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Addressing 100 representatives of well-known media companies that participated in the 5th Annual WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference and Workshop, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

Mohammad Abdullah, executive director of Dubai Media City said that media businesses need to specifically understand what makes the region's print industry distinct in order to take advantage of the abundant growth opportunities.

"Publishers need to change their strategies and remain creative to survive in today's economic environment,"Abdullah stressed further.

Among the participants were Kjell Aamot, former CEO of Schibsted Media Group, Norway; Phillip Crawley, publisher and CEO, The Globe and Mail, Canada; Chris Lloyd, assistant managing editor, Telegraph Media Group, UK; Theo Blanco, head of sales and marketing, UNT media group, Sweden; and Martin Dome, deputy editor, Nottingham Post, UK.

Abdullah emphasised: "The print media dominates the overall advertising revenues, despite a generally low concentration of newspapers in the region.

"In fact, during 2009 we saw new entrants thriving despite the global economic crisis as the key to survival for such brands as well the established names depended largely on the opportunities provided by a marked shift towards cross-platform advertising packages."

The event aimed to help publishers reorient their operations, seek and share new business models, as well as determine the right tools necessary to execute their strategies, based on the combined strengths of print and digital platforms.