what opportunities are investors looking in media?

Media in Middle East is facing many problems. Some are related to the political arena, others are directly linked to the financial market. The traditional media always looked for funds through advertising or political campaigns funded by political figures, but these days investors in media are looking for new opportunities. But what they are focusing on? This is a discussion with an investor in the media sector Wael Hassan concerning:  

1- In this current financial crisis in Lebanon, and middle east.  what are the threats and opportunities for investors in the media sector ?


There are certainly many risk categories as it pertains to the profession itself and to the industry as an investment vehicle. The Lebanese revolution has created almost a shut down of advertising across the board.  Sponsors and brand managers are fearful of investing in uncertain climates with no return of investment. For the profession of itself, media personnel are targeted and are subject to intimidation.   So safety and return of investment are uncertain at this time.  That said, there is an opportunity for investment in media. I see three opportunities:

  1. Investing in pure play digital channels that disrupt traditional media
  2. Invest in crowdsourcing tools that leverage public participation
  3. Invest in fighting disinformation at the regional level.


Why would investment in Social Media or Social Media websites or Media Industry in general be beneficial?

The Lebanese are at the centre of middle eastern innovation, their original ideas have managed to propel or bolster much of the thriving arab medium.  Investment in social media would bring to Lebanon and to the region: revenue thus supporting local economy in the time of crises, exposure of the special identity that isn’t simply a replay of the conglomerate image, finally improved job and renewed hope in keeping talent in Lebanon.


2- The old way of investing was through political campaigns or advertising, what are the best new ways of investment in the media industry ?

Investing in a cause or with a purpose will increasingly receive attention.  Political campaigns have traditionally been centred around people, political parties, however purpose investing brings the issue back to fundamentals.


3- Earlier, many Arabian brands or campaigners used to invest in the Lebanese media to communicate with customers, but after launching Media City in Dubai, and many other new channels in the middle east, there seems to be no need anymore, so that market is closed . How can we overcome this situation in Lebanon? How is the Middle East reaching their target audience?  Why is the Lebanese media no longer a subject of interest anymore?


Investment in Lebanese media isn’t a threat or comparison with the Media City in Dubai or any other advertising haven. It’s a known fact that many Lebanese companies run media or ad agencies in Lebanon as well as Dubai.  Talent is the attraction, not the location.   This means that any centre of innovation cannot sustain itself without talent.  At the risk of being bias, Lebanese talent has been the source of inspiration or leadership of many places.  I do think that the availability of talent in Lebanon is an opportunity and hence its more than opportune to invest to bring about regional and potentially international solutions.


About Rita Chahwan

ريتا بولس شهوان، صحافية وباحثة صدر لها عدد من الكتب منها "الكويت وإرادة الاستقلال في الوثائق العثمانية" و "ماذا فعل مدحت باشا في الخليج"(ذات السلاسل) وعملت في عدد من الصحف والمواقع الالكترونية العربية. تلقت تدريبات دولية على الاستقصاء وتخصصت في الاستقصاء الاجتماعي – الاقتصادي كما تولي اهمية كبيرة للشأن السياسي.

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