Abu Dhabi developers on PR offensive

A new research has put forth the fact that it is clearly reflected by bigger budgets for advertising and public relation campaigns that the news is being dominated by the Abu Dhabi developers as much as their troubled Dubai rivals.

The forecast by experts recently revealed that Aldar and Sorouh, Abu Dhabi's top two real estate companies, by the end of this year, will be more popular in the media than Dubai's property sector, which has been hurt by the downturn.

According to Mohamed Elzubeir, managing director of Mediastow, a Dubai-based media research company which released its second quarter real estate report earlier this week, "Abu Dhabi has got more money and is still spending through the crisis while Dubai developers are relaxing. There is an opportunity for Abu Dhabi to pounce on this and grow."

He added: "Although Dubai developers continue to have the lead [in media coverage], I expect this to completely flip to Abu Dhabi by the end of the year." The first half of the year saw Aldar and Sorouh having 1,551 and 1,136 mentions in the media, as compared to the state-controlled Nakheel which appeared 1,431 times and Damac, which only received 472 mentions.

Meanwhile, the largest developer in the Middle East, Emaar, is still the most popular company as it had 2263 appearances in the media in the first six months of 2009, whereas the second quarter saw Nakheel being mentioned 586 times, a 44 percent drop compared to the first quarter.

A fall by 21% was seen in Damac's quarter-on-quarter coverage in the same period, and the highest amount of non-public relation was received by Sorough in April.

"The trend is also mirrored through advertising value equivalent (AVE)- a commonly used method by the public relations industry to measure the value of the space secured by an article had it been filled by advertising," said the report.