At the recent Arab Media Forum in Madinat Juimeirah, Ross Dawson presented a session titled ‘The Future of Arab Media’ and concluded that the demise of printed media is not as important as some professionals believe. He stated that the news itself is what’s important – and how that news is delivered, whether on paper or digitally, “really doesn’t matter”.
Digital media is due to be at the heart of the expected rise in the global economy over the next 20-25 years, the Khaleej Times reports. According to Dawson, there are seven elements driving the success of this sector: participation, fragmentation, evolved revenue models, personalisation, increased media consumption, increased bandwidth and generational changes.
Fragmentation has been the most influential factor in the media industry in recent years, Dawson claims, as the increasing number of available digital channels means the sector is split into smaller portions – a trend set to continue. Arabic media is swiftly becoming a front runner in today’s digitally-dominated world; Twitter and Facebook users in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are rated as some of the most engaged in the world. With 95% of the world’s population logging onto various social networks for more than 2.5 hours every day, local news consumers keen to take advantage of these impressive figures are expected to keep the future of Arab media looking bright.
If other Arab nations start to take note of digital and the advantages it can bring then this future will look even better, Dawson added. Print media is very slow compared to the speed at which news is shared and created across online platforms. The news has become a “community-assisted medium.” therefore countries should aim to keep up with this trend. Nowadays, individuals take note of various forms of media throughout the day, so for media empires to address this they need to shift from old channels to new ones.