Advertising spending in Saudi Arabia topped SR 4.4 billion ($ 1 billion) during the first three quarters of the year and accounted for 29.9 percent of total GCC ad spending.
Numbers released by the Pan-Arab Research Center (PARC) show the United Arab Emirates were the biggest spenders at $ 1.1 billion, contributing to GCC totals by 32 percent, while Kuwait spent $ 759 million or 21 percent and Qatar spent $ 340 million or 9.4 percent of GCC totals.
Oman and Bahrain contributed 5.5 percent and 1.9 percent to overall GCC ad spending with campaigns valued at $ 199 million and $ 69 million respectively.
The volume of ad spending in GCC countries rose by 5.6 percent in the first three quarters to reach $ 3.5 billion compared to $ 3.4 billion during the same period last year.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia posted a double-digit growth while the total measured spending during the period reached $ 12.7 billion compared to $ 10.4 billion last year. The period during Ramadan accounted for nearly $ 2.4 billion.
Sami Raffoul of PARC said advertising growth over the past year has been led primarily by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Raffoul said the Saudi economy has reportedly fuelled growth in pan-Arab media including TV services from MBC, Rotana, LBC and the Abu Dhabi Media Company.
"Saudi Arabia is the largest of all markets with limited media capabilities," he added.
He predicted pan-Arab ad spending would rise this year about 25 percent on 2011, although this could hide deep discounting by broadcasters in free media zones.
Egypt lost ground in 2011 in the aftermath of the revolution and political uncertainty but has bounced back with an 18-20 percent growth this year.
Raffoul said a number of broadcasters to have emerged from post-revolutionary Egypt have developed multichannel bouquets that have attracted a wide audience elsewhere in the region.
These channels have also captured a significant portion of the pan-Arab advertising market.
TV ads captured the lion's share of the pan-Arab ad market during the first three quarters by 68.6 percent or $ 8.7 billion, followed by newspaper ads at 21.2 percent or $ 2.7 billion, and magazines at 4.5 percent or $ 579 million.