W Group does not only sell media. It creates engagements using smart solutions.
What is your strategy to ensure that W Group keeps its unique position in such a difficult market?
W Group, which is part of W Ventures Holdings, consists of three different operations: Hypermedia, RedPeg Middle East, and Digitall. Our vision was always to have a 360 offering, whereby we can approach out-of-home not only by selling different types of media but by creating harmony in a channel that combines media, branding, and experience – with RedPeg Middle East’s expertise and smart solutions, and with Digitall to add more value for the client.
How has W Group managed the pandemic crisis and how is it moving forward towards the post-pandemic era?
The pandemic was an exceptionally good time for us to develop the business and focus on ways to generate new ideas and concepts that will support the digital out-of-home (DOOH) industry overall. We are all aware of the fact that DOOH is going to dominate the industry in the coming few years; therefore, we dedicated a lot of time last year to improving our capabilities and ensuring that, once the market reopens, we will be ready to offer new solutions and opportunities to our clients. Not only did we retain all of our employees, but we also hired 25 people between April and May. After the lockdown restrictions were lifted in July, we were fully operational and ready to position ourselves differently. We obtained the advertising rights from RTA for the Dubai Metro project, the biggest OOH strategic partnership for the coming ten years; we digitized our internal network by developing more platforms to interact with our clients; and we managed to strengthen our relationships with key partners.
I do believe that, during a recession or a crisis, it is critical to keep on growing; otherwise, the business stops.
Hypermedia’s new tagline is “Creators of Impact.” What does this mean exactly and how did digitizing Hypermedia’s assets help position it as a leading digital OOH agency in the region?
After signing the advertising rights for the Dubai Metro project with RTA, our team set a vision that will reposition Hypermedia as the forerunner in the DOOH industry. We invested in a network of more than 1,300 digital and interactive screens across the 53 stations, including Route 2020 and the Expo station. Our smart solution transformed existing media on Sheikh Zayed Road into iconic projects, and includes 12 LED bridge banners that give brands the opportunity to dominate the entire stretch, from World Trade Center to Jebel Ali.
Last but not least, we were honored to be granted the right to sell Dubai Metro stations’ naming rights – an opportunity for brands to gain impactful recognition among the community through enormous media exposure and presence. As this is the first time the government is granting such leverage to a media supplier, our ‘Creators of Impact’ team works on offering to metro commuters a new experience as well as a chance to engage with different themes and clients across all stations, which will maximize the value for the brands and make the rides more enjoyable for the travelers.
What other growth opportunities are there for the group?
Digitall’s growth is parallel to the growth of Hypermedia and the potential growth of RedPeg Middle East. Hypermedia is now bidding for five new projects while RedPeg Middle East has opportunities with Expo 2020 and the UAE’s 50th National Day. We are also very proud to announce that we’ll launch soon a one-of-a-kind platform that monitors and measures OOH business in the UAE.
Is Hypermedia planning to expand its media network?
Absolutely. We have an office in KSA and we recently opened others in Abu Dhabi and in Lebanon. We hired several creative and digital professionals to support our operations in the region and the growth of our group’s portfolio.
Are you planning to expand into data analytics as well?
Of course, that’s one of our focuses because we do believe that DOOH will be a data-driven business in three years, if not earlier.
How will you use technology to expand RedPeg Middle East’s presence in the region and the range of what it does in experiential marketing?
RedPeg Middle East is a unique agency in the region. Very few experiential agencies operate the way we operate. We focus on a strategic approach to design a creative concept that supports brands in building their KPIs and delivering on their desired ROI. It’s a new concept, although you will find many event companies using that experiential label.
What are your expansion plans?
At the moment, we are in the execution phase of all the projects we have been developing last year, in alignment with Dubai’s vision and the global requirements in terms of digitization and improvement for an eco-friendly system.
Today, I believe DOOH is becoming an experience. We will see growth and further development in its usage. In particular, linking it with social media platforms will be the next chapter for the media industry.