Eurosport Arabia to launch online in partnership with du

November 1, 2009

Pan-European sports and entertainment group Eurosport is to launch Eurosport Arabia in a tie-up with UAE telecommunications provider du.

eurosportThe partnership with du’s Media Lab will develop Eurosport’s digital information services for the Middle East and North Africa, giving the region’s sports fans access to its sports news and data in Arabic for the first time.

Laurent-Eric Le Lay , chairman & CEO, Eurosport Group, said: “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with du. This partnership enables us to extend our Eurosport brand and bring our unique sports offer to this dynamic region where sports are key to development. We already have a significant online audience in the region and we believe it’s time to leverage this momentum.”

This year sees Eurosport celebrate 20 years as an international sports data provider, with its exisiting network of websites already produced in nine languages across Europe and China.

Osman Sultan, CEO of du, said: ” It is only natural for du to partner with a leading sports entertainment and information group to develop the next generation of information and sports entertainment for the Arab world.”

Coke to appoint ‘happiness ambassadors’ for social media mash-up

October 22, 2009

Coca-Cola has launched a new ‘social media mash-up’ campaign, that will see the brand appoint three ‘happiness ambassadors’ to travel the world and spread their happiness and enthusiasm wherever they go.

cokeAccording to Coke, the chosen group will meet ‘everyday people’ on their 150,000 mile journey and will share their experiences on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as they go. Their mission is to ‘share their happiness and enthusiasm with the rest of the world’.

Nine people have been shortlisted to fill the positions and Coke is asking the public to vote on who they think is most suited to the job. The project, dubbed Expedition206, is part of the wider Open Happiness campaign.

During the year-long initiative, the chosen group will visit 206 countries, representing Coke’s various markets. According to the current proposed route, they’ll hit the region around July/August 2010, at the height of summer temperatures.

Coke hopes that people across the world will act as local travel guides, suggesting places for the group to go and helping them find the secret of happiness.

The group leaves Madrid on 1 January 2010 and culminates in the US on 31 December 2010 after visiting all corners of the globe.

Etisalat blocks access to Bill Gates-owned Corbis

October 11, 2009

Etisalat has blocked access to the Corbis website in the UAE, one of the world’s largest picture libraries.

The resource of stock film and photography footage comprising more than a 100 million images, is privately owned by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and is a vital art-buying tool for the region’s ad agencies and publishing industry.

Etisalat blockedIt is not known why Corbis has suddenly fallen foul of Etisalat’s censorship guidelines, having been freely available without restriction for several years, though sources say the  company is currently in talks with the telco giant to get its site unblocked.

The latest incident adds to an upsurge in criticism of Etisalat’s policies.

In July the company rendered the UAE’s Blackberry devices inoperable for several days after sending them a battery sapping ‘performance enhancement patch’.

The patch was revealed to be spyware potentially allowing Etisalat access to texts and emails sent by customers.

News Corp moves to ‘second phase’ in paid-for online content

September 29, 2009

News Corporation is reassured by research it has undertaken into the willingness of readers to pay for content online, and has moved to the ‘second phase’ of its switch away from free content.

Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, which is owned by a News Corp rival, reports that a memo has gone out to staff at the News Digital Media division saying that in Sydney “we are about to move into the second phase of the project”. It was sent by Richard Freudenstein, who was chief operating officer at BSkyB in the UK until 2006 and now runs NDM.

It comes just days after research conducted by Harris Interactive for Paid Content UK found that three quarters of online news readers would switch to an alternative free source if their favourite news site began charging for access and that only 5% said they would pay to continue reading their preferred source.

In the memo, Freudenstein says that the company is reassured by its own research. It said: “News [Corp] has conducted some audience research here in Australia and in the UK and US, which gives us confidence that, if we get the product and delivery system right, people will happily pay for news content online, on their computer, mobile, e-reader or other device.”

News Corp chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch has been at the forefront of the charge to make delivering news online a profitable business, as advertising-led models fail to deliver enough revenue.

News Corp plans to introduce charges for its properties across the globe. It owns newspapers such as The Sun and the News of the World in the UK; the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the US, and The Australian and the Courier Mail in Australia.

Adwomen ME to hold ‘Behind the Brand’ conference

September 24, 2009

Adwomen Middle East, the first ever women’s marketing and advertising platform in the region, is holding its first conference under the banner ‘Behind the Brand.’    btb-logo

The conference by the not-for-profit organisation, aims to create dialogue around the importance of driving and growing brands in the region, as well as providing quality networking opportunities for women brand builders and stakeholders from advertising & marketing.

The event will be held on October 7  at the American University in Dubai and will see a host of speakers explore regional brand building from the ground up, discussing opportunities and risks, to expectations and the future for homegrown brands.

Attendance to the event is by invitation only. Those wishing to request an invite  can do so at the AdWomen Middle East website.

Dubai Metro makes it to number 1 in Twitter’s ‘trending topics’

September 9, 2009

The Dubai Metro has made it to the number 1 spot in Twitter’s ‘trending topics’, which indicates the subjects most discussed globally on the micro-blogging service on a particular day.

dubai-metro-1Thanks to a concerted effort by Twitter users in the region, the new Metro system, which launches today, has managed to overtake Jay-Z and The Beatles in terms of popularity.

The Middle East’s Twitterers used the hashtag #dubaimetro repeatedly within the 140 character message limit allowed by the service, with each use of the tag counting towards the Metro’s popularity rating.

An attempt is currently underway to keep Dubai Metro at the top of the popularity rankings as the USA begins its working day and goes online.

Cadbury joins push towards user-generated content

September 1, 2009

British confectionary firm Cadbury has joined the march towards user-generated content in their latest ad campaign, which launches a new chocolate bar called WispaGold.

Chocolate fans will be able to create messages which could have a chance of being displayed on a billboard in a location of their choice in the UK and Ireland. The work was created for Cadbury by Fallon, who also produced the multi-award winning ‘Gorilla’ spot on their behalf.

An email has already been sent out to the public permitting them a preview of the site

Logged messages will be considered for inclusion once the site goes live on 7th September, to coincide with the availability of the chocolate bar in stores.