Five Minute Focus – Anwar Roma (Lights of Rome)

Team TMN chat with Matt Slater, Co-founder of Seven Media and Executive Producer of The Lights of Rome, to talk about the premier of Ali Khaled’s new documentary: Anwar Roma (Lights of Rome)…

What was it that stood out about this story that compelled you to make this documentary?

The 1990 World Cup resonated with many people from my generation, that are almost 40 years old now, as it was probably the first World Cup we watched as young kids. When the UAE qualified for the World Cup in 1989, it was one of the most important sporting moments in the country’s history and yet, there are very few people that know about it.

What makes this story so unique?

The UAE was only 19 years old when it qualified and at that time, was the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup. It is a real underdog story and even though we all know the outcome, when watching the old footage in the film you still find yourself rooting for the UAE.

The film is also unique as it doesn’t only focus on football, but gives an insight into what the UAE was like at that time – which I know expats and international viewers will find fascinating.

Tell us how the collaboration with Image Nation came about?

Seven Media has been the retained PR agency for Image Nation for the past three years and has always enjoyed a close relationship with them. When the Director, Ali and I came up with the idea, we felt that it fits Image Nation’s mandate perfectly. Its documentary department strives to make films that are of importance to the Emirati culture and history which made them jump at the chance to create this film.

What were your most challenging moments while producing the film?

The archive footage was the hardest to source. The games were barely covered in the local press, so finding footage from the qualifying games was particularly hard for our team. Hana Makki, the film’s Producer from Image Nation, spent over a year and half sourcing the archive footage alone.

What was the reaction at the World Premiere at DOC NYC, New York?

We received an incredible reaction at DOC NYC – something we were slightly apprehensive about – being that it was an Arabic documentary, about the UAE and football! But it was very well received. We had audience members tell us how much they loved learning more about the UAE and its history – which is one of the reasons we made this film in the first place.

How do you think UAE nationals and residents will react to the film?

The story will definitely resonate with UAE nationals. This was an incredible moment in UAE history and something that should be celebrated. We also hope the day of the release, which is December 1, 2016 in time for UAE’s National day, will ignite patriotism around the film.

For expat residents who have recently moved here, the archive footage of the UAE from the 70s and 80s is fascinating. The film is not only entertaining, but you might learn a thing or two about the Emirates that you didn’t know before.

This is also a film about football at the end of the day and sport is one of those things that unite people around the world when you oversee language and cultural barriers and so we hope this film will reflect that.

How long did the creation of the documentary take, from conceptualisation to the very first premier?

Ali and I had our first chat about the idea just after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Image Nation then started production around two years ago and our team was still in the editing room the day before the premiere! Since the film is largely made up of archive footage, that’s what took the bulk of the work.

Do you plan on premiering the film in any other countries in the region?

There are no plans yet for regional screenings, following the film’s New York premiere and UAE release. There are a host of film festivals dedicated to sporting films which The Lights of Rome would be perfect for and so we hope it will be screened around the world. The film is a great opportunity to showcase not only this great moment in sporting history, but the UAE’s rich culture and history as well.

Where will the premier take place in the UAE and where will it be showing?

The premiere will be at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi on December 1, 2016 and will hit selected theatres across the UAE including, Nation Towers, World Trade Center Mall, Dubai Mall, Derrfields Mall, Dalma Mall, Cineplex Grand Hyatt and City Centre Fujairah.

Five Minute Focus – PRCA Awards

With the launch of the PRCA MENA Awards coming up, TMN sat down with Loretta Ahmed, Chairperson PRCA MENA, to find out more about what to expect from the upcoming event…

When is the launch of the PRCA MENA Awards and where will it be held?

The PRCA MENA Awards will open for entries from November 7, 2016 – December 13, 2016. The Awards will be held at the H Hotel, Dubai on February 8, 2017.

Tell us the concept behind the awards…

We wanted to have an awards night with a difference, to recognise the good work that PR and communications professionals are doing in the region. We also wanted to mark our first year in the region by looking for creative strategies that achieve results and recognising the talent here to ensure the region is profiled globally for the world-class campaigns undertaken here.

What makes an award event such as the PRCA MENA Awards different from other regional PR awards?

We have a totally different concept and variety of awards which will be judged by an international judging panel.  The night itself is a fresh take on awards and we’ve done away with a long sit-down meal in favour of an event that encourages networking.

Can you give us some details about the nomination process?

To enter is easy, it’s all online. Submissions are the standard 1000 word entry, but we are looking for creative strategies, execution and most importantly results.

How can non-members participate in the awards?

We have a rate for members and non-members. We encourage all PR and communications professionals to take part.

Can you tell us more about the awards/categories themselves?

There will be twelve categories. Eight campaign awards and four awards focused on teams and individuals. The award categories will include, Rising Star of the Year, Results on a Budget, Best Integrated Campaign of the Year and Best Regional Campaign of the Year.

Who judges the entries for the PRCA MENA Awards?

The Judges will be announced next month. Our panel will be an international judging panel with experience in the region. Some will be based here and others will be from our other key global PR markets.  This is key for us as we are a global organisation committed to raising the profile of the MENA PR industry across the world.

What has been your advertising strategy for the UAE/Middle East?

