Arab News Exclusive: British publisher Ink flying high with Etihad magazine deal

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The first issue, which appears in March.
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Simon Kurs, the editor of the magazine.
Updated 04 March 2017
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Arab News Exclusive: British publisher Ink flying high with Etihad magazine deal

LONDON: The UK-headquartered publisher Ink has clinched a deal to produce the inflight magazine for Etihad Airways, saying it will be “reimagined from the ground up.”
The publisher also plans to open an office in Abu Dhabi, where the airline is based, and said it was not concerned about the impact of falling advertising revenues in the region.
Ink — which also has offices in Singapore, Miami, New York and Sau Paulo — told Arab News that the first edition of the rebranded Atlas magazine will be on board Etihad planes from March 1.
It was previously known as Etihad Inflight when it was produced by rival publisher ITP, which is based in Dubai.
Simon Kurs, the new editor, said the magazine will feature lifestyle and travel features, and be “accessible” to the reader.
Features in the first edition include a travel story about Goa and a photo-based feature about Manchester City football ground, which is sponsored by Etihad. Ink will also produce digital content for Etihad, including one bespoke branded video a month.
Design features include graphical compass points and coordinates of various locations, in line with the magazine’s name.
“The name says it all really. It’s an airline with a global reach and a global perspective on things, and that’s what we wanted (to reflect),” Kurs said.
Kurs previously edited the EasyJet Traveler magazine, also part of Ink, and before that worked at publications including The Sunday Times, Shortlist magazine and Arena.
Magazines used as a reference in creating Atlas included Wallpaper, Conde Nast Traveler and Monocle, the editor said.
But creating the new title was not without its pressures, with Kurs pointing to the several international awards that Etihad has won.
“We’ve got the world’s best airline here — we need to create the world’s best inflight magazine. So no pressure there… But I think actually we delivered something pretty close to that, and it’s something that we’re really happy with creatively.”
Michael Keating, joint CEO of Ink, said the magazine has “a very premium feel.”
“We’ve changed absolutely everything about the title. We’ve reimagined it from the ground up,” he said from Ink’s London offices.
The contract win comes after Ink won another Gulf deal to produce Qatar Airways’ monthly in-flight magazine Oryx, to appear onboard from Jan. 1.
Ink now publishes 31 magazines, mostly for airlines, and its other recent wins include producing a title for Hong Kong Airlines.
The company gets its revenues from advertising, after paying its airline and other travel-operator partners a slice of the takings.
Keating said Ink sells ads in about 100 territories, but he expects around 30 to 40 percent of the bookings for Atlas magazine to come from the local region.
He said he was not overly concerned over the gloomy outlook for the Middle East advertising market this year.
Elie Khouri, chief executive of the Omnicom Media Group in MENA, earlier told Arab News that investments in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) advertising fell by 10 percent in 2016, and expects a similar drop this year.
But Keating said that luxury travel media was to a certain extent insulated from this.
“I think we are less exposed, and I think the sector that we’re in, to a certain extent, bucks the trend… As a company we have been through 9/11, SARS, volcanic ash, and other tragic incidents with certain carriers. And the market continues to grow,” he said.
The media executive also shrugged off the emergence of Internet on many flights, saying he didn’t see a big threat to Ink’s still largely print-orientated business.
“You can do multiple things,” he said. “TV didn’t kill radio, inflight entertainment didn’t kill the inflight magazine.”


7D News looks to add new dimension to Middle East affairs

Updated 24 April 2018
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7D News looks to add new dimension to Middle East affairs

LONDON: Do you have a camel at home? Is there an oil wheel in your garden? These are some of the least-informed questions that Dr. Ali Rashid Al-Nuaimi, editor-in-chief of the new media platform 7D News, has encountered on visits to the West.
Al-Nuaimi, a UAE national and member of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, said he spotted a gap in the online media market for an outlet “that is a force for good, not just reportage.”
This begins with unpicking stereotypes about the Middle East, Al-Nuaimi said during an interview at the 7D News launch party in London on Thursday.
“What people here in the West know about the Arab world is terrorism, wars, discrimination against women … we want to change it,” he said.
Serving up daily news blasts complemented by background pieces that aim to show “the stories behind the headlines,” as the news service’s slogan reads, the site plans to provide a fresh perspective on the region, beginning with coverage showcasing the “achievements of the UAE.”
Al-Nuaimi said that the London-based news site — which is owned by Emirates Media and Research — was initially envisioned as an Arabic platform.
But Al-Nuaimi decided that English had a more international reach, and said the site will be completely impartial. “There won’t be any no-go areas,” he said.
Basing the site out of London, with reporters in cities around the world, he hopes to have a global impact by targeting an “elite audience” of readers and viewers with the scope to “impact their community.”
This means politicians, public figures, community leaders — those in a position to make a difference, Al-Nuaimi said. Issues including tolerance, integration, extremism and peace-building will be high on the agenda, with a focus on spotlighting leaders contributing to their community.
“I came from a background where I saw the added value of media in countering extremism,” he said.
“We want to look into news, incidents, events with angles that bring people together (rather than) dividing them, bridging the gaps between different cultures, different religions. I think this is a vacuum that needs to be filled.”
Humaira Patel, a reporter who recently joined the 7D team said the platform will feature “news that brings out the best.”
“I think 7D will be different,” she said.