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Mon 19 Sep 2016 04:11 PM

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MENA ad market worth $5.5bn, slower take-up of digital

New report highlights 'weak but stable growth'; says many digital opportunities yet to be realised in Middle East

MENA ad market worth $5.5bn, slower take-up of digital
(Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

The advertising market in the Middle East and North Africa is estimated to have been worth $5.5 billion in 2015, representing weak but stable growth.

A study by Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) in cooperation with the Doha Film Institute showed a slow expansion of ad revenue in the MENA region.

It said the regional ad market is echoing global trends and is "undergoing fundamental changes due to changing dynamics and the increased use of digital media".

The report found that digital still represents only 10 percent of ad spend, compared to 30-35 percent spend on print.

Collectively, it said MENA countries trail other regions in innovation and adoption of new technologies with many of the opportunities of digital advertising yet to be realised, despite high levels of digital consumption in the region.

The study reported that over the past five years, the industry has shown a weak but stable growth in the MENA region.

"Disruption across the media industries largely driven by new, digital developments and the displacement of traditional media outlets, is the nature of advertising revenue globally and in the region," said Everette E Dennis, dean and CEO of Northwestern University in Qatar.

The report said market structure of advertising buyers and agencies in MENA is highly fragmented, with the strong presence and influence of international players. A number of acquisitions are taking place, mainly by international players seeking to break into or expand their presence in the region.

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