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Navigating Ramadan’s special moments and stories

Brands can create meaningful connections with millions of viewers across MENA, writes MMS’ Richard Addington

When you think of Ramadan, self-reflection, gratitude and giving back come to mind. But the second thought right after that is watching MBC’s Ramadan shows- and that’s the power of MBC Group’s premium content.

Over the years, gathering around screens with family and friends to watch MBC Group channels has become an essential part of the Ramadan tradition, and for brands, being a part of these special moments is essential.

Last year alone, MBC Group TV channels achieved a 66 per cent household reach and 77 per cent individual reach in KSA during Ramadan. Meanwhile, when it comes to active time spent on TV, people spent 48 per cent of their active daytime on TV, out of which 44 per cent is spent on MBC Group channels, and 61 per cent of that is spent on MBC1.

What’s exciting this year is that the Roshn Saudi League (RSL) – which airs on Saudi Sports Channels (SSC) – is coinciding with Ramadan for the very first time.

As the official advertising representative of SSC, MBC Media Solutions (MMS) will be providing a unique opportunity to reach a new audience segment this Ramadan.

In 2023, when one RSL game coincided with Ramadan, SSC achieved an impressive 93 per cent exclusive viewership, with minor audience overlap of 5 per cent with MBC 1 and just 1 per cent with MBC Drama. By including both MBC Group channels and SSC in the advertising mix during Ramadan, advertisers have the opportunity to reach a largely exclusive audience, thereby substantially increasing their reach.

When it comes to Shahid, the leading Arabic streaming platform recorded 22 million active users and 137 million plays during the month in 2023. Additionally, radio in KSA attracted 7.5 million average daily listeners, who tuned into MBC FM and Panorama FM’s Ramadan shows in 2023. Meanwhile, the group’s social media channels recorded 138.4 billion engagements with Ramadan content.

These numbers are a testimony to the reach of MBC Group’s premium Arabic content, which enables brands to create meaningful connections with the millions watching across MENA. A 30-second TV ad on top-performing content during Ramadan on MBC1 can reach up to nine million viewers.

This premium content goes on to perform well across MBC Group’s diverse ecosystem of media channels, which presents a unique opportunity for brands to reach their target audience across multiple touch points, creating a consistent and cohesive brand experience.

This year, an exciting and diverse line-up awaits viewers on MBC1, MBC Drama, and Shahid, featuring stars such as Hoda Hussein, Ibrahim Al-Hajjaj, Ahmed Al Sakka, Taim Hassan, Sulafa Meamar, Nadine Njeim and many more.

MBC Group radio stations Panorama FM and MBC FM also have a Ramadan lineup for listeners, while Al Arabiya news channel presents a documentary style show this Ramadan. MBC Group’s high-quality productions offer a unique opportunity for brands to integrate within the story and become an essential part of the narrative.

At MMS, we’ve developed an In-Content Integration (ICI) solution that enables us to digitally insert brands into highly popular shows after production. Last Ramadan, we used ICI to seamlessly integrate a brand into a hit comedy show, which appeared on the show as product placement and outdoor advertising.

As for Shahid, the streaming platform has been expanding its AVOD offering and AdTech solutions, to provide brands with targeted and tailor-made formats that best leverage the platform’s premium Arabic content.

This Ramadan, the majority of Shahid’s Ramadan 2024 content will also be available on AVOD for viewers to enjoy free of charge.

To enable brands to leverage Ramadan content, MMS introduced exciting new ad solutions that are now available on Shahid. Among these new offerings is the Ramadan Timer ad format, which allows brands to sponsor an Iftar and Imsak timer on the platform’s home and show pages for the duration of the Holy Month.

Another solution is the branded collection offering, which enables clients to sponsor curated content on Shahid for a category of titles on the homepage. The QR code feature was also introduced for hero and pause banners. This new feature directs audiences to brands’ websites or online stores.

These ad solutions enable brands to establish meaningful connections with their audiences across all devices and in a brand-safe environment, ensuring that they engage with viewers throughout their entire viewing experience.

We’ve also enhanced Shahid’s data-driven capabilities and leading video measurement metrics to better fine-tune their ability to unlock audience growth through targeted content and technology.

By embracing these innovative solutions, MMS empowers brands to go beyond traditional advertising to create truly immersive and impactful Ramadan campaigns that achieve their marketing goals during this special time.

By Richard Addington, Agency Partnerships Lead at MMS