With the increase in the production of television series during the holy month of Ramadan, millions of Egyptians choose to spend their evenings watching TV -- which can be a huge source of profit for the companies and producers of those series.
Al-Nahar television company, for instance, has launched five different series this Ramadan on six of their channels. The company has also launched two new channels.
“Ramadan is a much-awaited time of year in Egypt, one characterised by very high ratings -- a chance all advertisers wish to seize. Over the past two years, the Ramadan advertising market has witnessed an unprecedented boost,” explains Dina Farouk, marketing manager of Al-Nahar television company.
“New content and television shows during Ramadan attract massive numbers of viewers, and the advertising industry is obviously attracted by this spike in viewership,” she adds.
A vicious cycle
Coca-Cola Ramadan advertisement (photo: still from the advertisement)
Dozens of television channels have spent hundreds of millions of pounds this year to buy Ramadan television series, the price for which has doubled compared to last year.
“Since the cost of of buying Ramadan shows doubled this year, channels were obligated to increase the length of advertising breaks,” Farouk says.
According to the marketing manager, the average cost for a series this year is between EGP 60 and 80 million.
However, Amr Qais, head of global market research at Ipsos Egypt, believes that “increasing the price of advertising and the length of advertising breaks is a very risky solution for these channels, since the supply is abundant and there are numerous television channels.”
According to Qais, a 35-minute episode is interrupted by over one hour of advertising.
The internet and social media have also provided new viewership platforms, but a study published in 2016 by the American research institute Oxford Business Group shows that television remains the main advertising platform in Egypt, as 95 percent of the population still watches television daily.
Apart from the increase in the cost of Ramadan television, the production of advertisements has become more costly, especially since the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.
A growing industry
Carrier Ramadan advertisement (photo: still from the advertisement)
Advertisements are simultaneously a unit of measurement and a tool of economic growth. The Egyptian advertising market has witnessed a significant boost since 2015.
According to the local advertising agency Mindshare, total spending on advertising in Egypt reached 2.7 billion pounds in 2015, a 12.5 percent increase from 2014.
In 2015, 30 percent of advertising spending was concentrated during the month of Ramadan.
2016 was also a very good year for the advertising industry.
A study on advertising worldwide conducted by US company Magma for global media market studies ranked Egypt’s advertising industry as one of the fastest growing in the world. According to the study, the sector witnessed a 17 percent increase in 2016.
However, experts are wary when it comes to advertising during Ramadan this year.
According to Qais, it is difficult to anticipate the level of advertising spending during the first week of the month for two reasons.
The first is the increase in the price of advertisements (production and broadcasting), the second is the national economic climate, which pushes advertisers to reduce the marketing budget for some of their products.
“The state of the economy has changed consumer preferences. Advertisers are well aware of this. Some find themselves obligated to reduce their marketing budget, while others see it as an opportunity to market their products. This vision varies from one sector to the next, depending on the state of the market,” explains Yehia Sameh, assistant manager of Promomedia, the main advertising supplier for ONTV.
Even though there is a clear tendency among advertisers to use local and international stars in their campaigns (which leads to an increase in advertisement spending), it is still too early to estimate the volume of advertisements during Ramadan in 2017.
The real estate and banking sectors have shown little presence in advertisements since the beginning of the month.
“So far, only Banque Misr and EG Banque have broadcasted advertisements,” notes Qais, stating that one should wait until the last 10 days of Ramadan to better understand the market.
Emaar for real estate, the National Bank of Egypt, and Pepsi have all so far been absent from the advertising scene.
President cheese Ramadan advertisement (photo: still from the advertisement)
Television channels have tried to attract advertising by presenting offers in packs.
According to an article published in Al-Dostour, the MBC network offers an EGP 150 million package for 300 advertising sequences that are 30 seconds long.
The DMC network offers an EGP 140 million package for 250 advertising sequences of the same length.
CBC and Al-Nahar offer an EGP 80 million package for 220 advertising sequences.
“The prices vary according to the length of the broadcast, the series during which they are broadcast, the product advertised, and the channel on which it is aired,” explains Qais.
Telecommunication companies have launched their advertising campaigns starting the third day of Ramadan this year, and their advertisements are broadcast on almost every channel.
“As in past years, Vodafone, Orange and Etisalat still at the top of Ramadan advertisers,” concludes Qais.
Other major ad spenders include charity organisations like Masr Al-Kheir, Ormane, Bank Al-Taam and Beit Al-Zakah near Al-Azhar, as well as the 57357 Hospital and Magdi Yacoub Hospital.
“Many charity associations are competing to benefit from the Egyptian people’s Zakat (alms) during the Holy Month,” says Dina Farouk, explaining that these charities receive special offers from the channels that broadcast their advertisements.
Etisalat Ramadan advertisement (photo: still from the advertisement)
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