Old-school media is on the move, UAE conference hears

DUBAI // Traditional media is making a dramatic shift into the digital world, speakers at a conference announcing the fifth edition of the Arab Media Outlook said. “Unfortunately, many media outlets [in the region] underestimate the importance of fast-advancing technology,” said Mona Al Marri, head of the Dubai Press Club, which oversees the comprehensive report […]

DUBAI // Traditional media is making a dramatic shift into the digital world, speakers at a conference announcing the fifth edition of the Arab Media Outlook said.

“Unfortunately, many media outlets [in the region] underestimate the importance of fast-advancing technology,” said Mona Al Marri, head of the Dubai Press Club, which oversees the comprehensive report on media in the Arab world, in her opening statement.

“Media in Dubai, which prides itself on being one of the most technologically advanced cities, and the UAE as a whole must -cater to this new technology and new findings.”

Ms Al Marri said she hoped that the media would look at the fifth report as a valuable resource that will give them a clear picture of the present and a better understanding of the future.

“To ride the crest of change, it is important that we understand the implications of these changes on the future,” she said.

“Dubai Press Club’s annual Arab Media Outlook seeks to help you further understand the dynamics behind these changes.”

Arab Media Outlook 2016-2018: Youth, Content, Digital Media provides a comprehensive view of media across 14 key markets in the Arab region.

It covers paid media and advertising-funded revenues across all platforms, including digital, mobile, print, TV and radio, with a strategic and qualitative assessment of each sector. It also covers emerging trends, industry challenges and growth drivers.

Dr Amina Al Rustamani, group chief of Tecom Investments, said that the report included a great deal of information, supporting some of the major emerging trends.

“Chief of these is with digitisation, which the report identifies as the sector’s fastest-growing segment, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 14 per cent, fuelling the growth of the industry as a whole,” she said. “While digital video and social media spending are driving the growth, gaming holds the most value and is expected to cross US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) in revenues by 2018.”

Meanwhile, Jayant Bhargava, partner of Strategy&, said that consumers in the region were among the most active media users in the world.

“Almost half of that time is spent on digital platforms, which is mostly incremental,” he said. “On average, each user spends over 10 hours a day consuming media content.

“On the whole, there is more audience time for every type of of content, including news.”

He also said that a factor changing the media dynamic was youth engagement with digital, not only as consumers but as content producers.

“The amateur digital-only content being produced by Arab youth has significantly increased the level of local Arabic-language content available on digital platforms,” he said.

“Much of this content tells -local stories and is resulting in a cultural boom.”

Mr Bhargava said that digital media had helped to eliminate some of the obstacles of traditional media but also came with challenges, such as staying in line with professional journalism.

“Maintaining professional media in digital lies with the news outlets by representing themselves in the digital world and following the rules of digital, not tradition, which means videos need to be much shorter, with more breaking views and much more presence on digital and social platforms.”

He said that, today, social media platforms were just as important as traditional platforms, and news outlets should keep their editorial policies intact even when publishing digitally.

dmoukhallati@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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