Meet the Leader

Niall Sallam, CEO Elevision Media

“Long-term steady and continued growth, the medium has nowhere to go but up. As many traditional static sites get converted to digital, and new niche networks continue to sprout up, the medium is definitely becoming a force to be reckoned with in the media industry.” Said Niall Sallam, CEO Elevision Media.

In an interaction with MediAvataar MENA, Niall talked about the evolving medium of digital-out-of-home and their company is all set to make it further its journey of excelling. 

Here’s the complete Q&A

MediAvataar MENA: What is your vision for Elevision Media?

Niall: To continue to cement Elevision’s position as the region’s leading digital-out-of-home media network. We want to have a presence in every major commercial and residential high rise district, whereby Elevision is the go-to network for reaching busy professionals and affluent residents throughout the region.

MediAvataar MENA: What do you consider has been your greatest achievement in your career so far?

Niall: It’s definitely been the success in taking Elevision from concept to the 100-tower milestone we achieved this year with our expansion into Abu Dhabi. The key to achieving this was the formation of a top tier in-house team as well as the forging of strong client and partner relationships.

MediAvataar MENA: How would you describe the DOOH landscape of the region?

Niall: DOOH is certainly growing in both size and popularity. You only need to drive down SZR or walk through any mall to see that the medium is front and center. It’s beginning to be used effectively by large and small brands alike. 

MediAvataar MENA: What would be the size of it?

Niall: DOOH advertising is driving overall OOH advertising growth globally at a CAGR of over 16%. However, in certain emerging markets such as the UAE, DOOH advertising revenue is forecast to grow even more rapidly, with CAGRs in excess of 30% according to a 2015 PWC report. 

MediAvataar MENA: Please tell us more about the evolution of the regional DOOH market.

Niall: If you look at where things were five years ago when we launched Elevision, DOOH has evolved tremendously. Back then there were a few entrepreneurs attempting to get a foothold in the market by establishing various networks, but the challenges proved to be insurmountable for many of them. The biggest problem being that advertisers simply were not aware, educated or interested in the medium. Critical mass was also an issue; many of the networks simply did not have the scale or reach to move the needle for many brands. Today, many of these issues have been addressed and overcome. The adverting industry is more educated and aware of the digital medium’s effectiveness. Mainstream suppliers have adopted the medium – as can be seen from the recent appearance of many large outdoor screens. Niche networks, such as Elevision, have reached critical mass and can provide brands with not only the scale and viewer reach that they’re after, but also the tactical flexibility to allow clients to tell their brand story in an effective, evolving and engaging manner. 

MediAvataar MENA: How is Elevision growing in this medium?

Niall: When we launched Elevision we had a network of 12 towers and 48 screens. Today we’re live in 101 towers with nearly 500 screens. We’ve recently expanded into Abu Dhabi and are now reaching and engaging with over 115,000 people everyday.

Four years ago we struggled to get a meeting with any major agency. Today is a very different story whereby we now have great partnerships with groups such as OMD, Vivaki and MCN. 

MediAvataar MENA: What differentiates your company in its approach to its work?

Niall: Our in-house content team works closely with our advertising clients, ensuring that their message resonates with viewers and delivers on campaign objectives. We create the finished content for over 85% of our clients, thereby developing strong, familiar relationships. Being so close to the creative process and final campaign activation, our team has a real sense of pride in the finished work, as well as a determination to maximize its success. Many of our team members live in Elevision towers, so we share in the viewer experience and that gives us firsthand knowledge of what engages people and what doesn’t. The flexibility of the platform allows us to amend and deploy content within minutes of making a campaign change.

MediAvataar MENA: What has been one of the most a) gratifying and b) bizarre experiences so far?

Niall: Gratifying would have to be when a new client comes back to report that their campaign had a great response and wants to renew with Elevision.

In terms of the bizarre, we once had a junior employee that turned out to have an elevator phobia. Needless to say she wasn’t very involved in the on-site operations of the company.

MediAvataar MENA: What’s next in DOOH?

Niall: Long-term steady and continued growth, the medium has nowhere to go but up. As many traditional static sites get converted to digital, and new niche networks continue to sprout up, the medium is definitely becoming a force to be reckoned with in the media industry. 

MediAvataar MENA: What is Elevision’s growth strategy for 2016?

Niall: We aim to grow our revenues by further cementing existing client relationships as well as forming new ones. In terms of growing our network, we have ambitious plans to add another 60 – 70 towers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this year as well as laying the groundwork for regional expansion in the coming years.

Elevision has developed the technical skills and competencies to support rapid network growth as well as large scale network management. Our team of IT technicians, content creatives and sales people is now operating at an extremely high level of efficiency and execution. All these factors combine to provide us with a solid platform to support our continued growth throughout the region.


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