DUBAI: One year on from the introduction of TV meters in the United Arab Emirates, advertisers are still waiting to see concrete results that will guide what they are charged by broadcasters, as progress remains slow.

"The project's fruition depends on agencies, clients and media identifying common grounds of interest and — with the help of proven expertise, both locally and internationally — following through by using those approaches that guarantee statistically valid and reliable results," Dr. Lance de Masi, president of the UAE Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA), told Gulf News.

He said the IAA was backing the efforts to reach a satisfactory conclusion but added: "The uncertainty regarding the introduction of TV meters in the UAE has been around for years."

Rishi Saxena, research director at Business Compass Mena, was more upbeat. "TV meters are very much in place and have been evolving for the better since their launch almost a year back," he said.

And he echoed de Masi on the need to find common ground: "The process has become more inclusive, involving key stakeholders such as advertisers, media agencies and media owners in strategically shaping the initiative."

He also argued that there was a need to proceed carefully to create a technically sound system that could be scaled across other countries in the region.

In the meantime, however, rising costs in the TV industry are affecting both advertisers and broadcasters.

Observers point to the higher quality of programming in the region, with popular international formats being acquired and produced in Arabic, being reflected in higher advertising rates of between 25% and 40%.

"Rising media costs are definitely a concern for media agencies on behalf of their clients, because this means we have to support a certain level of inflation that neither our clients nor us are prepared to bear," said an industry source.

"That is why we have to be more creative when it comes to making sure that our clients are actually able to secure value for their money, decent inflation rates and growth," he added.

Data sourced from Gulf News; additional content by Warc staff