7DAYS refocuses on digital content, cuts print run to weekly

UAE free daily newspaper 7DAYS is going weekly as it ramps up its digital offering.

7DAYS Media said the company “will see increased focus on digital platforms and a transition away from being a print-centric publisher”.

The title currently has a print run of 75,000 Sunday to Thursday with free distribution throughout Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It will now be distributed only on Thursday, with more analysis and depth to its articles, and longer features. The topics covered will remain the same.

Managing director Claire Sharrock said: “Our focus has always been on community issues, and that will remain exceedingly important to us because that’s what I think 7DAYS is, and always has been, really good at.”

She predicted the print product will remain popular, adding: “Meanwhile the digital platforms will just increase our reach further. That’s what the strategy is designed to achieve.”

Mark Rix, CEO of 7DAYS Media, said print advertising has been declining for 7DAYS, as it has been across the industry. “We were performing better than the market for the past 12 months,” he said. “But that’s still a decline in print advertising.” He added: “If you are not
able to offer a rounded solution – events, digital, content, print, the whole 360-degree solution – then you are dead.”

Rix said cost savings will come from cutting four print runs a week, but he would not rule out job losses. “Obviously we are reviewing the cost base of the company and the structure of the company, and we will make further announcements in due course,” he said.

He added that the company has been hiring for its digital and branded content offerings, saying: “The flip side of any restructure that involves retrenchment is that we will be investing and taking on new people [in other divisions].”

He added: “It is a challenging, exciting time with a lot of unknowns going on. The market’s so fluid you’ve just got to be adaptable. You’ve got to change quickly, to be decisive. You’ve got to try new things. If we had stayed the way we were, we probably would have died a very slow death. So we have to innovate and we have to believe in what we are doing and our core competency, which is producing high quality content and building our audience. That’s all we can
focus on.”

Six months ago, 7DAYS launched Deep, its in-house content marketing studio, which has since worked with clients including Girot Trading and Hyatt hotel group.

The newspaper was launched as a weekly in 2003 and increased its frequency two year slater. It is owned by UK-based Daily Mail and General Trust.