The Mario Blog
02.21.2017—3am
In Dubai: Gulf News launches Sponsored Content

Sponsored/Paid Content is among the most popular strategies for newspapers and magazines as they seek new ways to monetize their operations in 2017. Just this week, the Gulf News of Dubai launched its Sponsored Content initiative.

Dear readers, we are in the process of transitioning to WordPress for how we publish this blog, so the next blog post will be Monday, Feb. 27. Thanks for your patience and cooperation.

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It has been in the makings for months, and the launch this week of the Gulf News’ sponsored content initiative got off to a great start with a most helpful piece about Your Ultimate Guide to Museums in the UAE.  I have been honored to have been invited to work with the collaborative team of the Gulf News, a group that included editorial, advertising, technology and marketing representatives.

With this first launched project, the Gulf News introduces its own internal agency for clients. Called REACH by Gulf News, it will work with advertising clients to make sponsored content, such as stories and video presentations that look and feel like journalistic content.  This, of course, in addition to continuing to provide traditional, conventional advertising.

More publishers are turning to sponsored/paid content as an alternative offering to attract advertisers to their online advertising business.  But, print, too, is part of sponsored content, and the Gulf News will include sponsored content as part of its daily print edition.

Advertisers and publishers are meeting to establish priorities and decide what is best for both.  Advertisers look to media companies for a full range of services, and, more importantly, to have their message appear as part of a recognized and respected media brand.

The New York Times, for example, has created T Brand, its own brand marketing unit.  Its motto: Stories that Influence the Influential.

 

T Brand Studio Sizzle 2016 from T Brand Studio on Vimeo.

Take a look inside the Times’ T Brand Studio here.

At the top of the list in terms of defining sponsored content: the stories published are those that the newspaper itself would be proud to publish.  While there is a sponsored brand behind the stories, the content itself is of high journalistic quality, and one that readers may find interesting and useful.

At the Gulf News

The REACH by Gulf News project has been in the makings for about six months, with a working group that includes a team from both the editorial and advertising teams, with marketing and technology also represented.

What the Gulf News and other media companies hope to accomplish, beyond a new monetizing strategy, is to create and distribute insightful brand content and experiences that shape opinion, inform readers and provide useful information.

“Speaking of Reach, in fact, we’ve been doing sponsored and paid content for many years through our Supplements section. It has been part of our print package. So, when the concept of paid online content and narrative ads came to life with the digital evolution, we found it to be an excellent opportunity to explore and be part of the experience that big media houses globally are undergoing. The idea and its implementation is not a surprise for us. We’ve been doing it traditionally. We hope that we will do as well with Reach as we have with Supplements. We will strive to ensure there is no compromise of quality in editorial content, so we can maintain the trust of both our readers and customers,” says Abdul Hamid Ahmad , Editor-in-Chief & Executive Director Publications

 

Speaking Engagements Coming Up

I will be speaking at these two events in the weeks ahead:


WAN-IFRA Middle East Conference 2017
March 14
Dubai
United Arab Emirates

My topic will be about the importance of Sponsored Content, with emphasis on the recent launch of the Gulf NewsREACH by Gulf News project.

For more information: https://events.wan-ifra.org/events/wan-ifra-middle-east-conference-2017

VOZ Media Conference
April 6
Vienna, Austria

I will be the keynote speaker for this event, with emphasis on Visual Storytelling across platforms, the role of print media in the digital age and the importance of sponsored content strategies.

For more information: http://www.voez.at

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