Outdoor advertising may have taken a hit during the downturn – but now its omens look extremely favourable as more leading suppliers embrace Digital Information Displays (DID) and consumer demand for electronic interactivity rises.
The overall DID market is forecast to expand to more than fourfold during the next six years, from 2.23 million units in 2010 to 9.09 million units in 2016, according to market research firm DisplaySearch.
The third Signage, Imaging and Media Show 2010, being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 28-30 November 2010, is ideally placed to capitalise on the sector's development – particularly as its three-in-one proposition, combining Digital media, Digital signage and New Media, ticks all the communication boxes.
As well as providing the perfect platform to discuss latest industry trends, the exhibition enables suppliers to showcase recent launches, and allows delegates access to important decision-makers from across the region's marketing spectrum.
"In these rapidly changing, digitally-focused times, having all the elements of the marketing communications industry under one roof is clearly one of SIM's biggest draws," said Binu Pillai, Exhibition Director of SIM at IIR Middle East. "There is a refreshing 'buzz' around the sector after the downturn, and much of that can be attributed to increased demand for all things digital." he added.
Advertising expenditure in the Middle East (GCC, Levant, Egypt) reached a total of $6.5 billion for the first half of 2010, according to IPSOS. Egypt accounted for 15 per cent of total ad spend, followed by Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the UAE, with 10 per cent, 8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively. These figures are around half of the total advertising expenditure for 2009 (which was $12 billion), which indicates that ad spend is on course to remain the same or increase.
Currently outdoor spending is fairly evenly split across the key travel, hygiene/house care, construction and communications sectors – Q-tel is by some comfortable distance, the biggest spender at $10,592m, and Du leads the UAE spend chart ($3,282m) – although its share of the overall market remains small compared with TV (57 per cent) and Newspapers (31 per cent).
But demand for digital outdoor is now growing rapidly in tandem with the wider growth in digital and new media.
Twitter grew by nearly 300 per cent in the second quarter of 2009, and Youtube and Facebook now rank in the top five most popular online portals in the UAE. A recent survey commissioned by Regus showed that almost half the companies in the UAE have used Social Networking to win business.
Total advertising spend in KSA is forecasted to recover at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 10% until 2013 – and much of the focus will be on internet advertising, expected to grow at a CAGR of 32%.
Abu Dhabi recently launched Abu Dhabi Media Digital Out of Home, thought to be the first Digital Out Of Home firm owned and managed by a government, in conjunction with Al Barq Digital, which aims to turn on 300 screens by the first quarter of 2011.
"All these separate developments send out the same unified message – digital media's profile is set to grow substantially in the next few years," added Pillai.
SIM 2010 covers all elements of media communication such as printing; signage; banners and posters; pre-press; digital imaging, capture, storage and processing; electronic media; advertising production; marketing and public relations; outdoor media; new media; events and exhibitions; and entertainment.
For more information, visit: www.sim-expo.com.