1) Advertising spend clocks $500m in first half of, 28/08/06

The UAE has maintained its position as the Gulf’s largest spender on advertising, with a total outlay of more than half a billion dollars in the first half of this year, compared with the same period of 2005, data released yesterday show.

The UAE logged a 10.43 per cent increase in ad spend from $460.41 million in the first six months of 2005 to $508.42m in the same period this year, according to recent statistics compiled by Arab Studies and Research Corporation (PARC).

Qatar, which will host the Asian Games this autumn, logged the maximum increase in spending, which rose 61.13 per cent from $63.01m to $101.53m.

“Qatar is sort of replicating what Dubai has been doing but on a much smaller scale; small with respect to Dubai but significant within the context of Qatar,” said Jihad Fakhreddine, a research manager for media at PARC.

Spending on advertising across the Gulf during the first six months of 2006 registered a 15.6 per cent increase over the same period of 2005, raising the total spend from $2.10 billion to $2.49bn. Pan-Arab advertising spend rose from $831.52m to $1.4841bn, an increase of 26.08 per cent, Parc statistics show.

“The increase during the first quarter of this year was very modest in most Gulf markets with some of them registering a decrease in advertising spend,” said Khamis Al Muqla, chairman of Gulf Marcom Group and President of the International Advertising Association’s Bahrain Chapter.

The market recovered in the second quarter, despite the conflict in Lebanon.

“The war in Lebanon has not resulted in a drop in the ad spend at the regional level, especially if you compare the war period with the corresponding period of 2005,” Fakhreddine said.

Print advertising remained the dominant medium across the Gulf, accounting for a 54.65 per cent share during the first half of this year. Of this, 44.15 per cent went to daily newspapers and 10.50 per cent to magazines.

Television followed with 41.09 per cent; billboards with 3.06 per cent and cinema and radio with 1.20 per cent. In the UAE, print advertising accounted for 85.92 per cent of total spend, with 68.28 per cent going to daily newspapers and 17.64 per cent to magazines.This was followed by television with 7.83 per cent, billboards with 4.87 per cent and radio and cinema with 1.39 per cent.

The pan-Arab share of the total Gulf advertising pie represented 41.91 per cent with the UAE accounting for 20.35 per cent, Saudi Arabia 19.22 per cent, Kuwait 9.74 per cent, Qatar 4.06 per cent, Oman 2.57 per cent and Bahrain 2.07 per cent.

“Advertising experienced major challenges earlier in the year owing to the impact of financial market conditions on the advertising activities of companies, prompting a reduction in advertising spending during the first quarter,” said Al Muqla.

2) Consumer protection agency to be set, 28/08/06

The UAE Government yesterday announced a new consumer protection law, which is set to reform the country’s retail sector and ensure that consumers get the best protection available.

Some of the key points of the 24-article law include:

A consumer protection higher committee is to be formed which will be headed by the Ministry of Economy and comprise representatives of the consumer protection society.

In case of a crisis or extraor dinary circumstances in the market leading to a hike in prices, the economy minister will adopt procedures to curb such price hikes and protect consumers’ interests against any prejudice.

A Consumer Protection Department will supervise the general policy for the protection of consumers in co-operation with concerned authorities.The department will also co-ordinate with the concerned authorities to curb any illegal commercial practices, which prejudice consumers.

It will work to increase customer awareness and rights, monitor price movements and control their increases; ensure the principle of fair competition and combat monopoly.

The department will also receive consumers’ complaints and refer them to competent authorities.

In case a consumer finds a commodity to be faulty, the supplier shall take back or replace the commodity.

A supplier shall abide by fixing on its cover in a conspicuous place a card containing data about the kind of commodity, its nature, ingredients, product’s name, date of production or packaging, net weight, country of origin, country of export (if any), instructions for use (if possible) and date of expiry, along with enclosing inside the package a detailed statement of the commodity’s ingredients, specifications, rules of use and risks in Arabic.

A supplier shall be liable for any damage resulting from the use of the commodity and its consumption and shall also be liable for failure to provide the spare parts for the durables within a specified time period and the guarantees declared or agreed upon with the consumer all in accordance with the rules issued by virtue of the minister’s resolution.

If the commodity were pro duced locally, the manufacturer and seller shall be jointly liable for the aforementioned.

Each commercial agent or distributor shall honour all guarantees provided by the manufacturer or the agent for the commodity subject matter of the agency.

Each supplier of commodi ties pledges to include in his contracts undertakings to provide after-sale repair, maintenance or service and take back the commodity within a specified time period following the emergence of faults therein.

No supplier may conceal any commodity or refrain from sale thereof for the purpose of controlling the market prices.

RIGHTS OF CONSUMERS A consumer shall be entitled to be indemnified against personal or financial damages in accordance with the general rules in force. Any agreement in contravention therewith shall be null and void.

The department shall enjoy legal capacity in representing consumers before the law and any other authority stipulated by the law.

Without prejudice to the rights of parties to resort to justice, the department may commence any settlement pertaining to the protection of consumers. PENALTIES Those found guilty of vio lating the provisions hereof and the executive resolutions will face a fine of Dh1,000.

3) Gulf advertising spending climbs 15.6% in H1, 27/08/06

Advertising spending in the Gulf during the first six months of 2006 registered a 15.6% increase compared with the same period of 2005, raising the total Gulf spending on media advertising throughout the Pan-Arab countries to $2.49 billion compared with $2.10 last year. (more)

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