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Wednesday, June 02, 2004
"Most Arabic news organizations are not set up to make money"
"Arab Media as an Emerging Power," Ian Ritchie (bio below), Vice President for Global Business, Associated Press, USA: Mr. Ritchie, the former CEO of Middle East Broadcasting, provided an overview of the Arab media market, from a historical, political and economic perspective at the 11th World Editors Forum today in Istanbul. From an economic perspective, "I do believe Arab media offers an excellent opportunity economically, but for a variety of reasons it has been unable to operate successfully," he said.
Advertising expenditures in the Gulf totaled 2.8 billion in 2003, up 17 percent on 2002, he said. Half goes to television, and 87 percent of the television advertising goes to the pan-Arab satellite television stations.
Print takes 45 percent of the advertising revenue."But these are entirely misleading figures -- ratecard numbers are discounted by about 75 percent," he says.
In fact, ad spending per capita in the Arab world is only US $6, compared with $369 in North America, $117 in Europe, $23 in Asia/Pacific and $7 in Africa.
"Why is this so? Most Arab media organisations are not set up to make money," he says."Political objectives - that is the issue that controls everything."
But things will change, said Mr. Ritchie, who forecasted a growth in new media. In addition, regulations will loosen, new investors will enter the market, market research will become more professional, multinational advertisers will spend more and the Arab world will become a growing and important market place, he speculated.
Before ascending to his current position, Ian Ritchie served the Associated Press from 2000 to 2003 as Chief Executive of Television News. Prior to that, he held executive positions at a variety of television news outlets, including Middle East Broadcasting, where he was Chief Executive Officer from 1998 to 2000, Channel Five Broadcasting, the London News Network, Tyne Tees Television and Granada Television.
In addition, Ritchie was Managing Director of Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm. He also served as Governor of the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Director of the International Council at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Richie was called to the Bar in 1976. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford and the Leeds Grammar School. He is married with two sons, and enjoys the theatre, football, golf and tennis in his spare time.
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