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A third of MENA media investments goes to Silicon Valley

Elie Khouri speaks to Gulf News about where the media industry is headed.

The maths may be simple but dealing with the implications is much less so. Take the regional media investments, some $3.4 billion in 2018, and set aside some 40% or $1.4 billion for digital. When 75% of this goes to the digital giants like Google and Facebook, what you get is over $1 billion of MENA advertising money leaving this region.

As Elie Khouri, CEO of Omnicom Media Group MENA, says in an interview with Gulf News, this amount isn’t reinjected into our economy or industry. This explains, partly, why our sector is struggling to create or keep jobs, particularly among media owners. There’s no denying the rationale for using these platforms or their performance on brands’ advertising. Yet, we must consciously try and mitigate the long-term implications of these investment decisions on our eco-system.

This doesn’t mean the US digital giants should be regarded as foes, he argues. Over the the years, agencies have learned to work with them and digital giants are now relying on agencies for what they do best: build brands and businesses.

MENA isn’t alone in having to adapt to the dominance of tech giants. Different regions have sought different ways to deal with the impact. It is with partnerships and conscious collaboration that sustainability and balance will prevail in our industry.

For more on this, you can read the full interview here.