Despite the hurdles facing the news business globally, the newspaper remains a thriving business in the Middle East. Interestingly, they are not entirely reliant on advertising to drive growth because many newspapers are funded by rich families and governments; this is changing. According to research done by The World Association of Newspapers:
Newspaper print circulations continue to rise strongly in Asia and the Middle East, offsetting declines in print circulation in Europe, North America and Latin America… At the same time, newspaper advertising revenues have been declining as revenues lost in print have not been replaced by digital advertising. The study found that this decline correlates with a lack of “intensity” when it comes to digital news reading – digital news consumers spend less time and visit fewer pages on digital platforms than they do in print. This lack of intensity is reflected in newspapers’ share of digital revenues. Newspapers in many markets are taking steps to correct this by finding ways to increase usage online.
The Khaleej Times, a newspaper in Dubai, acted on this clear trend in media consumption. In order to promote the idea that ‘an educated opinion is based on facts’ (as opposed to online chatter) they chose to convey their trustworthy reporting over the often misleading headlines reported on social media sites and blogs.
The newspaper made their interactive banner ad that responds to individual readers. When readers shared an image, a ridiculous headline that usually appears on social networks appeared. Messaging behind the campaign reinforced the notion that the newspaper was rooted in fact and would never share such ludicrous headlines. Some of these tongue-in-cheek headlines included:
- Sheikh Now In Portable Take-Home Size
- The Bollywood Workout: Faster Way to Lose 15 Pounds
- Movember is Over: Time To Get Over It
- Martians Attracted to Abu Dhabi for Investment
It was a success. As the video shows, traffic to the website increased 33% and boosted online subscriptions by 1.6%. We hope to see more break-through ideas from newspaper brands, especially since the medium commands such an important consumer base in Dubai and across the region.