”We are constantly battling the sharks hunting in our territory”

Credits: Ishwari Khatu
Credits: Ishwari Khatu

UAE-based daily newspapers, Gulf News and Khaleej Times have announced that they’ll stop printing physical-editions on the weekends, starting from 3 June, 2023.

The announcements were made shortly after one another. Al Nisr publishing’s Gulf News made the announcement first, shortly followed by Galadari Printing and Publishing’s Khaleej Times.

In a front-page open letter to its readers, Gulf News CEO and Editor-in-Chief Abdul Hamid Ahmad announced that it will be halting the print on Saturdays and Sundays. He cited “dwindling ad-revenues” to be the reason behind the decision.

The letter also addressed the competition social media platforms such as Google, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok have brought on in terms of ad-revenue and how the national media is ”constantly battling the sharks hunting in its territory”.

He also mentioned that he hoped that this would not be the ”last nail in the coffin” for the newspaper.

In a similar vein, Alex Malouf, media and public relation professional in the region, said, ”Print advertising doesn’t make money thanks to digital. And subscriptions are low, partly because there’s little to no original content. The only answer is to cut costs.”

Khaleej Times also featured a similar announcement, titled ‘Rethinking the Newspaper’ on its front page, with its Editor-in-Chief, Vinay Kamat announcing the shift to digital on the weekend.

It also acknowledged that the media business has changed “dramatically” and said that the decision to discontinue the print issue came after reviewing its readership trends and preferences.

Kamat said that the younger readers are shifting to more digital and mobile content. He also mentioned that younger readers readers of the newspaper “keep telling” them that “a digital KT is is the way to go in a sustainable world”.

Both dailies have been part of the regional news landscape for 45 years. Khaleej Times was one of the first English broadsheet, launched in April, 1978. Gulf News was launched shortly after in September, 1978.

The digital website of both newspapers will continue as normal on the weekends.