Print and circulation being redefined in the MENA region

“Print is not dead, neither in our market nor in the world, it is just being redefined: there is a huge demand for niche products,” said Michael Chalhoub, Founder of Gulf Sports Media FZ-LLC, UAE about the Middle East and North Africa region during the “Around the world in 60 minutes,” session today at the World Newspaper Congress in Bangkok.

by Brian Veseling | June 2, 2013

He also noted that he thinks print is now more relevant in local markets rather than national markets.

Of the region overall, Chalhoub said it is difficult to generalise because things are often very different from one country to the next.

However, he did point to a couple of common issues.

“Our circulation is very much subscription-based,” Chalhoub said. “There is no real walking culture in the Middle East, so people don’t stop at kiosks to buy a newspaper as they do in Europe.”

He also noted that papers in the Middle East generally do not have audited circulations.

Offering a brief introduction of his own company, Chalhoub said Gulf Sports Media’s primary objective was to become the leading sports information provider in the UAE and the Gulf region, thanks to the success of its daily newspaper Sport360, its website, its social media network and its multiple smartphone applications.

“Sport360 is a brand that was only created three years ago,” he said, but “it is a very profitable business that is doing very well,” and includes a six-day a week newspaper with a circulation of 36,000 copies.

As with print, Chalhoub said he believes circulation is also not dead, it’s just being redefined and more focused.

“The key remains to provide good and relevant content – this is what our newspaper has taken a vow to give to our readers,” he said.

Also important for the region is for publishers to build relationships based on trust with agencies, with the research company and with direct clients too, Chalhoub said.

Chalhoub will also be speaking in Bangkok on Tuesday morning during the World Advertising Forum session on “360° advertising sales strategy.

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