Four Kuwaiti newspapers to stop publishing on Saturdays for economic reasons
Editors of four Kuwaiti dailies have announced their agreement to suspend production and circulation on Saturdays in reaction to what they called fierce competition from digital outlets and social media.
The move Al-Qabas, Al-Rai, Al-Anbaa and Al-Jarida comes on the basis of economic reasons, as they put it, in addition to the competition they face with online news websites, saying that that one day they will either force print outlets out of business or merge with each other in order to sustain themselves.
Walid Al Nisef, editor of Kuwait's Al-Qabas newspaper, told Al Arabiya network that Kuwaiti paper-based newspapers faced several factors affecting their operations, including the competition from online sources both globally and regionally in particular, but more so in the decline of attracting advertisers.
“Kuwaiti newspapers have a rich history in the region particularly as they have contributed to the media scene of the Gulf. What contributed to many of our outlets’ demise can be found in two factors; one being the global decline in advertising spending while the second is the competition we face from online websites that publish for free,” Al Nisef told Al Arabiya.
Yousef Al- Jalahma, General Manager of Alrai Media Group, said the decision by editors to stop publishing any content on Saturdays comes as no surprise.
“If we look back at our history, newspapers did not work or publish content on Fridays in the past so this new decision to take Saturdays off is nothing new,” Jalahma told Al Arabiya.
But Jalahma puts another factor in the decline of print into play; the drop of culture as role in people’s lives.
“I come from a generation of Kuwaitis who took the theatre, drama and literature as a vital role in our daily lives. This is declined, obviously, in the past several years with technology playing its role in moving the physical spaces of a book or newspaper into a smartphone,” he said.
Nasser Al-Otaibi, Managing Editor at Al-Jarida, acknowledged that newspapers were suffering severe financial issues but cautioned that a one-day suspension was not going to spell the end of print media.
“It is too early to talk about closure of newspapers in Kuwait because they are taking serious steps to prevent this,” he told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
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