Arab News: The Voice of a Changing Region

Updated 04 April 2018

Arab News: The Voice of a Changing Region

  • We report news you can believe, and we always will, says Arab News bureau chief
  • Arab News has been at the forefront of reporting KSA transformation, and will continue to be so

DUBAI: This newspaper relaunches today with a new design, and a new approach to stories that is better suited to the Internet age
Since 1975, Arab News has been the voice of the Arab world and the newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia and the wider region. As this region changes, and as the Arab world faces new challenges and new political, social and economic realities, so must that voice change. And so must Arab News — as you can see from these pages, published to mark the relaunch of the newspaper.
The world in which we now live is unrecognizable from 43 years ago. Empowered in unprecedented ways, we connect to that world through the Internet, and we connect to each other via social media; through the power of the web, we have instant access to everything that has ever been known. It is, literally, a world of information. 
What’s missing? In a word — trust. The concept of “fake news” has attained much prominence recently, but in truth it is nothing new. In this region especially, too often a “journalist” is merely someone with an opinion, a keyboard and a platform, and too often that opinion has no basis in fact. Arab News has never provided such a platform, and never will. We report news you can believe, and we always will. 
Changing with the times
So how is the Arab News you’re now reading different from the one that has existed for the past 43 years? What are the changes, and why were they necessary?
Just as the pace of life has changed since 1975, so must the pace of a newspaper. It is no longer enough for a media publication to tell its readers what happened yesterday. In 1975, they might not have known; in 2018, constantly bombarded with information from sources that did not exist 43 years ago, they almost certainly do. 
Thus, they want more than the news; they want to know what it means, why it happened, what are the consequences, and how it will affect their lives. 
Arab News is committed to supplying that information; we no longer simply publish the news, we supplement it with the contextual analysis that readers need to make sense of it. Not only has the design of the newspaper been radically changed — you will also see elegant graphics and background facts giving richness to our stories. 
News in the Internet age
Another major change in all our lives since 1975 is time — or rather, the lack of it. We all lead busy lives, and often have less time than we would like to absorb the news. Arab News has changed to reflect that. Many of our major stories now come in two forms; a full version, and a “speed read” that can be more easily digested. They are also accompanied by panels of instant facts and statistics that can be quickly and easily understood.
While our focus is on explaining this region to the world, and explaining the world to this region, we will never forget where our home is. Saudi Arabia has embarked on an unprecedented program of social and economic reform that has caught the attention of the world. 
It is said that when Saudi Arabia sneezes, the rest of the Arab world catches pneumonia. Equally, when Saudi Arabia changes, and it is doing so at lightning speed, those changes will have profound consequences far beyond its borders. Arab News has been at the forefront of reporting this transformation, and will continue to be so. 
Arab News. It’s Arab. And it’s news. What could be clearer than that?

• Ross Anderson is Arab News Dubai Bureau Chief


Global Amazon marketing agency Podean launches in Middle East

Updated 29 September 2020

Global Amazon marketing agency Podean launches in Middle East

  • Business aims to provide brands with the tools to boost revenues from online sales to 230 million people in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Turkey

DUBAI: Global Amazon agency and marketplace consultancy Podean has officially launched in the Middle East, with its regional headquarters in Dubai.

The agency said it is the first independent global Amazon services provider to offer end-to-end marketplace marketing solutions to international and local brands in the region. As e-commerce grows rapidly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Amazon is the leading player and presents a formidable sales channel for brands that establish themselves early, it added.

Research conducted by Podean this month found that 45 percent of adults in the UAE regularly shop on Amazon. The most popular category is food and groceries, which 26 percent of respondents said they had shopped for in the past month, followed closely by electronics and home appliances, which 25 percent had purchased.

The research also found that the benefits consumers value most are best prices, speed of delivery and range of products — all of which are factors that play to Amazon’s strengths.

Podean said its arrival in the region will provide brands with the tools they need to drive incremental revenues among a combined population of 230 million people in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Turkey.

In the UAE alone, e-commerce is expected to grow by 30 percent from 2020 to 2021, and consumer confidence in Saudi Arabia ranks as the second-highest in the world.

Podean boasts that it can offer brands strategic consulting and holistic Amazon retail and advertising solutions, supported by its global network of experts. Internationally, the agency said it counts more than 80 leading brands among its clients, who can leverage the company’s experience across all categories and facets of marketplace marketing, including retail, analytics, logistics/supply chain, creative, content, voice and media management.

The agency said it can also provide non-endemic brands — which don’t sell physical products in the marketplace — with the ability to drive optimal marketing results by leveraging display and video advertising through Amazon’s demand-side platform.

“We are excited to be launching in the Middle East, a sophisticated consumer market experiencing strong e-commerce growth,” said Podean founder Mark Power. “While the world continues to face uncertainty due to COVID-19, we know that Amazon’s model will meet these changing consumer needs.

“Our company is uniquely positioned to help brands grow their revenues in the Middle East, and to support their global ambitions. The addition of this office further reinforces Podean’s reputation as the leading global Amazon agency network.”

Paul Hart, described by Podean as an experienced business leader who has been building partnerships with brands in the region for 13 years, is the managing director of the business’s new MENA operation.

“I am delighted to be joining a dynamic company (that is) shaking things up in the Amazon services space and running at the speed of Amazon,” he said. “Through Podean’s global network we are able to provide the experience, expertise, specialist resources, tools and technologies to our MENA clients that no other agency in the region has access to. I cannot wait to drive incremental sales for the many great brands in the Middle East.”

Podean said it will also be launching in the region a number of proprietary tools, including JourneyTM, which it says is the first Amazon media-mix-modelling and channel-planning tool that optimizes investment across all Amazon advertising products.

It will also launch ProphetTM, which it describes as an analysis framework that optimizes brands’ Amazon business beyond just return on ad spend/advertising cost of sale, and addresses all critical elements to drive success, from strategy to supply chain to content and media.

Podean said that the combination of both platforms has helped clients increase revenues by upwards of 40 percent and profits by 60 percent.

Podean’s global headquarters is in New York City and, in addition to Dubai, it has offices in Los Angeles, Sydney, London and Singapore.