Radio advertising is increasing its grip in the region and offering the best value for money in comparison to other parts of the world, according to officials of the Arabian Radio Network.
"We have a far better reach of listeners in the country, in comparison to most parts of the world, and despite that, the dollar-spend on advertising and branding is one of the lowest," says Mahmoud Al Rashhed, Deputy General Manager of ARN.
ARN is owned by the Arab Media Group, which also publishes Emirates Business.
The cost of a radio spot on ARN is as low as Dh275 to Dh500, depending on the frequency, communication plan, the radio channel and the choice of programme selected. The weekly sponsorship cost at any of the ARN radio station varies from Dh2,000 to Dh12,000.
ARN started operating their first Arabic language radio station Al Arabiya in September 2001 and since then has grown into a nine-station network broadcasting in Arabic, English, Hindi and regional Indian languages. "The radio's advantage of spontaneity is was critical to its success," says Mahmoud. "The eagerness to know the latest and at the earliest kept people glued to our newly-launched radio station and we were compared to the long time operator in the region Al Jazeera radio station of Qatar," adds Mahmoud.
Following that, the radio network moved from one success to another and provided some of the most unorthodox and many firsts in the region.
"Khaleeji music was a risky proposition as it had limited audience, or so people thought, but we dared to provide the local flavour and successfully launched the region's first Khaleeji music radio station.
"In addition to emirati and Khaliji music, the radio station also hosts programmes and discussion parting useful information and has developed over the years a strong listener loyalty," says Mahmoud. On the subject of value for money for ad-spend, Saed Abdul Fatah Nazzal, Chief Sales Officer of Arab Media Group, states that if you are to compare the cost between London and Dubai, "the price difference is enormous with almost the same reach".
"In London a 30-second spot could cost as much as Dh7,000, while in Dubai it will be as little as Dh 2,000," says Saed in support of the point raised by Mahmoud.
"Even elsewhere, like in south Africa, where listener reach of a radio station is not as wide as Dubai, the rates are exorbitant – up to 10 times higher," says Saed.