The dust has settled and the final whistle has gone, so who won? No, this isnt about the World Cup its about Ramadan, now that weve had some time to look at the whole period and the viewing figures As always, research and analysis is something where five people can draw six conflicting views […]
The dust has settled and the final whistle has gone, so who won?
No, this isnt about the World Cup its about Ramadan, now that weve had some time to look at the whole period and the viewing figures
As always, research and analysis is something where five people can draw six conflicting views so feel free to disagree, but I think there were some new and interesting trends this year.
Ramadan 2014 will go down as the year of the repeats.
The top three shows for the all Arab audience each had afternoon repeats that were highly ranked in their own right, with nearly as many viewers as the first showing on some days.
The later the show, the more viewers watched the repeat, with Ramez Qersh Al Bahrs repeat episode the best of the re-runs, reaching an astonishing sixth among all programmes. It was a clever way to get more viewers and perhaps, pick up on word of mouth overnight, as well as negate the effects of local channels having the rights to also screen programmes.
We can also see a slightly different audience. Not surprising, perhaps, but the repeat audience tended to be slightly more female, and slightly more Arab Expat; whereas the prime-time audience was more male and more Emirati. The differences were a few percentage points, not vast, but noticeable and thereby, confirming what people may suspect about different behaviours.
It was interesting too that Bab Al Hara, a relative veteran now in Season 6, topped the rankings, rather than the new, much-hyped and very expensive Saraya Abdeen. Ramez Qersh Al Bahr in third place is a simple, and I guess, relatively cheap, comedy sketch show. On the basis of cost per viewer, this may raise eyebrows, but of course, there are other factors like overall image and keeping people on the channel which may add to the value.
The final score
So who got to enjoy their post-Ramadan holidays in well-earned comfort, and who should have been working by the pool? Here are the top 10 channels for All Arabs and Emiratis, with 2013 for comparison. (Note that channels not monitored in both periods are excluded.)
The big winners in my opinion were local channels Abu Dhabi Al Emarat and Sama Dubai, with Al Emarat being the standout success. In All Arabs, Al Emarat has gone from scraping into the top 10 to being a strong second, not bad for a channel targeted at locals, while Sama has moved from eighth to third and Sharjah TV has made it into the top 10.
The picture is even more stark in the Emirati target group. Last year, MBC 1 was the runaway winner among Emiratis, with two more MBC channels in the top 5. MBC 1 alone had more ratings points than the next two combined. This year, its a very different story. Al Emarat scooped the top slot for Emiratis, with Sama in second place and MBC 1 trailing some distance behind in third, followed by Dubai TV and Al Oula. So, four of the top five channels are local.
On that basis, Im going to go even further and say that while MBC might not be awarded the biggest loser category, it wasnt a vintage performance. How can I say that about a network whose leading channel topped the rankings and took more than a quarter of all the ratings points gathered by the top 20?
Well, thats exactly the problem. MBC 1 did brilliantly, but the rest of the network was less than stellar. MBC Drama slipped from second to seventh, and MBC Max from ninth to nineteenth, while MBC 4 fell off the radar. Overall, MBCs top seven channels took nearly the same share of the overall ratings points in the top 20 49% in 2014 compared to 51% in 2013 but thats much more about MBC 1 this year.
I dont know how MBC priced their airtime, but it seems to make sense that having more channels of closer stature in terms of performance is going to deliver a better return than having one giant and a bunch of pygmies. Only so many eggs will fit into the basket of airtime. You cant make the basket bigger, and fewer channels delivering viewers means less basket choice for the advertisers who lay the golden eggs.
Looking at some channels, gives a possible insight on an average, what a spot on a top channel will get you in terms of ratings points. Value here very much depends on how much you paid. A spot on MBC 1 on an average delivers three times as many ratings points as on Al Emarat but does it cost three times as much, or more? We wont know, but I think we can say that anyone who planned their campaign on Al Emarat or Sama had a much better return than they probably bargained for, and should have enjoyed their Eid break with the knowledge of a job well done.