performance should be based on the share of voice, coverage reach and size, advertising value equivalent, prominence and tonality. Media monitoring is beyond a pile of clippings, it should consist of reports and details of your campaign’s performance, comparison of performance in relation to competitors, statistical analysis of press coverage in different countries and publications, including breakdown according to types of coverage received. This way, you can measure the real value of your communication efforts. There are over a thousand media outlets across the Middle East. Thanks to cutting-edge technology your press releases can be comprehensively monitored and the reports sent directly to your email the following day.

Media monitoring has grown as a global industry supported by network technologies. For instance, we have partnered with a Canadian-based technology company called ‘inewsnetwork’ which enables media monitoring firms to source, share, and re-distribute out-of-market media content to clients from local, national, and international sources. The network shares and distributes content that reaches all major media markets in 80 countries on five different continents and offers coverage of print, broadcast, and newswire media.

In the Middle East, this system is still new. The use of web-based platforms in providing advanced real-time media intelligence solutions that can give better leverage to businesses in media monitoring and analysis, and in the most efficient and affordable manner.

Some agencies or companies may be hesitant to go through the long, drawn-out process of negotiations and meetings in their media communication efforts for reasons such as budget constraints. Also, the immediacy of having comprehensive results straight away in order be able to make decisions is also of prime consideration.

With the media’s growth in the Middle East, businesses will eventually have to consider that their coverage should be part of their core strategy programmes. After all they are the gateway to their targeted audience of investors and end consumers. The need to continue upgrading public communication standards will pay off not only for an individual company’s benefit, but also for the efficiency in the way we all do business. The media will continue to evolve as a tool for expanding the reach of businesses and it is important to maximize any possible advantage it can offer.

“The media will continue to evolve as a tool for expanding the reach of businesses and it is important to maximize any possible advantage it can offer.”

Mr Mohamed Elzubeir is the managing director of Mediastow, a Dubai-based media intelligence firm, which also opened recently in Saudi Arabia

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