Monday, November 23, 2009

Real estate maintains healthy coverage in Q3

Despite the drop in new projects in the UAE, real estate companies maintained a healthy exposure in the local media with Emaar recording maximum coverage.

The Mediastow Q3 report on the real estate industry revealed that negative coverage of the property sector decreased considerably in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year. The report, the fifth in the series, analysed the media coverage of the UAE real estate sector, with a focus on Al Qudra Real Estate, Aldar, Emaar, Sorouh, Dubai Properties, Nakheel, Sama Dubai and Damac.

The 34-page report assessed the success of PR campaigns of the eight real estate developers, as well as threw light on how their media coverage fluctuated, and how it compared with each other.

Emaar – the largest real estate developer in region – maintained its lead in all sectors including manifest (explicit material exactly as it appears), PR driven and non-PR categories.

PR driven campaigns were not the highest content generators as "manifest" reports topped the list for Emaar in July 2009. This was closely followed by non-PR and positive reports in most months of the third quarter and PR-generated reports were a distant third and fourth in ranking for most of the time for all the developers.

The head of Mediastow, Mohamed Elzubeir, said: "As for coverage, Damac and Emaar had their amount of coverage peaks in July 2009, while Al Qudra Real Estate, Sama Dubai and Sorouh had their peak in August 2009. Finally, the coverage of Aldar Properties, Dubai Properties and Nakheel peaked in September."

Emaar, followed by Sorouh and Aldar, figured in the top three in terms of newspaper coverage size, measured in column centimetres (cc), in July and August 2009. September saw Nakheel in the lead, followed by Emaar and Aldar. A total of 3,962 articles from 168 publications were monitored between July and September 2009 for the report. Also, stocks movements of Emaar, Aldar Properties and Sorouh were evaluated and correlated with media coverage.

Compared to the third quarter of 2008, there was a general drop in numbers, with some experiencing a bigger drop than others. Al Qudra, Emaar and Nakheel experienced significant decreases in Q3 2009, compared to the same period in 2008, in terms of the volume of coverage.

In comparison to the 2008 Q3 report, there was a considerable drop in coverage of news items covering deals and partnerships. Even though the news of the landmark merger plans between Emaar, Sama Dubai, Tatweer and Dubai Properties was announced during this period, but it did not match the coverage of the same subject in the previous year's third quarter.

Damac and Al Qudra almost disappeared from the news coverage on deals in the last month of Q3, while Sama Dubai gained the maximum climbing up to 40 points to be at the top. Emaar maintained a steady position alternating between the second and third slot during the period, while Nakheel took a major plunge from leading in the same period in 2008 to a distant fourth in September 2009.

The overall drop in the coverage was most contrasting in the project category covering launch, reviews, updates and completion. From a healthy 246 points as the highest point of coverage, the average in third quarter of 2009 fell to below 50 points.

In a surprising turn of events, almost all leading developers increased their CSR activities.

Nakheel recorded the maximum coverage with 66 points and Emaar at a close second at 58. Other developers Aldar, Dubai Properties and Sorouh also increased their efforts and got reasonable exposure in return (all above the 30-point mark).

Print media – shouldering the maximum amount of media exposure in advertising and reporting – carried on the momentum with Emirates Business giving maximum exposure to Emaar, followed by Aldar and Surouh. Nakheel received the maximum exposure from The National and Arabic daily Al Khaleej gave maximum coverage to Dubai Properties and Damac.

Emaar, Aldar Properties and Sorouh experienced an upward trend in the third quarter of 2009. Aldar enjoyed a decent rise in terms of share prices throughout the quarter and inched up further during the latter part of September 2009.

The differences in coverage were not that great in terms of OTS (opportunities-to-see) and coverage size, with the exception of Al Qudra Real Estate, which experienced a very sharp drop. Interestingly, Aldar Properties maintained an average of 15,000 OTS throughout Q3 2008 and Q3 2009. Average OTS is a measure of the number of chances an average member of the target audience will have of being exposed to an advertising campaign.

September 2009 saw healthy recoveries in terms of OTS and coverage, as it exceeded September 2008 figures. This was the case for Damac, Dubai Properties and Emaar. Interestingly, while September 2009 provided healthy figures for newspapers' coverage size, it also substantially lowered coverage sizes of magazines.

The Prominence Index rankings were worse in 2009 across the board. Sorouh and Nakheel were the only two developers that managed to maintain the same Prominence Index in August 2009 compared to August 2008. July 2008 was the best month for the property developers in terms of Prominence Index in the third quarter of 2008, while September 2009 was the best month in the third quarter of this year.

Source: Business24/7

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