Independent Arabia launched by Saudi media group SRMG

Updated 24 January 2019
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Independent Arabia launched by Saudi media group SRMG

  • Adhwan AlAhmary named editor-in-chief of news website
  • Licensing agreement to launch sites in Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Persian

LONDON: Independent Arabia has been launched under a licensing agreement between the UK news brand and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), it was announced on Thursday.

The launch of the news service — www.independentarabia.com — marks the first phase of a deal between SRMG and the publisher of The Independent, which started life as a national newspaper in the UK.

Independent-branded digital properties will be launched in Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and Persian. 

The Arabic-language news service will be staffed by a team of experienced journalists from Saudi Arabia and the wider Arab world, and based in London, according to a statement issued by SRMG.

SRMG also announced the appointment of Saudi journalist and political analyst Adhwan AlAhmary as editor-in-chief of Independent Arabia.

AlAhmary has 16 years of experience in the industry, having worked for Al-Watan, Al-Hayat, and Asharq Al-Awsat newspapers, as well as in television.

Adhwan AlAhmary

Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim Rwaita, chairman of SRMG, said: “We are delighted to launch this distinguished project and to have built this great relationship with The Independent.”

The four foreign-language sites will feature translated articles from www.independent.co.uk alongside content from teams of SRMG journalists based in London, Islamabad, Istanbul and New York, as well as operations teams in Riyadh and Dubai, according to an announcement following the licensing agreement.

SRMG is also the publisher of Arab News and Asharq Al-Awsat.


Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

Updated 18 July 2019
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Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

  • India is among the last big growth markets for the company
  • Netflix faces competition from Amazon’s Prime Video and Walt Disney Co’s Hotstar
Netflix said on Wednesday it would roll out a lower-priced mobile-only plan in India within the next three months to tap into a price-sensitive market at a time the streaming company is losing customers in its home turf.
India is among the last big growth markets for the company, where it faces competition from Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney Co’s India unit.
Netflix lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, when it posted quarterly results. It also missed targets for new subscribers overseas.
“India is a mobile-first nation, where many first-time users are experiencing the Internet on their phones. In such a scenario, a mobile-only package makes sense to target new users,” said Tarun Pathak, analyst at Counterpoint Research.
The creator of “Stranger Things” and “The Crown” said in March that it was testing a 250-rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, where data plans are among the cheapest in the world.
The country figures prominently in Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings’ global expansion plans.
“We believe this plan, which will launch in the third quarter, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business,” the company said in a letter to investors released late on Wednesday.
Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, priced between 500 rupees ($7.27) and 800 rupees $11.63).
It has created a niche following in the country by launching local original shows like the thriller “Sacred Games” and dystopian tale “Leila,” which feature popular Bollywood actors.
The second season of “Sacred Games” is set to release in August.
In contrast, Hotstar, which also offers content from AT&T Inc’s HBO and also streams live sports, charges 299 rupees ($4.35) per month. Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership.
“We’ve been seeing nice steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on. Growth in that country is a marathon, so we’re in it for the long haul,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said.