The UAE: A Global Hub for OOH

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W Group Joins International Media Leaders at WOO MENA FORUM 2023 Exploring Sector Growth

Dubai, UAE

W Group Chairman and CEO Habib Wehbi in WOO Forum

“By hosting its MENA forum in Dubai, the World Out-of-Home Organization (WOO) emphasizes the significance of this region for the global OOH advertising industry”, said W Group Chairman and CEO Habib Wehbi.

Over three days, industry leaders and professionals took advantage of this unique opportunity to network and share ideas with their peers, to stay informed and up to date on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the OOH world.

W Group team at WOO MENA forum

The WOO Forum in Dubai this year held great strategic importance for several reasons:

First and foremost, Dubai is a major hub for business and commerce in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With a rapidly growing population and increasing consumer spending, the MENA region presents a significant opportunity for OOH advertisers, and the forum provides a platform for industry professionals to tap into this potential and make valuable connections in the region.

By bringing together experts from around the world, the WOO Forum has created a space for meaningful discussions and the exchange of ideas, which can lead to new innovations and the development of new strategies for success.

“Another important aspect of the WOO Forum in Dubai is its focus on the future of the OOH advertising industry. The forum provides a platform for attendees to gain insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and to make strategic decisions about how best to capitalize on the growth of the OOH advertising market”, added Wehbi.

Group COO Philip Matta participating in the Regional Supply side panel at WOO Forum

W Group in WOO

Being one of the major players in the OOH regional scene, through its subsidiaries Hypermedia and DigitAll, W Group joined this global event by being the Platinum sponsor and participating in many side panels and talks.

“The OOH advertising industry can grow its share of the global ad market by incorporating digital displays, programmatic buying, contextual advertising, and integrating with other channels. The MENA market has potential for growth in the OOH advertising industry, especially in markets with increasing urbanization and population growth”, Group COO at W Group Philip Matta said.

He added during a side panel led by WOO President Tom Goddard, that “the industry must invest in new technologies and innovative advertising experiences to attract consumers and provide a strong return on investment for advertisers, and work with government regulators to ensure a supportive regulatory environment.”

Matta explained that “the OOH industry in the UAE offers numerous opportunities due to its high population density, rapid urbanization, innovative technology, and growing tourism sector. However, it also faces challenges such as competition for premium advertising space, strict regulations, digital disruption, and the need for sustainability. Nevertheless, the industry is expected to continue to grow driven by the country’s strong economy and population growth.”

Commenting on the data measurement tools implemented lately in the UAE OOH media infrastructure, Matta said that “consistent audience measurement in OOH media in the Middle East and North Africa region is important for increased accuracy, transparency, and standardization of advertising value and pricing. This can be achieved through collaboration among industry stakeholders and the use of common methodologies, metrics, and reporting standards with independent verification. We at W Group have partnered with Streach and Advertima to empower our OOH network with data and give the opportunity to our clients to design data-driven campaigns to optimize their ROI.”

Matta affirmed that “marketers and OOH owners need to continuously explore new ways to use technology and data to create more impactful experiences for consumers.”

W Group CMO Ghada El-Kari presenting “The UAE: An Impactful OOH Landscape”

In a presentation titled “The UAE: An Impactful OOH Landscape”, W Group CMO Ghada El-Kari gave an insightful overview on how the global future of OOH looks like in the UAE today.

“The OOH impact is massive and guaranteed in the UAE, as it cannot be blocked by the current global crisis! It has nearly no effect whatsoever on the OOH industry. And the reason is very simple! UAE is known for its advanced infrastructure, world-class maritime and logistics capabilities – a competitive environment conducive to all OOH assets exposed to individuals from all around the world,” El-Kari said.

She added: “The United Arab Emirates was forward thinking years ago by prioritizing digital transformation. That is part of its wider national economic development and diversification transformation. Until 2020, static formats were still dominating the OOH scene, especially outdoors. Only in the past few years, UAE has seen a tremendous shift into digital within outdoor assets, and all we can say is that there are many more to come. Malls have ridden the digital wave, and public transport (Metro and Airports) pop digital assets of various sizes. All we can say is that you need to buckle up as many innovative approaches in smart technologies and effective content are on the way.”

El-Kari revealed that “the large scale of investment in the OOH sector has turned the UAE into an all-encompassing dynamic OOH landscape within your daily journey. OOH accompanies you, anywhere and everywhere you go in the UAE all through the day in attractive formats to grab your attention and engage with you. Media suppliers are becoming more and more a pivoting player in UAE’s infrastructure by bringing into life tons of innovations and a wide range of highly sophisticated digital solutions to their landscapes. All this landscape is shaped into creating an impactful experience, and a memorable experience that leaves its mark through a newness statement, such as state-of-the-art technologies.”

Powered by real-time data, El-Kari explained that the UAE digital OOH market is set to welcome more interactive and efficient signage that will include facial recognition, smart triggers advertising and sociodemographic. “Creating an experiential ecosystem with a focus on storytelling is definitely the road ahead,” El-Kari said.

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