OVAB expands to Middle East

January 17, 2011 by Dave Haynes

This was hinted at a few weeks ago, but is now official – OVAB Europe has extended its reach into the Middle East region and signed up its first regional member – Abu Dhabi Media Digital Out Of Home, which runs the Al Barq Digital nework of screens/kiosks in major shopping malls over there.

“Advertising is a global business with major global holding companies controlling media spend, so the more work our industry does to establish common ways to create, sell, buy and measure this new medium, the more we’ll all benefit,” says Dirk Huelsermann, President of OVAB Europe, in a release. “There are so many business ties and shared brands across Europe and the Middle East that this is an easy, natural fit.”

“Digital Out Of Home media is particularly new in this region,” explained Al Barq Digital General Manager Andrew Wood, “so we have a somewhat unique opportunity here to apply many of the ideas, tools and insights developed by OVAB Europe to a sector that’s just getting itself established.”

Huelsermann noted the drive by Al Barq to establish the regional wing is particularly important because the start-up, which turned on its first screens in mid-2010, is backed by one the Middle East’s largest and fastest growing media organisations, Abu Dhabi Media Company, which has dozens of diverse media properties in broadcast, online and print. “In the short time Al Barq has made itself known, we’ve seen a lot of evidence that this will be a company to watch.”

The initial goal of OVAB’s expansion into MENA, along with building membership, is raising awareness of the need for formalised media standards and effectiveness measurements that help build credibility and acceptance among media buying groups and brand advertisers. “It’s very clear that what is of highest importance is demonstrating, consistently, the impact and benefits this medium delivers to advertisers, brands and the consumer,” added Wood.

The quarterly Digital Signage Business Climate Index, known as DBCI Europe, will have a new, parallel Middle East version beginning with Q1 2011. Media, brand and industry stakeholders will be approached with the aim of getting a better read on the business climate for this sector, and to also drive awareness of OVAB and its activities.

A first event for existing and prospective members is being targeted for Q1. Full details need to be worked through, but generally the benefits of joining the organisation include the opportunity to join competence teams and hold chair seats on membership teams, participate in all strategy meetings and initiatives, and have voting rights. Members also get free access to all OVAB events and research, and a company listing in all OVAB publications.

Smart move. You hear people in this sector reinforcing the need to establish standards and herd all the industry cats so they are going to market with common measures and messages. DOOH is still just getting organized in that region, so laying down standards pretty much from the start will stop the chaos before it can really start.

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