Campaign ME newsletter July 24th, 2005

So now it’s getting interesting. I refer to the latest development in what is rapidly turning into the UAE’s media conglomerates arms race.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  July 24, 2005

Enter the gorillas as the battle for radio hots up|~||~||~|So now it’s getting interesting. I refer to the latest development in what is rapidly turning into the UAE’s media conglomerates arms race. First we had Dubai Radio Network’s now fairly advanced plans to launch into the newspaper market. Then came Gulf News’s marvellously Machiavellian sounding Project X, which will apparently be its own tabloid answer to DRN’s launches. And now comes the news that the battle is shifting to the radio market with the launch of several new stations. This may well be a good thing for the industry. The alliance between Gulf News owner Al Nisr and Emirate Media Inc, owner of Radio 1 and Radio 2, offers the opportunity to create one of the 500lb gorillas that any market needs. By creating weighty interests that span more than one medium, the possibility is to create players who are big enough to invest in quality content to build the sort of audiences that advertisers need. And the fact there is more than one gorilla will provide the competition that will eventually drive up quality but keep advertising costs under control. It’s needed. Particularly for radio, which agencies and advertisers are not taking seriously. You only have to hear the quality of the commercials they put on air for that. Their punishment should be to be locked in a room and be forced to listen to their own commercials. When a brand force-feeds consumers such pap, how can it help being viewed as cheap and nasty? Take DRN’s Dubai 92 — unfair to single it out, but at my current apartment it’s the only station that penetrates the walls. The best ads on the station are the ones promoting the power of radio advertising — and they’ve been, shall we say, borrowed from the UK. Unfair also to blame the station for the quality of the ads, as it’s difficult to tell the material produced in-house from the creative made by the so-called professionals. But now the media owners are gearing up, agencies will hopefully come under pressure from clients to do likewise. Like I say, it’s getting interesting. ||**||

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