Omnicom CEO says digital advertising up $30m in 2010

Market poised to grow ‘several percent’ per year, says CEO Elie Khouri; UAE largest hub
Omnicom CEO says digital advertising up $30m in 2010
MEDIA BOSS: CEO of Omnicom Media Group Elie Khouri says the UAE is leading the digital revolution
By Karen Leigh
Wed 09 Feb 2011 12:15 PM

Digital media advertising in the MENA region has grown from $120m to $150m since March as mobile and social media ads take a wider slice of advertising revenues, the CEO of Omnicom Media Group said Tuesday.

Elie Khouri said the UAE is leading the digital revolution, thanks to its “120 percent mobile penetration,” brought about by residents owning two or three lines.

The Middle East advertising market is worth about $3bn; smaller than traditional powerhouses like Europe. Digital media has around a five percent stake, smaller than that seen in more mature advertising markets.

“Digital advertising is everywhere on the net – PC, phone, tablet, future internet-connected TV,” Khouri told Arabian Business. “That’s versus analog media – print, paper, magazines and television.

“I’m one of the bullish and optimistic ones [on digital advertising], though a lot of people will say it’s worth $100m. It’s going up several percentage points a year. Television is going up eight to nine percent. Print is shrinking.”

Khouri is considered one of the pioneers of advertising and digital marketing in the region.

He said the heightened interaction with consumers is the driving force behind the switch from traditional advertising mediums.

“There are many layers to digital ads, you get more info – the old model was just ‘push and pull.’ Clients want it because it’s much more accountable.”

Advertisers can now see personal details for their consumer targets and how many people viewed each ad – and how they responded.

Khouri said that with a new widespread acceptance of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, that would change.

He grouped users into two sides – the natives, who grew up in the digital age, and those over 30 who have had to learn the tech skills after growing up with print and television mediums.

The growth of the digital advertising industry in MENA – with the UAE its hub – will depend on significant investment from clients looking to try new media solutions, Khouri said.

“Investments in digital can grow – it depends on speed, and in that on broadband penetration,” he said.

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