Emirates Business 24/7, the daily newspaper published by Dubai's Arab Media Group (AMG), will stop printing weekend editions from this week to prepare for its relaunch in January as a more lifestyle-focused paper. Abdullatif al Sayegh, the chief executive of AMG, said the move was designed to give the editorial staff time to create new sections devoted to local news, lifestyle, culture and listings, which recent market research indicated its readers were hungry for.
"The business environment in the UAE is not like the business environment anywhere else you go in the world," Mr al Sayegh said. "When you look at the business papers like the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, they are purely business oriented, while business here is more of a lifestyle. "If you go to the DIFC [Dubai International Financial Centre], it's fashionable, it has all these great restaurants, they have a sushi bar, people dress up, they throw events from time to time, they have their culture events. So we realised we have to start adding a few elements that will also make this newspaper go with the nature of business in this country."
Like all newspapers in the UAE, Emirates Business 24/7 has struggled to attract advertising this year, particularly as the financial and real estate sectors, on which it depended heavily, all but stopped advertising for much of the early part of the year. More than a dozen magazines have folded in the past year in the UAE and AMG laid off several hundred employees earlier this year. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos for Abu Dhabi Media Company, the publisher and owner of The National, found Emirates Business 24/7 had lost significant market share this year compared with the previous year, as had Gulf News and Khaleej Times, with only The National gaining market share.
But Mr al Sayegh said such a survey unfairly compared a highly targeted publication such as Emirates Business 24/7, which has a circulation of close to 50,000, with general interest competitors. "These guys at Ipsos realise a newspaper like Emirates Business cannot be compared to a newspaper like The National or Gulf News or Khaleej Times because it's a niche. So we are working with them right now to conduct another specialised financial research so they can see where we are."