An ‘Outlook’ for Arab media between 2009-2013
The Arab Media Outlook 2009-2013 published by the Dubai Press Club provides interesting predictions and an analysis of the region’s Internet landscape.
First, there’s the sobering fact that the range of broadband penetration across Arab countries is extremely disparate. It ranges from 0-1 percent in emerging markets like Syria and Sudan and to up to 84 percent in Qatar.
Imagine that. What a huge digital divide!
However, the report also shows that broadband penetration across the board is likely to rapidly grow in every Arab country and this growth will be driven by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two of the largest countries in the region, who together will make up 70 percent of total broadband subscriptions by 2013.
The fact our region is one of the youngest in the world is a principal factor driving this growth, and is resulting in an explosion in the use of online platforms.
Still, though, businesses are trying to catchup with this massive uptake, and are not following consumers online as they should. Online advertising expenditure is still around 1 percent, which is disproportional to the time spent online by the average consumer, but there are some encouraging signs. Newspapers have woken up to the new realities and the majority have plans to monetize online content and it appears that around 2 percent of their revenues are now derived from their websites.
The report covers 15 Arab countries (including Jordan) in detail, in addition to in-depth market research on media consumption habits in several of these markets. Jordan is well represented in this report, not just as a consumer market, but proudly as an online publishing leader with Maktoob and Jeeran both featured prominently as the leading Middle East portals being compared to international giants like Facebook and Baidu.
The information in the report, overall, is quite encouraging indeed. Although, the slow pace of broadband penetration still remains the major impediment for online growth, the chairperson of Dubai Press Club makes a positive statement saying “The growth in the popularity of social media, as analyzed in detail in the report, goes to show that a healthy balance between conventional media and the digital media is already struck by the Arab media consumers.”
This is a sign that our region maybe entering the maturity phase in digital media faster than anyone expected. It’s people who are driving the change, and surprising governments, businesses and analysts.
So, the media ‘outlook’ seems favorable. After all, for now and with these numbers, the only way is up!
Download it here.
Labels: Arab Media Outlook