UAE free tabloid 7DAYS is to shut down by the end of December due to the ‘impossibility’ of operating in a climate of severe print adspend cuts.
Newspaper owners 7DAYS Media announced that the entire news brand will close down including the website, with the last issue being printed on December 22.
Campaign understands that all staff working under the news brand have been laid off. According to 7Days‘ website there are currently 47 members of staff working for the platform. However, reports suggest there could be as many as 120 job losses.
The announcement comes less than a month after 7Days announced it would cut its daily print run to weekly with the aim of refocusing on digital.
However, in an announcement made by CEO Mark Rix, the company struggled to find a sustainable business model.
He said: “The current trading environment and future global outlook for print advertising remains severely challenged.
“Whilst it was our stated intention to re-focus and restructure the business for 2017 and beyond, it has since proved not possible to create an acceptable cost base that could deliver a viable and sustainable business.
“It is therefore with great sadness that we announce the unique 7DAYS news brand will close and thus, cease to inform and entertain the UAE in its refreshing and inimitable way.”
He added: “I have only praise and admiration for the dedicated and talented team that have created such a popular media portfolio over the past 13 years and I wish each of them every future success and happiness.”
The newspaper was launched as a weekly in 2003 and increased its frequency two years later. It is owned by UK-based Daily Mail and General Trust.
Six months ago, 7DAYS MEDIA launched Deep, its in-house content marketing studio, which was still hiring as of last month. It is not known yet whether this will be affected by the closure of the news outlet.
Print adspend has suffered a steep decline amid low oil prices, an uncertain economic climate and brand budget cuts.
ZenithOptimedia’s March adspend report for the UAE predicted that newspaper spend would fall by a third from $60 million in 2015 to $39 million by the end of this year. Spend is expected to drop again in this area to $29 million in 2017.
Earlier this month, rival daily newspaper Khaleej Times axed 30 members of its workforce after undergoing a major restructure.
Last week, English-language newspaper The National was sold by owners Abu Dhabi Media to Abu Dhabi-based International Media Investments, a private company owned by Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy Prime Minister of UAE.
The companies did not reveal whether any jobs would be terminated following the acquisition.