How ELAN Media is evolving digital out-of-home in Qatar and beyond

April 12, 2023Kristen Theodore

With digital out-of-home on the rise across the globe, it’s no wonder to see it gaining traction in the Middle East, a region currently experiencing an economic boom of its own. 

Media owners in the region, like ELAN Media, are getting the word out about the value of DOOH—and their enthusiasm for the medium is enticing more brands and advertisers to jump on board. 

We recently caught up with Timothy Hufford, Media Sales Director at ELAN Group, to learn more about how this well-established media owner is transforming the DOOH landscape in the Middle East.

Two decades (and counting) of DOOH in Qatar 

ELAN Media is often credited with pioneering the DOOH revolution in Qatar, operating the country’s largest outdoor and digital out-of-home media network. Founded in 2006, the company has a unique presence in the region and operates with the goal of broadening the OOH market. Its screens are now more ubiquitous than ever, located in just about every city in the country. With roots firmly planted in the region, ELAN Media works to enrich city living and beautify urban spaces with its digital displays, tools of communication and entertainment. 

While its roadside billboards make up a significant part of its offering, in-mall assets are another major component of its network. In Qatar, malls are a big draw, attracting hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists weekly – a prime advertising opportunity for many. Installing screens in these condensed spaces was a key business move for ELAN, considering the high traffic and potential dwell time such real estate could promise. Its initial networks were unveiled in two of the country’s most prominent shopping destinations — the Mall of Qatar and Doha Festival City Mall. These two premium destinations were the perfect starting point due to their high square footage, multiple floors, and thousands of retailers.

From there, ELAN Media expanded screens into two other upscale malls, Ezdan Mall and Place Vendome. These four destinations collectively generate a high number of impressions. For example, a single ad has an estimated potential of generating 5.5 million impressions during a two-week period. In addition to their mall networks, ELAN Media counts a vast roadside inventory of screens. Recently, 3D outdoor advertising with two screens, The Cube and The Spectacular, can run 3D content. Most of their screens run ad content exclusively while occasionally opening inventory to concession partners looking to promote in-mall events, advertise Wi-Fi hotspots, and other concierge services.

Data-driven technology that delivers results 

Understanding audiences is a large part of ELAN’s strategy. As pioneers, nobody in the market is more favourably positioned to advise their clients better. With a staff of OOH experts and extensive knowledge of the industry, there’s a reason why some of the most established brands in Qatar (and beyond) are turning to ELAN for outdoor advertising.

The team backs up their OOH know-how with a robust tech stack that supports the effectiveness of campaigns they help deploy. Advanced video analytics and inMotion technology enable them to analyze the vast data collected to track and measure campaign performance. Furthermore, ELAN Media’s roadside inventory gives advertisers access to in-depth insights, providing them with the data to support their decision-making and investments. The mall screen network is equipped with performance-tracking capabilities and other engaging features, like interactivity through motion-detection technology that follows gesture, movement, and sound. 

Finally, the company’s 600+ strong screen network displays live data feeds and API triggers. 

ELAN Media can also offer clients analytics, data feeds, and interactive campaign technology through two data sources: Quividi data for the mall screens and InMotion mobile data for capturing roadside analytics.

Screens seen by the world

With such a notable presence in Qatar, ELAN Media’s wins are numerous. A recent successful pDOOH campaign for Deliveroo, a food delivery company, showcases the possibilities of the format. This was a two-fold, weeks-long KPI campaign with an impression and performance goal to increase app downloads via a QR code.  

Another achievement came with a campaign for Mcdonald’s, in which ELAN Media screens curated content, like offers, running these ads hourly throughout the campaign. Even though franchises near these screens didn’t run any specific promos, nearby restaurants noticed a 35% uplift in sales whenever this content was displayed—a true testament to the value of DOOH.

The company’s most successful campaign to date is also the most high-profile. The Fifa World Cup, which Qatar hosted in November 2022, was an international event, and ELAN Media was mandated to enrich the city with digital out-of-home. In time for the global event, the team upgraded their roadside inventory from static to DOOH while installing and deploying eye-grabbing DOOH assets in markets such as Lusail, the city that hosted the finals. These large-format, large-scale screens helped bring the city to life – see for yourself. During the tournament, screens were updated to feature live scores and final results and display the following day’s schedule, all updated in real-time.

Some standout achievements from the tournament include an API trigger campaign during the team draw event. Teams were drawn randomly on stage, and every time a country’s name was chosen, the screens would update the brackets in real-time. By harnessing data fed from Quividi, ELAN Media could track engagement and learn that this particular initiative drew in numbers that nearly doubled the average amount a typical campaign would.

Broadsign and ELAN Media, partners in powering the Middle East’s DOOH landscape

ELAN Media sought a robust and seamless platform to help manage its growing and evolving network. Considering that Broadsign is the number one CMS provider in the world, the partnership made sense. Hundreds of ELAN Media’s screens run on Broadsign, a number which is expected to grow as the company expands its inventory and engages new opportunities through pDOOH. 

Through Broadsign, ELAN Media can manage and operate more than 600 screens directly from its state-of-the-art network control centre. The process is smooth, efficient, and almost entirely automated, thanks to Broadsign’s leading software suite. Recently, ELAN Media entered into programmatic transacting via the Broadsign SSP, enabling seamless integration so the team could migrate its existing inventory with few interruptions. Though ELAN Media considers themselves newcomers to programmatic DOOH, dipping their feet has helped them internally review their pricing and consider switching to a CPM model instead. That’s just the potential that pDOOH can afford. 

While 2022 proved to be a milestone year for ELAN Media, they’ve got more in the works that will help elevate its business to new heights, with plans to modernize and upgrade hardware while investing in additional screen locations and hardware. Given the hype around their World Cup screens, the team has already registered numerous new opportunities and hopes to continue nurturing these in a way that aligns with ELAN Media’s big visions.

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