Media counts the cost of a woeful start to the year

The UAE’s media industry is counting the cost of one of the worst Januarys on record, with many radio stations, newspapers and magazines witnessing a sharp drop in revenues due to a series of unexpected events.

  • E-Mail
By  Steve Wrelton Published  January 21, 2006

The UAE’s media industry is counting the cost of one of the worst Januarys on record, with many radio stations, newspapers and magazines witnessing a sharp drop in revenues due to a series of unexpected events. The deaths of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Maktoum, and the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and the cancellation of the Dubai Shopping Festival has led to financial misery for some media owners. Radio and television has been particularly hard hit, with stations across the Emirates going off air for days. Time off for the Eid holidays and mourning periods has meant valuable time for media sales has also been lost. Abdullatif Al Sayegh, CEO at the Arab Media Group, which includes newspapers Emirates Today, Al Bayan and Emirate Al Youm, and eight radio stations, said revenues for the group would drop by between five and 7% for the month on what they would expect to take at this time of year. He said: “It was a difficult January for everyone. For the newspapers it’s not been so bad financially, the condolences offset that, but for the radio stations they have been off air for more than two weeks — losing revenue is not an easy thing.” But he added that those working in the media were not despondent about the slow start to 2006 and were determined to turn things round. “We will not look at it as a bad start — we will look at it positively,” he said. Kamal Ani Mohandas, sales and marketing manager for Radio 1 and 2, which is part of Emirates Media Incorporated, said she estimated that radio stations in the UAE had lost around AED 4 million (US $1million) in revenue because of disruptions to broadcasts. “Until today (January 18) we have not had a proper day of broadcasting. Radio is very tactical and so there are a lot of adverts that are just cancelled. January, February and March are great months for us — we hit a lot of targets in those months and so it has been a big chunk of one of our months that’s gone.” The PR industry has also been hit. Tim Walmsley, regional director at Impact PorterNoveli, labelled January a “time-sponge month”. He said: “From our perspective it’s been very, very fragmented. “The most difficult thing we’ve had to deal with is how to create campaign continuity. We’ve had to constantly rework the big picture and there have been endless changes to details. It’s been freakish.”

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