By Shane McGinley
The system will see a device, known as a PeopleMeter, placed in select residences across the UAE
The UAE is to launch the region’s first TV audience measurement system, the WAM news agency confirmed on Saturday.
The Television Audience Measurement (TAM) project will be developed following an agreement signed by a number of media and telecoms partners, including the National Media Council (NMC), Abu Dhabi Media Company, Dubai Media Incorporated, Sharjah Media Corporation, Etisalat, du and Kantar Media.
The TAM project will involve a device known as a PeopleMeter, which will be placed in a selection of residence across the emirates and will be used to collate statistics on the country’s TV viewing habits.
The licences for the setting up of the ratings company, to be known as the Emirates Media Measurement Company, will be issued by the National Media Council.
“The project aims to generate ratings that will be used as a currency of trade for the media industry,” it was claimed in a report by the WAM news agency.
"This project represents a milestone for the media industry in the UAE. This will provide a base of information for decision making on advertising campaigns,” the National Media Council stated.
In June, researchers at AT Kearney claimed the launch of a pan-Arab TV audience measurement system could create more than $2bn worth of extra revenue for media companies.
AT Kearney said television was by far the most important advertisement channel in the Middle East (almost half of advertising revenues and 90 percent of pan-Arab campaigns), and therefore also the most important channel for pan Arab advertising revenue growth.
"However, the research highlights that absence of reliable TV audience measurement systems is a barrier to growth, and is a key reason why per-capita advertising spend in the Middle East is up to 30 times lower than in markets with such systems," the report added.
Dr Martin Fabel, partner and senior media expert, AT Kearney Middle East, said: "Robust audience measurement is important for the media sector as a whole. It will not only help advertisers and channels optimise value, but also attract investment from non-regional companies by improving transparency and reducing risks.
"Eventually audience measurement will drive significant changes in the media landscape and initiate a shake-out of winners and losers," he added.
Note to Shane ... the first TV measurement system has been installed and active in Lebanon for ages, so UAE will be the second country in the region to use it.