A recent YouGov poll identified the ten most popular media brands in the UAE. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Gulf News came in second after YouTube in the UAE on YouGov's brand ranking in the media sector.

The ranking shows where brands are positioned compared to their competitors for the period between January and March this year. Gulf News was ranked ahead of Facebook, BBC World, CNN, Al Jazeera and other local news organisations.

Amir Bozorgzadeh, business development associate at YouGov, said YouGov conducts daily monitoring of a brand's performance based on consumers' perception of it.

YouGov's market research is carried out through an online panel with a base of 220,000 people in the region and, specifically, 30,000 people in Dubai.


The demographic of these people usually resembles the general population of the country or region being monitored, Bozorgzadeh explained.

"We just make sure that we have enough samples of every socioeconomic bracket and every nationality," he said.

In the UAE, the target audience is above the age of 18, urban, of all social and economic levels and includes a wide range of Arab, Asian and Western nationalities.

Sanjay Malik, group circulation manager at Al Nisr Publishing, publishers of Gulf News, said they were delighted that the paper had been ranked second in brand survey for the media sector.

"This is reflective of and reiterates Gulf News' undisputed position as the premier mainline daily of the region," Malik said.

The company's marketing efforts focus on providing advertisers with the best media vehicle in terms of editorial reach, impact, efficiency and response, he said.

"Another key dimension of Gulf News and related marketing activity is deep engagement with the community, from providing a platform for readers to express their views and opinion to leading social change through programmes like ‘Go Green with Gulf News," Malik said. "The paper also plays a pivotal role in society by actively supporting major business, cultural and sporting initiatives [across the country]. These efforts keep the Gulf News brand fresh, salient and distinctive."

However, not every brand needs a marketing strategy or a public relations campaign to make it to the top of the list. At least that doesn't seem to be the case for Google's YouTube in the UAE. The website's popularity has ranked it number one on the BrandIndex.

"YouTube began five years ago simply as a place where anyone with a video camera and an internet connection could share their life, art and voice with the world," Aaron Ferstman, communications and public affairs manager at YouTube EMEA, told Gulf News.

"Today, it is an honour to be recognised as the top brand in the UAE."

Steve Vaile, chief executive officer of H2O New Media, a social media company, said: "The whole market is changing and it's not a gradual change. It's almost like a U-turn disruptive change."

Brand engagement

Vaile said that a lot of the firms were looking for brand engagement and building advocacy around their brand through social and digital media.

"From a budget perspective, when we polled our clients in 2008, five per cent of their budget was dedicated to online. In 2009, we started to see that it's creeping to 20 and 25 per cent," he said.

Studies conducted by H2O media have shown that people are more likely to believe their social graph than anyone else, Vaile explained.

"So what most of the media companies have to do is create those social environments to disseminate their information through those social graphs."