Ramadan Mubarak! Although life in the Arab world slows down a bit during this season owing to the holidays, the Holy month of Ramadan is also a time of rich pickings for broadcasters as they rake in the advertising dollars. Millions are spent on Arabic productions to broadcast during this period but ad rates also […]
Ramadan Mubarak! Although life in the Arab world slows down a bit during this season owing to the holidays, the Holy month of Ramadan is also a time of rich pickings for broadcasters as they rake in the advertising dollars. Millions are spent on Arabic productions to broadcast during this period but ad rates also increase anywhere between 50 and 170% at this time compared to the rest of the year depending on how popular a channel is, and those figures are not inflated.
MBC 1, for instance, has for long maintained its position as the number one Ramadan broadcaster. It is no secret that MBC Group invests about 25-30% of its annual production budget if not more on its Ramadan programming and earns about 25% of its annual revenues during this period as well. There are about seventeen special programmes showing on MBC1 this season and around six on MBC Drama.
This time, MBC may face some competition from OSNs Yahala channel. OSN Yahala, which was launched in October 2011, seems to be gradually gaining ground with viewers especially in Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest markets for both channels.
The pay TV network has made ambitious investments in Arabic productions. This year, OSN Yahala! has eight exclusive Ramadan productions on the channel of which four are the networks own productions. The network has also launched OSN Yahala +3 exclusively for the Ramadan season. The channel is primarily aimed at Egyptian viewers, as subscribers in the country do not yet have access to OSNs PVR boxes.
Abu Dhabi Media and Dubai Media Inc. have also come with some exciting entertainment this year.
In the meantime, we also see broadcasters enhancing their online services as many viewers have begun to turn to their tablets and other mobile devices for entertainment.
OSN Play, Shahid.net from MBC, Wataniya Telecoms online channel and Dubai Media Incs online platform are some of the few who will be competing for eyeballs this Ramadan. Not to be left behind, even YouTube has launched an online channel dedicated to Ramadan-themed programming this year.
Its unfortunate though that the TV audience measurement system the first in this region wont be rolled out until just after Ramadan in the UAE. It would have been interesting to see which channels and programmes make it to the top this season. But we have to start somewhere and hats off to the UAE for being the first to take this big step. Read all about it in this issue.