"This is a time when smart campaigns and effective media solutions will thrive."
—What do you think of the UAE's outdoor advertising industry?
—The UAE is an emerging nation with a young advertising industry. It offers a growing and vibrant mix of traditional media and new technologies, which all seek their niché in the broad advertising landscape. Coupled with the nation's incredible growth over the past years, it is fair to say that this landscape is a very fluid and changing one.
The major entities are here and are establishing their own brand positions. Dubai is fortunate also to have a high calibre of experienced advertising and media personnel within the ranks, ensuring a professional approach.
—Has the economic meltdown hit your company?
—Like all industries, advertising will reflect the current market conditions. In any economic slowdown, advertising and marketing budgets are often the first to be under scrutiny; now will be no different. Clients will still need to advertise and communicate in order to build on brand equity and maintain share of voice. This is a time when smart campaigns and effective media solutions will thrive. Media companies that provide quantifiable ROI will be highly valued as they enable advertisers to plan and account for each dirham spent.
Every company is operating in a tough environment. Fortunately, we have already embarked on a strategy of providing accountability to our offering for advertisers. In this way, we are positioning our medium to provide the results focus that each and every marketer needs, to achieve ROI.
—Have advertising rates come down?
—Yes. The industry has responded by offering rates that reflect the current market environment and also market flexibility to answer companies' campaign objectives. In the short term, this will continue until the market regains stability; although it is important to realise that the market here is normalising. Instead of longer annual bookings, which can be set and forgotten, activity is becoming more campaign driven and shorter term. This is very much the behaviour of the more established markets across the globe and therefore the emergence from the current economic challenges will see the market in a more "normal" operating state.
—How will you deal with the competition?
—Our product is unique within Dubai's outdoor advertising landscape, in that there is no street furniture within the current product offering. As many people within this market are aware, street furniture – and in particular bus shelters – is one of the most proven, successful and accountable outdoor mediums in the world, offering a different outdoor solution for advertisers rather than the traditional mediums which have previously existed. Therefore, we do not see ourselves as directly competing with the existing offerings.
—Will Dubai Metro eat into your market share?
—The Dubai Metro is a highly targeted outdoor advertising offering, which focuses on the users of the service. Right Angle's street furniture offering has a different focus – it interacts with all people in Dubai: car users, transit users and pedestrians alike. Strictly speaking, Dubai Metro will not eat into our share of the market, as the Metro delivers a different outcome for advertisers. However, any new project in Dubai impacts on the number of advertising opportunities that are available – this does not mean there are more marketing dirhams. The future for all advertising mediums is to provide the correct solution to the brief, rather than a one-size-fits-all mentality.
—What made you turn to street furniture?
—When we looked at a gap analysis of the UAE outdoor market, over four years ago, we found that the missing link was the lack of street furniture within the current landscape. Our corporate strength is in providing outdoor advertising solutions and we saw this as an opportunity.
—What are your biggest challenges in 2009 which is being touted as the first and the worst year of the recession?
—The challenges we all face are many and varied and it is important that we manage the needs of the business in relation to the market needs. We need to come through this in a strong manner and are acting accordingly. We are focusing on what our clients are looking for and working in partnership with them, to deliver the best results. Like all businesses in all industries, 2009 will ensure the utmost vigilance in terms of prudent financial management and, just as we provide an accountable solution to our customers, we will provide an accountable solution to our shareholders.
—Your wish list from the government?
—The government is our greatest stakeholder and together, we have created a world-first. Now, the focus is on ensuring the health of the assets and to promote the well-being of the outdoor industry at large. For the industry to prosper, it must have a genuine partnership with the government. For this to happen, the government needs to have an industry body with which it can have a continuous policy dialogue with. It is our hope that this is forthcoming and that as an industry we can unite to deal with our collective issues in a professional and constructive manner.
PROFILE: Patrick Chaundy, President & COO, Right Angle Media
Chaundy is a prominent leader within the international media community, and has worked throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.
Chaundy was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Right Angle Media in October 2008, with full responsibility for Right Angle Media's business operations. With a focus on accountability and enhancing the leadership team's various professional assets, Patrick is perfectly poised to maximise the long term commercial performance of Right Angle Media.
Chaundy also held positions of responsibility with firms such as Clear Channel UK, Express Newspapers, Scottish Media Group and Hearst Corporation National Magazine Company.
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