Gulf News took a historic step yesterday and launched a digital subscription. The international trend is for news websites to launch digital subscriptions. And we, as market leaders in the region, have decided to follow the trend.
The decision is strategic. It will enable us to continue to offer quality content to our readers as the decline in traditional advertising has made it virtually impossible for any news organisation to offer free of charge valuable and credible content: News, views and information that our readers expect to find.
Since the advent of the internet, we have been presenting our audiences with high quality content online for free. And for more than 4 decades, we put that content in our print edition whose revenue allowed us to continue offering free online access to our valuable readers.
It is in fact a giant step not only for Gulf News but also for the media sector in the UAE. We have always been a leader in this sector, thanks to the trust of our loyal readers. Therefore, as we step into a new era of the digital world, we expect other organisations will follow
But like in all other parts of the world, the print newspapers’ revenue has increasingly been declining as more people turned to online sources for news and the surge in social media use.
International trends show more and more news websites are beginning to charge for their content. This allows them to maintain standards and serve their readers. We have always stood by our ethics of reporting and our story-telling is honest. Fact-checked, verified, in-depth journalism needs resources. And hence there is a cost.
Gulf News is not preventing the audience from accessing its website. On the contrary, the move is meant to offer more of the trusted, reliable content our readers value. It is meant to protect readers from fake news and intruding low-quality advertising.
As other streams of revenues decline, the digital subscription will allow us to continue to offer prime content and a unique and enjoyable reading experience.
For that reason, we charge a nominal fee -- less than the price of a cup of tea. As announced by the newspaper, those who registered with us early - before Tuesday's announcement - will pay a mere Dh52 for 12 months. That is Dh1 per week.
It is in fact a giant step not only for Gulf News but also for the media sector in the UAE. We have always been a leader in this sector, thanks to the loyalty and trust of our loyal readers. Therefore, as we step into a new era of the digital world, we expect other organisations will follow.
And that will be good for both the growth of the industry in our country and the development of innovative and reliable content that our readers deserve.
This is a new journey, which we expect to be an interesting and exciting one for us and our readers.