DUBAI: Advertising revenues in the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East's biggest single market, fell by 14% in the first quarter of this year on an annual basis, reports the Pan-Arab Research Center.

The Middle East is expected to see adspend slow slightly this year according to GroupM, although companies like Unilever have also expressed an interest in expanding their operations in the region.

Categories posting major slides in spending included the property and financial sectors, which registered downturns of 60% and 46% respectively, compared with drop offs of 43% and 22% over the region as a whole.

Newspaper ad revenues in the UAE also fell by 26% for Arabic publications, and 23% for English-language titles, with magazine spending off by 4%.

PARC reports that total adspend in the Middle East actually rose by 11% in the first three months of this year, including an upturn in expenditure of over 40% in Lebanon and Qatar, while pan-Arab outlay also grew by 28% over the same period.

By contrast, Egypt saw revenues slide by 10% in Q1, with Bahrain down by 9%, while the UAE's growth rate slid from the 40% improvement it has enjoyed in the first quarter in each of the last three years.

Data sourced from The National; additional content by WARC staff