Digital media held back by broadband affordability

Digital media across Arab world impacted by limited high quality broadband access.

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By  Claire Ferris-Lay Published  February 3, 2009

Developments in digital media across the Arab world are being held back by limited affordability of broadband and a lack of reliable audience and readership figures, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The limited availability of affordable high quality broadband access is hindering the growth of mobile technology which citizen journalists use to directly upload information from their mobile cameraphones into newsrooms, according to Arab Media Outlook 2008 – 2012.

New developments in digital media and mobile broadband will present the best opportunities for development of digital media in the Arab world, said the report.

“New developments in digital media and mobile broadband present tremendous opportunities for Arabic media companies and we expect to see significant growth in the sector in this region in the next five years despite the impact of the global financial crisis,” said Marcel Fenez, global managing partner at PriceWaterHouseCooper’s Entertainment & Media Practice.

The most significant advancement in digital media has been the delivery of content to mobile internet connected devices to consumers between 15-25 years old, The Net Generation, said the report.

The report added that the regional downturn in real estate is likely to affect advertising revenues across the Middle East but the overall impact of the global crisis, is still not yet being felt.

Total advertising revenues across the Middle East between 2008-2012 are expected to increase at a compound annual growth of between 5-25 percent.

Online advertising in the region is projected to grow strongly from its current low level, according to the report. “Online advertising and the delivery of content to mobile devices present some of the most exciting opportunities in the region.

In the future, mobile broadband and mobile TV are likely to become established as the preferred means of accessing news and entertainment content for the Net Generation across most of the Arabic speaking world.

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