Arab Advisors Group
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Problem spots for Arabic online content: Online Ads revenue is minuscule and a gender gap remains insurmountable.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

New analysis by the Arab Advisors Group reveals that less than a quarter of the viewers of general portal sites in the region are females. The dearth of female viewers might be one reason why online advertising revenues remain dismal.

February 18,2004

Virtually all regional portals have been facing severe financial difficulties and quite a few have closed their doors (like Planetarabia.com). The strategically inclined portals have been trying to diversify revenues by developing new business models for additional revenue, such as Maktoob.com’s venture into the online E commerce facilitation business through the Cash U card. The online advertising market has shown that ad revenues alone are not enough to support the websites.

The total online ads spending in the region ranges between US$ 8 and 10 million. The small market is concentrated in a few number of portals that still could not reach profitability: For example, reportedly, Arabia.com’s total revenues did not exceed US$ 500,000 in 2003 while cumulative losses have exceeded the US$ 22 million mark. The portal, which has a big share of the online spending, remains cash flow negative since its inception.

A new report, “Arab Online advertising” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Media Strategic Research Service subscribers on February 18, 2004. This report can be purchased from Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 50. Any investment in this report will count towards a Strategic Research Service – Media subscription should the service be acquired within three months from purchasing the report.

Purchasing the report also can count towards attending the Arab Advisors Group’s Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference in June 2004 in Amman.

“Unlike online ads, Satellite TV advertisements have exceeded 250 million US$ in 2003. This is due to the fact that the satellite audience is greater than Internet users. Equally important, Satellite TV ads mainly target the female audience who represent a bigger share of the audience for TV than the audience for Internet portals: Our research shows that the online audience is overwhelmingly male.” Abed Pharaon and Judeh Siwady, Arab Advisors media analysts, wrote in the report. “The average share of female Internet browsers is around 19%, while the percentage of male viewers is around 81%. Evidently, these figures indicate a strong gender gap in Internet usage in the Arab World between females and males.” They added.

This report comes as part of Arab Advisors Group’s continued research and analysis of the Arab communications, media and information technology markets. The Arab Advisors Group is organizing a Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference in June 2004 in Amman under the patronage of his Excellency, Dr. Fawaz Zubi Jordan’s Minister of ICT.

The Arab Advisors Group’s team of analysts in the region has already produced more than 215 reports on the Arab World’s communications and media markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group’s (www.arabadvisors.com) Strategic Research Services (Media and Telecom). To date, Arab Advisors Group has served more than 100 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients

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