It can be hard to believe that TV advertising still plays a role in marketing, especially when the digital wave is taking over. With so many digital marketing platforms emerging and more to come, it is easy to underestimate the power of TV in advertising where it is overlooked and is considered an old traditional method. But yes, your brand still needs TV as an advertising and marketing tool. That doesn’t necessarily mean that TV is more important than digital or any other medium, but as a rule of thumb, selecting the right channels for your target audience is what makes the difference.


There are several ways to buy space on TV and track its impact on your brand or even sales. But before going through tracking TV here in the Middle East where people meter isn’t available, let us briefly go through key points.


We’ll start with this simple table showing TV, Radio, and Digital penetration against the total population in the UAE and Saudi Arabia (As an example):

Ipsos & hoot suite penetration data for the KSA Market
Ipsos & hoot suite penetration data for the UAE Market
Source: Ipsos Statex 2018 – 2021 (data would change based on targeting/audience)

Now that we’ve gone through data and statistics, we can tell how TV advertising remains powerful and resilient in GCC.


Back to UAE, how many TV stations can reach Dubai’s audience? 

Before COVID-19, we had around 778 TV stations across the GCC and Levant, and among them, there are 271 stations that can contribute to your overall TV campaign reach against the UAE Market. The market is broad and diverse.



What are the types of advertising you can buy on TV?

  • Spot Buys: These are the 30-sec TVC (TV Commercials) you watch in an ad-break.
  • Sponsorship: It is a package that includes an intro and outro of the show you are sponsoring as well as an intro and outro of all the ad-breaks within the show. Some sponsorships include features, or a segment dedicated to your brand. For example, when HSBC sponsors a news section on Al Arabiya TV, they will have a segment within the show that talks about key changes in stock numbers.
  • Product Placement: Think of Marvels where you always see Audi R8 with Tony Stark, or my best product placement ever with the launch of the new Camaro by chevy in Transformer movie.


  • Program/Own Show: You can create your own show on a TV of your choice, and it can be managed by the TV station from scratch, in addition to receiving a share of the ads during your own program.
  • Features: This can be an interview with your brand’s CEO or spokesperson, updates on stock, a reminder of an important event, or even a 2 to 3-minute show within an existing one. For example, a travel show where during that show your brand gets a minute or two to talk about hotels within that area. 
Stages that TV advertising would take to build effective TV Campaign

What are the measuring tools you can use in UAE or other GCC countries?

  • The most important tool is Ipsos Xplan or Zplan
    • You will need this tool to understand which shows/movies/series will give you the highest reach against your TA.
  • Statex by Ipsos
    • This will help you track your spots on a daily basis without having to wait or depend on the TV station’s report. It also helps with post evaluation as it gives you accurate post-delivery when connecting it with Xplan.
  • TGI by Park (Target Group Index) – one of my favs to add another layer to my planning.
    • This continuous survey will give you insights on consumers’ usage habits, as well as media exposure and attitudes which accordingly helps you understand your TA better instead of just going to the highest rating show.
  • Moat Integration with TV
    • This helps you measure consumers’ attention across channels and gives you insights on duplication between paid media and real-time brand lift measurement.
  • Brand Tracking
    • When launching a TV campaign one of your key objectives is to build brand awareness and maintain top-of-mind awareness against your TA. Here is where brand tracking comes into play; it helps you learn more about the brand’s awareness and perception. This is an extremely important step, especially when you spend millions of dollars on TV.
    • It will also help you understand whether your current campaign has succeeded in delivering the message you wanted or if you need to make tweaks to your TVC.

It can be overwhelming when you are planning TV, especially since it is a manual placement in Dubai and any city within the GCC or Levant vs. digital where you can easily let the system follow your audience. With that being said, I would highly recommend getting the job done through an agency even if you can get as much discount as any agency because they support you with 3rd party data to help you optimise your TV campaign, not only this but some TV stations give agencies better spot location within the ad break.

To sum it up, as I’ve shared here with you my experience and insights on this topic in a nutshell, now it’s your turn to do your own research or consult your agency/marketing team on when and where to advertise, to get a fully tailored plan that best suits your objectives.