Ziad Khammar, chief operating officer at Digital Media Services, the digital arm of Choueiri Group, revealed in an interview with Chief Marketing Officers Magazine (CMOs) the targeted plans for DMS to expand their business in the Arab region, and Egyptian market in particular, as well as his opinion about the digital scene, what the industry learned from the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the top challenges in 2021.
It is noteworthy that Ziad Khammar has spent over 20 years in the Middle East working in the digital marketing, media and business space assisting various sized organizations, media companies and startups to achieve their business goals. Ziad joined Choueiri Group in 2012 and played various roles in developing the group’s digital capabilities, and was instrumental in developing “DMS”.
- Supporting publishers and platforms in local markets will create a sustainable regional media industry.
- Advertisers’ blind support of social media is funding misinformation, and the cause of fake news which has destroyed the media sector.
- We are investing heavily in “DMS Video”, our fastest growing ad product which offers advertisers guaranteed video views in a brand safe and high reach environment.
Returning to script of Interview…
Could you tell us more about your position as Chief Operating Officer at DMS?
In short, I lead a team which is dedicated to “raising the voice of independent publishers and platforms” to benefit advertisers across many regional markets, including one of our most important ones, Egypt. I help bring together the best media brands, and combined with our leading tech team, ad tech stack, content experts, data scientists and market leading salespeople, we provide brands and advertisers with the best of what the Arab region has to offer. In doing so, we proudly represent some of the most recognizable media brands in the Arab world, including Anghami, Mawdoo3, Kooora, Dailymotion, OLN, Weyak, Jamalouki, amongst so many others.
What can the Digital Media industry learn from the Covid-19 Pandemic and what are its top challenges in 2021?
We all witnessed the rapid acceleration of digital transformation and how it changed digital marketing forever. But throughout it all one thing remained constant, and this was human capital. Whatever technological advances arise in the future – whether A.I., demise of 3rd party cookies, or VR, etc., we can rest assured that people will remain at the center of these developments. COVID has possibly instilled a greater sense of fear and uncertainty in people. This has made staff retention, investing in the potential of people, and giving them hope for a better future, amongst the greatest challenges for 2021. People are, after all, the key drivers of the Arab media industry. I am personally placing maximum efforts into letting our staff know how much we value them and are planning to invest in their future.
Keeping pace with the digital revolution in the Covid-19 era, what are DMS’ future plans with regards to expanding in the MENA region, or raising investments for its digital services or products?
We have been investing in data, ad tech, content and programmatic for years, and we are excited about bringing our best-of-breed services to Cairo. One area of deep investment for DMS is digital video, as we are aggressively expanding our fastest growing ad product (DMS Video). The product brings together our complete portfolio of instream and outstream digital video partners to offer advertisers guaranteed video views in a brand safe and high reach environment.
What are your expectations for digital ad spend in 2021? What will advertising look like post-pandemic?
Faster growth, but unfortunately the majority of this spend continues to flow outside the region towards global tech platforms and social media channels. I am hopeful that advertisers will realize that their blind support of social media is funding misinformation, and the cause of fake news which has destroyed the media sector across the globe. I am also hopeful that advertisers will balance their support for their favorite Arab publishers and platforms to ensure ad flow circulates within local markets. This will work to create a sustainable regional media industry. Imagine a world where we no longer have trusted and credible local news and media brands anymore, a world without journalism where only user generated content and fake news exists.
How many media platforms does DMS exclusively represent at the current time? And are there any upcoming deals?
We proudly and exclusively represent more than 25 media brands and you can expect many new announcements over the coming months – especially across one of my favorite markets, Egypt.
What are DMS’ plans to expand their business in the Egyptian market?
We plan to invest much more time and effort into our operation in Cairo, which may entail expanding our already great local team. We are also looking into representing up and coming Egyptian media brands, who could benefit from monetizing more aggressively in Egypt, as well as across the Arab World.