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January 20, 2006

Comments

waterboy

Ipsos-Stat tend, in my personal opinion, to obfuscate quite a few important facts - like sample size, margin of error, and pretty much any other methodological details - while casting aspersions about the methodologies used by any market research outfits that produce figures at odds with their own findings. When I've got a little more time I plan to needle them for more information - will let you know if I get anywhere.

collounsbury

Waterboy, btw, is a journo as I recall.

Problem from a business perspective in region (not that I work or worked in media, but have overseen investments in the internet sector) is the 'brown paper envelope' effect on some data reporting.

It's worse in some markets than others, but in re Sat TV, some big swingers from the Gulf have sunk lots of cash into pet projects. Egos and prestige trump commercial factors in Sat TV market at present IMO, and you're going to see a lot of influence peddling in that context.

Radio may be a bit cleaner, but it's also less liberalised to date (all things being relative).

So, sadly from the business perspective ( I just participated in a conference call on this ), I can't say anything I know suggest strong positive trends commercially to produce good data for you mate.

Of course media is very tangential to my knowledge, so I could well be quite wrong.

the aardvark

Col,

You're absolutely right - which is why I don't see this happening unless some far-sighted grant agency sees fit to make it financially possible for some enterprising and visionary academic to create it him or herself. Lot of money would be needed, though.

collounsbury

Well, I recall once in meeting some of the US Middle East Partnership blah blah fools a few years ago when they were doing due diligence for their schemes, pimping the concept of financing such things. No interest, prefer to piss away their money on stupid democracy promotion idiocies and endless due diligence on mythical investment funds to be run by political hacks in Washington.

I still have a hankering for my half-baked idea of the US setting up a financing scheme to place support via adverts on independent media to create a bit of financial independence, for all that it is likely to be hijacked....

However, the grant would have to be huge, such a study would require a firm. It would be a good idea, but hard as hell.

praktike

actually, AA, I was reading chapter four of your book on the train back from Alex tonight, and it struck me that you really need to open some kind of research center on the Arab media. I'm sure you could get it funded. But there's so much in what you've done in the book that is valuable in general and applicable in the specific to the policy world.

Jamal

I totally agree with the notion that we're seeing fragmentation more than the victory of one station over the other. But I also wonder if there's a stock market component to Al-Arabiya's rising Saudi popularity. Gulf equity markets are booming (big surprise in a nearly $70 crude environment eh?) and have been for several years now. Al-Arabiya runs Saudi stock tickers, has a CNBC-like set of business shows, and generally makes itself far more amenable to Saudi equity watchers than Jazeera does. If you believe the argument - certainly not unreasonable - that most or at least many Arabiya watchers in the kingdom are "wealthy with high purchasing power", then it would seem to give Arabiya an advantage in-kingdom at least. Of course, we'd need to see some of those pesky details on who's actually watching what to answer the question.

moryarti

1. Knowing AC Nielsen, they don't have the capability (with their over-crammed sharja based office) to do a research such as this one.

2. Jihad Ballout is al Jazeerh ex director of communications and insiders told me that he did not leave on very good terms with his previous employer few months back to join Al Arabiya.. (hint hint)

3. Ipos-stat findings and analysis is using very generalist terms and its obvious how they heavily relied on a quantitative research methodology

4. Al Arabiya is currently running a major self-profiling ad campaign across the gcc with focus on Saudi and UAE...

Put all these together, add a bit of classic anti-al jazeera/anti-qatar sentiments back from the good 'ol days, you could easily understand why the findings came out that way ..

collounsbury

But I also wonder if there's a stock market component to Al-Arabiya's rising Saudi popularity. Gulf equity markets are booming (big surprise in a nearly $70 crude environment eh?) and have been for several years now. Al-Arabiya runs Saudi stock tickers, has a CNBC-like set of business shows, and generally makes itself far more amenable to Saudi equity watchers than Jazeera does.

Interesting observation. I can say from my professional perspective (and not being a KSA boursa dupe) al Arabiyah is a more business friendly in terms of reporting on economic-business issues. Jazeerah has an old school Arab nationalist Left approach to these things which render it ... well tedious sometimes, for all that I appreciate its spunkiness on sensitive political issues (ex Qatar but who the bloody hell cares about a thimble?).

How much audience this gets (CNBC Al Arabiyah probably only has me watching it) seems discussable, but may very well be a real driver.

Abu Sinan

You cannot really trust anything Asharq al Awsat says about Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya. Al Arabiya and Asharq al Awsat are Saudi owned and run. The Saudis have had long standing issues with Al Jazeera and I view this in all just that light.

The Saudis get rather annoyed when they cannot buy or control Arabic media.

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