Saudi Press

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Friday, Dec 02, 2022

Arab media must adapt to changing technology and demands, experts say

Technological developments are behind rapid growth and changing demands in the Arab media industry, Abdullah Al-Humaidani, deputy director of digital media at the Saudi Broadcasting Authority, told Arab News.
His comments came during the 22nd session of the Arab Radio and Television Festival, held in Riyadh from Nov. 9-12.

Al-Humaidani added that digitization efforts by specialized media institutions in radio and television in the region are critical to the success of the industry.

“It is best to focus on interaction and increasing views on the digital platforms of channels and radios to attract the advertising bodies, more than the traditional marketing efforts to advertise on the traditional screen or radio,” he said.

He added that traditional media tools remain important in terms of credibility and reliability, as the digital field is “a fertile ground for rumors and unknown sources.”

The deputy director said that the television and radio industry must adapt to new communicative behaviors among audiences.

“The reality of the Arab media faces great challenges related to the thinking style of media leaders, the importance of switching platforms and the manufacture of creative material close to the audience,” he added.

“The institutions in charge must humanize the media material, approach people’s interests, produce diverse content and use archiving to produce a distinctive industry.”

Al-Humaidani said that the Arab Radio and Television Festival was an opportunity to review modern media technologies, exchange experiences and present pioneering ideas in the field of audiovisual media.

“The media industry has changed. We must focus on narrative content, publishing attractive visual language and marketing in digital platforms. We must notice that opinion trends and TV news indicators have begun to be taken through social media platforms and sites. So stagnation and lack of development will lead the media bodies to find themselves out of the competition,” he warned.

The festival featured “the launch of many initiatives and partnerships aimed at strengthening the Arab production industry in line with various developments, and drawing clear features for the future of professional standards for the media map in the region.”

Abjad Al-Nafel, a television presenter and researcher in new media, stressed the importance of developing radio and television in Arab societies, pointing at the same time to the importance of “employing the new media in the service of the old media, and not the other way around.”

He added that major technological transformations have occurred during the past two decades, “especially that the recipient has options to choose himself, unlike what was previously the case when the channel or radio determined the content that was broadcasting the material according to its media agenda.”

Al-Nafel said that it was important for radio and television to play a role in the development of peoples by “providing educational and targeted materials, although their impact is not the same as before.”

Ahmed Addayhani, correspondent at Montecarlo Al-Doualiya, said that radio, television and traditional media channels have “lost their public attention” in following events, news and even entertainment content. However, he added that they “remain the most reliable among the audience, especially with regard to following up on events and pursuing true news.”

Moath Otoom, CEO of the Qaafe Center for Media Studies and Political Science, said that digital developments have affected the economies of media institutions, especially in publishing, production and marketing.

This has contributed to changing the patterns and habits of consumers by providing a variety of content that meets their needs and desires, he added.

Otoom said: “Television and radio have great economic importance, offset in importance by the cultural, entertainment and news value that works on the development of peoples.

“The Arab media movement several years ago reflects the bright image on which it is based, and evidence of this is the participation of major Arab and Western media institutions in the Arab Radio and Television Festival currently, which enriches the media environments in the region in particular.”

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