Much has been researched, written, analyzed and spoken about a digital versus traditional media world. The algorithms change every day, even if the principles of the business don’t and this only means that to stay on top of the game, it is important to pay attention to the changing dynamics.
Predictions are that 2015 onwards, digital media will trounce other media categories to become the numero uno category in UAE, Bahrain and Qatar while Africa is set to lead the global digital growth. Though digital growth in other big markets like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and Iran is being keenly observed, there is no denying that these countries too are living the digital boom. But does this translate into a digital versus traditional war in MENA? Could be, but should not be.
Since content forms the foundation of reaching out to the consumer, digital and traditional media complement each other more than they compete with each other. There is a global viewpoint that digital marketing reeks of old school because everything around us is digital. When the consumer is not making a difference between his handset or the physical form of print, why should the industry? The so-called traditional forms of media – newspapers, TV stations, radio – are already making a splash on Facebook, are finding solutions to be on mobile and are seeking ways on how to monetise their digital presence.
The main parameters to decide the worth of any media category are two. One, what is the reach (number of people who will see the advertisement) and two, the frequency (the number of times the advertisements will be seen). Since the media landscape is changing everyday and MENA countries are on top of the list often, marketers continually think of where to allocate the media dirham. Perhaps that is why the budget once allocated for traditional media is now being reconsidered to being invested in digital, with some degree. This does not mean traditional media is losing its value. On the contrary, traditional is still at the top of the game with extraordinary contribution from digital media, in increasing the reach and frequency of its content.
As countries in MENA go digital, media owners will have to devise marketing strategies with comprehensive plans of a healthy mix of traditional and digital. The mindset of traditional versus digital should make way to traditional and digital and finally just media, with no handles…