Be audited or miss out, warns BPA chairman

The new chairman of the world’s biggest publishing audit organisation has warned that the Middle East’s media industry will miss out on playing a part on the world stage if it does not get serious about auditing.

  • E-Mail
By  Tim Burrowes Published  June 19, 2005

The new chairman of the world’s biggest publishing audit organisation has warned that the Middle East’s media industry will miss out on playing a part on the world stage if it does not get serious about auditing. John Kahan, who was last month elected chairman of BPA Worldwide, told Campaign Middle East that global advertisers would spend less if they were not confident in the products they were placing their messages in. His comments come in what is proving to be one of the most significant months yet for auditing in the Middle East. Last week it was revealed that Motivate’s What’s On had a slightly bigger audited print run than ITP Consumer’s Time Out Dubai. And this Tuesday the newspaper 7 Days will unveil its first audit while the following day will see the Middle East and Africa branch of the International Advertising Association host a summit of media players to discuss how to move forward with auditing within the region. Kahan, who is also general manager of Microsoft’s global relationship marketing group, said: “The reality is if there are global businesses who determine there is a market they want to communicate to, (lack of audit) will reduce their ability to spend. Nobody wants to put their money on the wheel and let it spin.” At present, it is estimated that the world’s top 100 global advertisers spend only 0.4%of their marketing budgets on the Middle East, despite the population being proportionally much bigger. Within the region, magazine and newspaper audits are the exception rather than the norm, a situation that can be off-putting to international companies who are used to advertising in audited titles in most other markets. The main two auditing currencies beginning to emerge in the region are BPA and ABC. BPA is US-based while the ABC is headquartered in the UK. Kahan said: “It’s essential if you want to be able to be taken seriously from an advertiser perspective. “Every dollar spent on this is an investment. I’m convinced that for any market that would choose to be on a global stage, auditing will be necessary. “From an advertiser’s point of view, audit gives a currency which allows you to have efficient conversations across countries and across the world.” But he said BPA accepted that the market still needed to be educated about the benefit of auditing titles. “If you go back to ancient times and put yourself in the shoes of people who introduced currency, there needed to be a level of education. You could make the case that there are similar challenges when you try to educate new places about this currency.” He said it wasn’t just advertisers who stand to benefit from increased transparency. “Auditing offers a significant benefit to media owners. It allows you to stand out and be well received. The people who want to invest in you need to be convinced of the value of your goods.” He predicted that audited titles would soon be the norm rather than the exception. He said: “People will get excited about this. “For the first time they will be able to share their goods on an international playing field. I’m very optimistic.” The attention BPA is paying the region is underlined by the fact that the organisation’s president and CEO, Glenn Hansen, is to speak at Tuesday lunchtime’s unveiling of 7 Days’ first audit. Live issue, page 15; Opinion, page 16

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code