Nielsen heads to Middle East

Metering service makes plans on region

BAGHDAD — Nielsen is preparing to launch a television metering service in the Middle East after already engaging in Internet monitoring in the region.

Piyush Mathur, Nielsen’s regional managing director for the Middle East/North Africa and Pakistan territories, is widely quoted in the media as saying the television monitoring plans are already far advanced.

“Nielsen has started work on Internet monitoring in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East bases for sales estimation evaluation,” Mathur said. “We will also be initiating the process of television metering in the region. We know that authorities in the region have shown interest in this process, and they will soon be launching tenders for this.”

In January, the UAE’s National Media Council (NMC) and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced their intention to implement a TV Audience Measurement (TAM) project for the Emirates.

They said a company will be licensed to undertake and manage the project, with the NMC and the TRA playing a regulatory role to ensure fairness and transparency.

“The ambitious project will offer a wide range of benefits such as providing, for the first time, accurate and reliable data of use to TV channels and advertisers to evaluate the effectiveness of their TV marketing strategies,” a statement said.

The NMC and TRA expect the move to result in an increase in the TV ad spend in the UAE and to ensure a fair share for all channels.

Advertising expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2007 reached some $8 billion, up 20% over the 2006 figure, with TV taking 43% of overall ad spend throughout the region.

There are estimated to be more than 400 television channels in the Mideast/North Africa region.

“The NMC and the TRA are now seeking to chart a course toward the establishment of an accurate, credible and sustainable People Meter System in the UAE so as to build a transparent and regulated market for the broadcasting segment where all stakeholders can optimize their returns,” the statement said.

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