Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Times and The Sunday Times, two of the most respected and influential newspapers in the world, will publish their international editions in the Middle East starting on May 21. The move marks the first time a leading international daily is printed and distributed widely in the region on the day of publication, and the arrival of the UK papers is expected to have a significant impact on the Middle East media market.
Licensing for The Times and Sunday Times in the region has been acquired by Saudi-based SAB Media. The paper will be published seven days a week and will be available in retail outlets or by subscription. The international editions are edited in London and will be printed in the UAE.
“We are proud to announce that we will be available daily in a region that is destined to play an ever more influential role in the world,” commented Robert Thomson, Editor of The Times. He continued, “Since 1798, when The Times first reported Napoleon’s arrival in Egypt, we have invested heavily in our reporting from the region and we now have one of the largest networks of reporters in the Middle East. Printing in Dubai is a very important milestone and we look forward to providing intelligent, informative and entertaining news, comment and analysis for many new readers in the region.”
John Witherow, Editor of The Sunday Times, added: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to extend the availability of The Sunday Times across this important region. We are proud of our reputation for delivering news and analysis to an intelligent and thoughtful audience. There are over 3.5 million weekly readers of The Sunday Times and this figure will increase further through our partnership with SAB Media in the Middle East.”
“One reason we’re excited to have the license to publish The Times and The Sunday Times here is the broad appeal,” said Tariq Qureishy, CEO, SAB Media. “With The Times and The Sunday Times, we offer advertisers a way to reach the region’s political and business elite, along with an educated and engaged English-speaking audience. From a branding standpoint, The Times name sells itself. There is not another publication that can touch it, in terms of recognition and respect.”
The Times will give regional power brokers a preview of the paper’s Middle East coverage at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, taking place from May 18 to 20. As well as having specialist reporters on the ground and a network of correspondents in Amman, Beirut, Istanbul, Jerusalem and Baghdad, the paper will distribute a special supplement, which will explore such topics as the fate of Iraq and how new leaders in France, Israel and Britain will shape policy in the region.
The international edition will be published seven days a week, at 64 pages, with a 96-page Saturday edition and the 96-page broadsheet Sunday Times. In the UAE, the retail rate will be AED 7 for the daily edition and AED 15 for The Sunday Times; subscription rates will be AED 5 for the daily and AED 12 for the Sunday paper, with comparable rates around the region.
SAB Media is a part of SAB Holding. The company specializes in providing media interfaces and corporate marketing, which includes publishing.