Despite the impact of the global economic conditions, the media industry in the Middle East region has remained dynamic and independent, providing a unique set of opportunities and challenges, according to Mohammad Abdullah, Executive Director of Dubai Media City.
Abdullah’s comments came during his keynote speech at the 5th Annual WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference and Workshop, organized by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), and supported by International Media Production Zone (IMPZ), the free zone dedicated to the printing, publishing, media production, packaging and graphic art industries and a member of TECOM Investments.
Held at the Grand Millennium Dubai, on 2-3 February 2010, the conference was attended by Saeed Al Falasi, Executive Director, IMPZ, and around 100 industry leaders. The event aimed to help publishers reorient their operations, seek and share new business models, as well as determine the right tools necessary to execute their strategies, based on the combined strengths of print and digital platforms.
Abdullah, who was also the conference chairman, highlighted why publishers need to change their strategies and remain creative to survive in today’s economic environment. He also pointed out that media businesses need to specifically understand what makes the region’s print industry so distinct in order to take advantage of the abundant growth opportunities.
Abdullah said: “The print media dominates the overall advertising revenues, despite a generally low concentration of newspapers in the region. In fact, during 2009 we saw new entrants thriving despite the global economic crisis as the key to survival for such brands as well the established names depended largely on the opportunities provided by a marked shift towards cross-platform advertising packages.
“As advertisers in 2009 began to demand improved efficiency, media outlets responded by offering cross-platform pricing packages. These packages which included online, print and in some cases broadcast offerings, were embraced by advertisers, who changed their budget allocation practices to categorize spending by companies rather than platform.”
Representatives of well-known media companies that participated at the conference included Kjell Aamot, former CEO of Schibsted Media Group, Norway; Phillip Crawley, Publisher and CEO, The Globe and Mail, Canada; Chris Lloyd, Assistent Managing Editor, Telegraph Media Group, UK; Theo Blanco, Head of Sales and Marketing, UNT media group, Sweden; and Martin Dome, Deputy Editor, Nottingham Post, UK.
The system workshop, held concurrently, witnessed the participation of companies such as Atex, KnowledgeView, Microsoft, OneVision and Quark, offering a hands-on experience of their systems and applications to delegates and trade visitors.