Thursday,19 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)
Thursday,19 October, 2017
Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Meagre Ramadan ads

The advertising market has been feeling the pinch of Egypt’s economic slowdown, reports Ahmed Kotb

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Al-Ahram Weekly

The ongoing political and security unrest that has led the Egyptian economy to a critical situation has apparently also taken its toll on advertising expenditure during Ramadan, traditionally the peak month for advertisers.
Although there are no official statistics about spending on advertisements during this Ramadan, the shorter commercial breaks on television compared to last year have made it obvious to all that fewer advertising campaigns have been produced for the month.
Usually, advertising activities recover in Ramadan because of the higher numbers of television viewers. Television advertisements are believed to account for about 60 per cent of the overall advertisement market.
The spending cuts on advertisements this year have not prevented many television channels from raising their prices for broadcasting ads in comparison to last year.
Like last year, different packages have been offered by the television stations, with prices set according to the number of times ads are broadcast.
Packages this year for stations enjoying high viewing figures range from LE3 million to LE7 million, with repetitions of a 30-second ad ranging from 125 to 300 times a month. A package worth LE5 million last year offered by the same stations would have given the advertiser 300 repetitions.
One source at Egyptian State Television who preferred to remain anonymous said that the state television channels, which have lower viewer figures, have not made changes to the five-package choices introduced last year, with prices ranging from LE500,000 to LE4 million for 100 to 2,000 repetitions of a 30-second ad.
However, Safwat Al-Alem, a professor of advertising and public relations at Cairo University, said that the prices were subject to negotiation and modification.
“Heavy advertisers enjoy a great deal of flexibility in the prices of airing their ads,” he said. TV channels that have raised their prices have wanted to compensate for losses during the rest of the year caused by the scarcity of advertisers, he said.
“Many sectors of the economy have been affected by the current economic crisis, thus hindering the growth of the advertising market,” Al-Alem stated.
Bassant Eyada, manager of TM Video Agency, agreed that the economic crisis had made many companies reluctant to carry out advertising campaigns or had meant that they did not have the money to do so.
She said that the price increases for airing ads on television had contributed to the lack of the normal flow of ads that had been seen during previous Ramadans.
Eyada said that some clients had started their advertising campaigns later than usual this year, which was why some ads had not appeared on screens before the second week of Ramadan.
“The advertising market is unusual this year, and this shows how floundering many clients are this season,” she said.
The most repeated ads, like in previous years, are those for the telecoms sector, soft-drinks companies and charity organisations and hospitals.
The latter benefit from a special discount, though Al-Alem said that they should be more transparent about the donations they receive and about their expenditure, in order to build trust with donors.
According to Al-Alem, the advertising market in Egypt is estimated at over LE6 billion, but the signs are that it will be less this year.
Good performances in online advertising, which has been flourishing in recent years, have been due to its low cost and its being accessible to a wide variety of audiences.

A recent report by the Arab Centre for Research and Consulting Studies showed that spending on advertising in the first quarter of 2013 fell by 27 per cent compared to the same period in 2012, with expenditure estimated at $187 million.
This placed Egypt behind Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which came first with their total spending in the first quarter estimated at $379 million.

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