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Middle East news print's not dead yet

Written By: Mo Elzubeir on Mon, 19 Dec 2011 12:00:19 +0000

I have come across the Booz & co report titled ?The Advent of Digital News in the GCC ? Newspaper Publishers' Path to Winning? sometime back and I thought I would jot down some of my thoughts on the subject.

The report makes a daring prediction, claiming that the inflection point at which digital consumption of news will overtake print is going to happen in 2 years' time. Two years! While I agree that we are heading in that direction, I have serious reservations on such a prediction. In fact, reading the report, you get the sense that the authors themselves present the best arguments as to why this is not going to happen.

Here's the thing, digital news will overtake print. That is as real as climate change and I don't see how it would go any other direction. The pace at which we are approaching this so-called inflection point is nowhere near that speed.

The report goes on to point out some of the most striking barriers to this inflection point. It rightly reminds us of how media analysts continued to call the death of print as Internet penetration levels increase.. however, that does not appear to have panned out. In fact, Internet penetration in the GCC is comparable with that in the West, where inflection point has already been met.

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etisalat's Media Coverage Comfortably Eclipses du's

Written By: admin on Sun, 15 May 2011 11:43:02 +0000

Etisalat Logo




etisalat 149 13.2m
du 75 7.9m

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UAE hotels engage in vicious PR wars

Written By: Hisham Elzubeir on Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:47:15 +0000

Jumeirah Beach HotelsJumeirah Beach Hotels


The UAE?s travel &tourism sector seems to be thriving again. Specifically, the UAE?s hospitality sector has been showing signs of resurgence with higher occupancy rates driven by a surge in tourist arrivals towards the end of 2010. However, with thousands of new rooms being added to the market in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, there has been a slight drop in the overall revenue per available room, according to a report by Issac John published on the 4th of January 2011 in Khaleej Times.

Latest figures released by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing show that Dubai?s hotel industry posted a 6% surge both in terms of revenues and the number of guests in the first nine months of 2010.

With 244 hotels, containing 55,000 hotel rooms in the pipeline, the UAE will create approximately 120,000 new jobs by 2011, providing hotel management and recruitment specialists with a challenge, but more significantly generating genuine career opportunities for UAE nationals and expatriates alike.

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Middle East's obsession with premium brands reflected in high coverage volume

Written By: Hisham Elzubeir on Wed, 06 Apr 2011 12:35:09 +0000

Chanel (Premium Brands)Chanel (Premium Brands)


The Middle East has emerged as a key market for retailers across the world, according to an RNCOS report published in January 2011. Retail has been one of the fastest growing industries in the region for the past few years. Favorable government policy frameworks and active participation of private sector have facilitated the region?s retail industry to become one of the world?s most desirable retail environments in terms of investments and revenue generation. Further, changing market dynamics, rapid economic development, balancing crude oil prices, rising purchasing power, and strong consumer confidence are strengthening the region?s retail industry.

The retail culture has evolved from traditional outlets to large shopping malls, hypermarkets, supermarkets, and organized chains. Changing consumer demographics in countries like, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, presence of large expatriate population, improving purchasing power, and abundance of petro dollar have attracted premium and luxury brands to the region.

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Never fall into the trap of tall Stories at Pitch Time!

Written By: Firas Sleem on Thu, 10 Mar 2011 08:12:01 +0000

I thought to write a few do?s and don?ts for clients to consider before they select an agency, be it boutique, medium or large.

Before meeting a new PR agency for your business, put on paper your goals from a PR campaign by first assessing your PR requirements and also share with the new agency your experience of working with the last agency, as this will make them aware of what exactly you are expecting from a PR programme, strategically and tactically.

Ask for the agency?s credentials, media relations competence, account management team, team leaders? profiles, experiences in the industry and their list of clients. Understand the culture of the agency. Ask its clients about their experience with them. Remember, no one knows an agency more than an existing client. He knows them inside out, their expertise, their attitude, their assets, their customer servicing standards and deliverables. There?s no harm in asking a key industry journalist about the agency, as this would give an idea about their media relations capabilities.

Campaign measurement tools

Ask the new agency for their metrics of launching a campaign. Give them time to present their credentials and always focus on the profile, expertise, attitude and capabilities of the actual professionals who are going be handling the account, not those top guys at the agency. If they fail to present themselves in a convincing way, they will fail to present your messages amongst your key stakeholders, including media.

