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Wed 16 May 2007 05:34 PM

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The Times to hit Gulf newsstands

Venerable British newspaper works with local partner to publish simultaneously with the UK editions.

British expatriates in the Middle East will soon be able to read British newspaper

The Times

on the same day it is published in the UK.

From 21
st

May, international editions of

The Times

and its sister paper

The Sunday Times

will be printed and distributed by Jeddah-based SAB Media, a division of SAB Holdings.

The papers will be printed in Dubai, but edited in London.
The Times

will be priced at Dhs7 and
The Sunday Times

at Dhs15.

SAB Media says it will print 15,000 copies per day, which will be delivered before breakfast in the UAE, but probably not until after lunch in Saudi Arabia, according to SAB Media CEO Tariq Qureishy.

The Times

' owner in London, News International, will have complete editorial control over the 64-page Middle East edition, but Qureishy said that they would be sensitive to the unique requirements of the Middle East.

"Scantily clad women will not appear," he assured Arabianbusiness.com when he was asked about the editorial challenges facing the newspaper. "And there will be no content produced locally."

The fact that the newspaper will be published from London has allowed SAB Media to avoid the difficulties of securing a newspaper publishing license in any GCC country.

However, the project did require approval by the UAE government, a process that Qureishy described as "lengthy".

The license he has secured is specifically for "
The Times

International Edition, printed in Dubai," he clarified.

Although editorial will be handled exclusively from London, advertising will be sold into the Middle East editions, with 20-30 advertising spaces available to be sold every day.

"Local advertising copy is uploaded digitally to London every day and will appear in the newspaper alongside British advertising," explained Qureishy. He said that he hoped in time to capture "two, three, even four percent of the newspaper advertising market."

SAB Media also hopes to piggyback on some of the direct selling ideas that have worked for the UK newspaper. For example, the company intends to launch the Sunday Times Wine Club and Sunday Times Book Club - both of which sell directly to the public.

Producing international editions of

The Times

and

The Sunday Times

has been a significant part of News International's strategy to build audited circulation for the titles.

The Middle East is also an important region editorially, says the newspaper's editor. "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," Robert Thomson, Editor of

The Times

, explained.

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