Stakeholders eye Gulf-wide TV audience measurement system

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 19-02-2012

Implementation of a Gulf-wide system to measure television audiences is being explored in an effort to increase the Arab world's US$4 billion advertising industry, according to Abu Dhabi daily The National.
Currently, only the UAE has a 'people meter' system to measure the number of viewers various TV channels attract, although plans are underway to introduce a similar scheme in Saudi Arabia over the the coming 18 months.
Now, preliminary discussions have reportedly taken place to expand the TV audience measurement system across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Yemen.
"There is a clear appreciation that we need to have a GCC-wide TV audience measurement," Thomas Kuruvilla, managing director of consultant Arthur D Little Middle East, is quoted as saying in The National. "There is a willingness and ambition to move towards that," he said.
Mr Kuruvilla told the newspaper that three major regional TV companies – MBC, Rotana and OSN – are shareholders in Saudi's new TV audience measurement company, adding that a 25% stake is still available for advertisers.
The project, run by Saudi Arabia's ministry of culture, will see up to 1,800 homes receive monitoring boxes to give a representative sample of the Kingdom's most popular TV channels.