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Jewelry and watches continue to attract significant media attention

Written By: Hisham Elzubeir on Tue, 08 Mar 2011 12:47:15 +0000

Jewelry and WatchesJewelry and Watches


The retail sector has been one of the fastest growing industries in the region for the past few years. Favorable government policy frameworks and active participation of private sector have facilitated the region?s retail industry to become one of the world?s most desirable retail environments in terms of investments and revenue generation. According to an RNCOS report on the retail sector, published in Jan 1, 2011, changing market dynamics, rapid economic development, balancing crude oil prices, rising purchasing power and strong confidence are strengthening the region?s retail industry.

In 2009, the Middle East retail industry was valued at over $425Bn. However, all the countries did not react in the same way to economic downturn. While some economies like Kuwait slumped, others such as Qatar thrived due to high demand for its gas. The UAE and Saudi Arabian markets, however, have been sustaining their dominance at the retail landscape for more than a decade and will continue to do so in the coming years.

RNCOS report anticipates that the Middle East retail industry will grow at a CAGR of around 13% during 2009-2013 to reach over $682Bn by 2013.

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Companies should not fall for tall promises from some PR agencies!

Written By: Firas Sleem on Mon, 14 Feb 2011 14:57:01 +0000

It is common practice among the top guns at large PR agencies to promise the earth to clients at the time of pitch. Tell me, is it humanly possible to devote as much as 10 percent of a PR chief?s time to more than 50 clients! It is just impossible.

I was having this discussion the other day with one of my colleagues in the PR industry who has switched to the client side after many years of being on the agency side. He said he was wondering how MDs of PR agencies can dedicate 10 percent of their time to more than 50 clients!

Transparency, transparency and transparency! I believe this is the crucial element needed to win a new client. Clients won?t buy those tall claims of time percentage, and even if they do, they will figure out it after a couple of weeks of working together that this MD is not giving them the quantum of attention he promised. That is a sure way of losing one?s credibility!

When an MD personally visits a new client, he makes sure to get an army of persons, whom the client may never see them again, once the contract is signed!
Ironically, these top agency guys talk and talk, leaving no room for the account service guy to present his credentials to the client whom he would be dedicating 100 % of his time!

I will try to compile a few do?s and don?ts for clients to consider before they select an agency in my next blog.

MEPRA Grows Teeth, Fines d'PR for Photoshopping Picture

Written By: Mo Elzubeir on Mon, 20 Dec 2010 06:12:10 +0000

Agency fined over doctored imageAgency fined over doctored image
MEPRA shows its teeth as it slaps a AED 15,000/- fine on d'PR for photoshopping a picture of their staff posing in front of the MEPRA Awards backdrop and then distributing this image to the media. Wow, MEPRA.. didn't think you had it in ya! I wonder who d'pr upset this time. Oh wait, I know.. the sponsors!

I think this is a "good thing", although I suspect that MEPRA is selective in who gets to be disciplined and who doesn't. Anyone in the PR industry will tell you horror stories of unethical practices by some of the more prominent MEPRA members, so why d'pr now? It's a lot easier for MEPRA to slap a fine when the damage is being done to one of their own, as opposed to a potential client.

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Excuse me Randi, where are the real figures for Facebook?

Written By: Mo Elzubeir on Tue, 26 Oct 2010 04:15:25 +0000

RRandi Zuckerberg: Facebook SpokespersonRandi Zuckerberg: Facebook Spokespersonandi Zuckerberg, Facebook's official spokesperson (and sister of co-founder) failed to mention the most important figure in her keynote speech at GITEX this past week. The REVENUES! It's great to know the latest figures on Internet penetrations in the region and even demographics, but failing to disclose revenues from the Middle East should at the very least give us pause.

While listening to the speech, I was wondering as lots did why the social media giant spokesperson was secretive about disclosing such information which would give insights to businesses here on how much they need to spend on advertising on Facebook.
It is not enough for Randi to invite businesses to be part of the Facebook evolution while she refused to disclose information that is most important to them as far as their Facebook advertising expenditure is concerned!

Marketers from companies in the UAE have the right to know how much the regional industry is spending on Facebook, before they can take the decision whether to advertise there or not.

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UAE Press Coverage Index - Automotive

Written By: admin on Wed, 22 Sep 2010 09:50:37 +0000




Toyota 69 5.37m
Nissan 65 4.98m
Ford 54 4.04m
BMW 43 3.52m
General Motors 44 3.38m
Honda 34 2.52m
Volkswagen 30 2.39m
Renault 26 1.91m
Suzuki 24 1.76m
Mercedes Benz 18 1.66m

Data supplied is a summary of the period 24 Aug to 6 Sep 2010. Figures include positive, neutral and negative mentions in the UAE Arabic and English morning daily newspapers. Companies are counted only once if its name is used on more than one occasion in a single article. Indices and stock prices are not counted. The margin of error is +/-5%. Impressions are based on the number of mentions multiplied by the claimed circulation.

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