Increased media competition changes industry landscape in Arab World
Recent alliances, partnerships, and mergers that took place in the Arab world's media industry represent a very significant trend and could impact the future of the media industry in the region, stated the Arab Advisors Group in a recent report.
“The number of market drivers has contributed towards the development of this trend,” says director and co-founder of Arab Advisors Group, Khaldoon Tabaza. “The increased competition for the viewer and advertiser especially with the entrance of new players including specialized ones, the increasing cost of quality talent and resources, and the threat of international players venturing into the Arab world's market have all contributed to that trend,” he added.
Roufan Nahhas, senior media research analyst at the company pointed out that the recent alliance between Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) and the Saudi owned, London based Al-Hayat newspaper has brought together two of the Arab world's leading media organizations which is believed to be the first such grouping of cross media, TV and print Journalism in the Arab world.
“The alliance will bring together LBC's TV core competency with Al-Hayat's news and journalism excellence, with the initial result of revamping LBC's news coverage to include a much wider choice of international news and information,” he added.
“As a direct result of the alliance, Al-Hayat's brand name and coverage will reach a much wider audience than its traditional elite newspaper readership, with the expected spill over effect of improving Al-Hayat's mass reach,” Nahhas commented.
Arab advisors Group predicts that this venture could lead, in the near and long-term future, to a dedicated news channel airing hourly news as well as a sophisticated online news site, resulting in a one of the first truly cross media news organizations in the Arab world.
The report also analyses the merger between Future Television and the Saudi-owned satellite network Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to create a joint holding company. It concludes that the driving force behind this alliance was the need to reduce both entities' costs and reach critical market threshold.
“This will enable both organizations to improve their finances as well as tap into a wider and more diversified pool of talent,” Nahhas said. “As a result of the merger, all stations will share the same advertising sales resources and will be able to offer a more competitive and comprehensive one stop shop for advertisers, thus improving their respective advertising market shares,” he added.
In the print media industry, the report describes the partnership between The International Herald Tribune (IHT) and the Daily Star, an English-language Lebanese publication. The IHT is now reprinted and distributed in the region under an agreement with the Daily Star newspaper. The Daily Star has plans to expand same day distribution by establishing printing centers around the region including Qatar, Dubai, Cairo, and Amman.
“While this agreement will present the IHT as the only global newspaper printed and distributed in the same day in the Arab world, it will allow the Daily Star unprecedented exposure and reputation, being associated with the IHT,” Nahhas said.
Arab Advisors Group predict that as a result of this alliance, the Daily Star will have a clear path towards transforming itself from a local Lebanese newspaper into the leading regional English language newspaper, riding on the expansion of the printing centers and same day distribution of the IHT. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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