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Advertising to register healthy growth in Gulf

Advertising in Bahrain and the region has witnessed healthy growth this year and the trend is expected to continue, says a corporate communications leader.

Bahrain-based Roshcomm chief executive M A Sridhar said there had been a downturn in advertising in the GCC during the economic crises but now expenditure was on track to reach a $10 billion milestone by the end of the year.

He said according to a study by the Pan Arab Research Centre (PARC), advertising expenditure in the GCC had increased by 20pc in the first quarter compared to the previous year.

This compares to 9 per cent growth in 2009, reaching $9.2 billion compared to $8.9 billion in 2008.

Sridhar noted that the study was very positive for Bahrain, which had witnessed 40 per cent growth in advertising expenditure in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in the previous year, followed by Oman (12 per cent), Qatar (11.2 per cent), Saudi Arabia (9 per cent), and Kuwait (8 per cent).

The UAE recorded a decrease of 4 per cent, however, it still holds the largest market share of advertising expenditure in the region at between 30 per cent and 35 per cent, said Sridhar.

The UAE’s advertising market share is followed by Saudi Arabia (27 per cent), Kuwait (21.7 per cent), Qatar (10.2 per cent), Oman (6 per cent) and Bahrain (3 per cent).

‘These figures show very clear signs of recovery and the official GDP growth of the region is becoming very positive,’ Sridhar told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).

‘The downward trend in GDP has almost stopped in the GCC countries and they are now showing an upward trend.

‘The branding, communications and advertising sector has seen robust growth and the industry is expected to reach a record of $10 billion this year.’

Sridhar was speaking on the sidelines of a three-day corporate communications conference, which opened at the Crowne Plaza Hotel yesterday.

The Second Annual Corporate Communications Conference 2010 is held under the patronage of Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro, who opened the event.

The regional conference focuses on meeting the specialised branding, communications and marketing needs of a fast growing economy.

Gurus in branding, marketing, communication and public relations are discussing issues such as strategies for new and emerging media, as well as media, public and government relations, corporate social responsibility and the latest trends in strategic corporate communications.

‘The conference is being held at an interesting time with many regional economies showing signs of continued growth,’ said Dr Fakhro.

‘With the emergence of new media, the business landscape is changing rapidly and organisations are facing new realities and are finding new ideas and new directions.

‘In this context, corporate communications plays a vital role in any organisation. This conference will feature some of the leading speakers and topics that are relevant to these changing times.

‘The government of Bahrain supports such initiatives which bring international best-practices to the region,’ he added.

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