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Middle East media usage in the digital age

For regional marketers, unlocking the potential of print and online media can help their clients’ brand get the best of both worlds.


By: Bahaa Fatairy, Managing Director & Founder, BR Communications FZE


The digital age has transformed the production, distribution and consumption of media as we know it. Gone are the days when circulation alone is the only metrics used to measure readership and audience reach, as media impressions are often now based on the number of shares, likes and Tweets that contents generate.

As online media continues to dilute print media’s market share, the medium adopted to carry the message has also become more sophisticated in line with today’s technological revolution. How you read or view content depends on a smorgasbord of choices – from PCs and tablets to smartphones and other mobile devices.

In the marketing sphere, digital media (and subsequently social media) has also opened a whole new dimension for marketers and advertisers looking to exploit their clients’ brands and tap a new generation of consumers.

This holds true in a market like the Middle East, where the digital media scene is very much alive as Internet population continues to expand, reaching around 197 million by 2017. Amidst this hype and with online media’s influence growing from strength to strength, the question remains: Has print media totally lost its luster?

Recently, BRComms conducted a short exploratory survey to assess the regional communications professionals’ preferential use of digital media over print media. The study received mixed results, with 45% of respondents saying that they prefer to use both digital and print media in promoting their clients’ brands, while a similar percentage (45%) said they opt for only online methods (websites and social media) in spreading the word about their brands.

Likewise, around 50% of the respondents said they tune into digital media for news, ditching traditional forms of media such as newspapers, which is a preferred channel by 20% of the respondents. Meanwhile, 30% of those surveyed like to use both modes of communications – digital and print – as a way of obtaining their daily diet of news.

Overall, a total of 85% of survey respondents prefer a combination of digital and traditional/print media, while 10% said they are more inclined to use digital and 5% prefer just print media.

The BRComms survey does not claim to be conclusive, but it gives a general view of the media usage trends in the Middle East. While the way we read news may have changed, it did not translate to the death of the print media (at least regionally speaking).

Conventional media (print) has adapted to this changing landscape by also making their presence felt online through their website and social media pages. Marketers, advertisers and public relations practitioners would do well to understand the value of both forms of media and capitalize on the respective benefits that they have to offer.

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