Content Licensing Gains Ground In The Arab World

24 March 2009

The number of Arab newspapers licensing their content is on the growth, allowing them to increase their visibility outside the region. While being a fairly new phenomenon in the Arab world, content licensing has already attracted some major titles, such as Gulf News and Khaleej Times.

Arab Press Network (APN), operated by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), spoke to Dubai-based Mark Gatty Saunt, Head of Content Licensing and Sales at the Dubai-based Al Bawaba company, which licenses, aggregates and distributes content from Arab newspapers and other publications through its Syndigate service.

APN: What are the benefits for newspapers if they license their content to Al Bawaba? 
Mark Gatty Saunt:
 We offer the possibility to newspapers in the Middle East and North Africa to generate revenue directly from their news, features and other content. Each time a subscriber reads a licensed article, the copyright owner gets paid a royalty. Furthermore, the majority of our customers are based outside of the MENA region, so newspapers will gain increased distribution into untapped markets. Our customers include subscribers to products provided by Dow Jones, Financial Times, Reed Elsevier, Thomson Reuters and other large-scale information businesses. Lastly, as the publisher's copyright, attribution and logo are included within articles distributed by Al Bawaba, brand exposure is increased, as well as a knock-on effect concerning website traffic.

APN: Which newspaper markets in the MENA region are you currently involved in? 
Mark Gatty Saunt: Al Bawaba licenses content for distribution from almost every country within the Middle East and North Africa, comprising over 250 different information sources, in ten languages. The following newspapers currently use the service: 7DAYS (UAE), Ad-Dustour (Jordan), Arab Times (Saudi Arabia), Cyprus MailDaily News EgyptDar Al Hayat (Lebanon), Gulf Daily News (Bahrain), Gulf News (UAE), Khaleej Times (UAE), Le Temps (Tunisia), Sudan TribuneThe Daily Star (Lebanon), The Jordan TimesThe Star (Jordan), Times of Oman and Yemen Times.

APN: How is material originally published in Arabic dealt with?
Mark Gatty Saunt:
 Currently we do not translate content - we distribute unedited original language content. We only have a couple of database customers who make Arabic language content available to their subscribers. This means that the revenue opportunity for English content is quite a bit higher than Arabic content. But we are keen to license any Arabic newspapers that are interested. And there will be more high profile database services launching Arabic content in 2009.

APN: Is there an increasing interest among Arab newspapers to license their content today compare to a few years ago? 
Mark Gatty Saunt:
 Yes, there is definitely an increasing interest. And I think it's fair to say that this is heavily due to Al Bawaba's recent efforts trying to educate the MENA newspaper community about the benefits of licensing their original staff generated content. Prior to our service launch, only a handful of prominent newspapers from the MENA region were benefiting from licensing their content.

To visit the website of Syndigate, click here.

Newspaper publishers who are interested in the SyndiGate service should contact Mark Gatty Saunt, Head of Content Sales and Licensing, in Dubai on +971 50 8405686 or