x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Dubai-based publisher to launch Cosmopolitan

The Dubai-based publisher ITP hopes to launch a Middle East edition of Cosmopolitan magazine by April next year.

The Dubai publisher ITP is in talks to launch a Middle East edition of Cosmopolitan, the glossy women's magazine, and hopes this will happen as soon as next April.

International editions of the magazine, which focuses on relationships and fashion, are available in the region but the title is subject to some censorship in the UAE, where its website is also blocked.

Walid Akawi, the chief executive of ITP Publishing Group, said a dedicated Middle East edition was on the agenda.

"We will do CosmopolitanMiddle East," Mr Akawi said. "I'm expecting it to be launched in the first quarter. The plan is to [launch] at the beginning of April.

"It will be for the UAE and GCC countries. It's 100 per cent a consumer title."

The US-based publisher Hearst Magazines owns the Cosmopolitan brand. According to its website there are 60 international editions of the title published in 32 languages.

ITP has an existing relationship with the publisher, having last year launched Esquire Middle East through a licence agreement with Hearst. ITP also publishes a regional edition of Harper's Bazaar, another of Hearst's titles.

Negotiations are under way between ITP and Hearst to publish Cosmopolitan Middle East under a licence agreement, said Mr Akawi. "We have a great relationship with Hearst. [The Cosmopolitan deal] is still in process," he said.

Hearst Magazines could not immediately be reached for comment.

Cosmopolitan Middle East is set to be the latest in a raft of magazines to be produced in the Middle East under licence from international publishers.

This month it emerged that a local edition of Variety, the magazine about the entertainment industry founded in 1905, will be produced under licence by Middle East Media & Publishing, based in Dubai.

Big-name magazines to have launched this year include regional editions of National Geographic, Rolling Stone and Forbes.

Mr Akawi also said ITP Publishing Group planned to expand its operations overseas. The company has recently opened offices in India and Bahrain. It is now considering establishing a presence in the Levant.

"India is a great business," said Mr Akawi. "ITP India is doing B2B magazines and we believe this is a great opportunity for us - and it's growing year-by-year. The Bahrain office is doing well.

"We are looking somewhere in the Levant countries, in Lebanon … We will definitely grow our digital [operations], we will definitely continue on our licensing - we will do more. In 2011, we have plans to launch other things."