We don’t have a traditional advertising campaign for PRCA MENA and we rely heavily on our networking events programme and word of mouth.

Did you face any challenges establishing the event in the Middle East?

We have had a great response so far and we are seeing participants very focused on budgets and resources. For this reason we’ve kept our entry fees low and the entry process as simple as possible.

How do you think the PRCA MENA Awards will develop in the future?

PRCA MENA Awards will develop by being held in different parts of the region, and attract PR and communications professionals from different areas to nominate their work for the awards. The UAE is a key regional hub but there is exceptional work undertaken right across the region and we see no reason why the UAE should always be the host country.  We will have new innovative categories and dedicated specialist awards in the future.

Five Minute Focus – ‘Content is not King – Emotion is’

TMN catch up with John Brown, Head of Engagement at Hotwire, to find out more about the upcoming event, Content is not King – Emotion is…

Tell us a bit about Hotwire UK and the upcoming event?

Hotwire is a global integrated communications agency that is partnered exclusively with Active Digital Marketing Communications in the region. Both agencies are focused on pushing the boundaries of communications and ensuring that our clients are not just getting the right counsel, but are able to navigate the emerging industry trends in order to better communicate with their audiences. This upcoming event is aimed solely at sharing the knowledge that both Active and Hotwire have on how communications has to be emotional in order to be relevant – a message that resonates even more strongly in a region like the Middle East.

Where did the concept for ‘Content is not King – Emotion is’ originate from?

If you take a look at some of the most successful and well-known communications campaigns, you will find that at the heart of them is emotion, which is what we remember first. Not necessarily the brand, but the emotion we had when we experienced the campaign. Now we have technology and data at our fingertips to help us weave an emotive message into every campaign we do.

Who is the event aimed at?

We have identified existing and prospective clients and partners that we agree will find this extremely relevant as well as potentially give them an advantage over their competitors. We have a calendar of events like this over the course of 2017, some of which we may open up to larger audiences.

What do you think makes an event such as this relevant to the Middle East community?

Because of the unique partnership between Active and Hotwire, the Middle East community will be able to get a glimpse into global trends that are shaping our industry, with a clear understanding of how they can execute these trends in the region today. We’ve made every effort to ensure that what is discussed is made relevant for the Middle East market.

In addition, we know that the region is very active on the digital and social media front and that for many companies, brands as well as solution providers, the challenge is not how to reach these key stakeholders but how to truly engage them and that is something that is still developing in many markets across the globe. We want to see the Middle East as one of the most keen adopters of this approach and feel that the desire is there.

How do you think the event can benefit Dubai’s media community in terms of digital communications?

The event will deliver ROI ideas and programmes for clients to offer wider and more developed solutions that is different from any tactical advice that they can get from anywhere else.

What do you think of the media community in the UAE?

It is vibrant, dynamic and always open to change. It is comparable to many communities in the US, Europe and Asia where Hotwire operates and has very key relationships through its offices with these communities and often leads on initiatives, knowledge and skill sharing, as well as key areas like measurement.

How do you find the PR industry differs in Dubai to elsewhere in the world?

It doesn’t, when you look at the highest levels of public relations the expertise is there, which is why for Hotwire the partnership with Active made sense. We have shared values, shared approaches, shared principles and a shared desire to evolve, develop and exceed clients changing sets of priorities and needs. We have been working with Active in this region for over eight years before we formalised the partnership and that shows that we have been involved and engaged with the region for many years through the Active team.

What should PR Professionals expect to take away from the event?

Marketing and PR professionals should take away two things, inspiration and a sense of pride. This event will help to showcase just how important PR and communications is to delivering powerful messages that truly engage the audiences they want to involve and excite.

How can communications professionals get involved?

We’re the gatekeepers of emotive stories. If there’s one thing this trend towards emotive campaigning highlights, it is the need to have communications professionals contributing at the highest strategic level. We’ve always had to earn our results by creating stories that immediately made journalists and audiences feel something. Now that this is integral to any successful campaign, communications professionals should be at the heart of the overall marketing strategy.

Are there future plans for events like this in the Middle East?

There will definitely be more of these events conducted by Active and Hotwire for their immediate clients, prospects and partners as these are seen to be part of the value-added services that we all believe is essential in the client agency relationship. As they evolve and grow, we will definitely look to do more “open” events in 2017, but at this stage these will be quite focused events where Active working with the Hotwire team in London, New York and San Francisco will play a major role in inviting key stakeholders.

Five Minute Focus – Megan Hess

Team TMN chat with Zahirah Variawa, Managing Director of Think Liquorice, to talk about the launch of Megan Hess’s new book, New York: Through A Fashion Eye

Tell us a bit about Megan Hess?

Megan Hess was destined to draw. Her initial career as a graphic designer led to her employment as an Art Director at some of the world’s leading design agencies. In 2008, Megan illustrated Candace Bushnell’s New York Times bestseller; Sex and the City. She has since illustrated portraits for Vanity Fair and Time magazine, as well as created iconic works of art for Cartier of Paris and decorated the windows of Bergdorf Goodman in New York. Megan also channels this signature style into her bespoke range of silk scarves and limited edition prints, which are sold around the globe. Her illustrious clients include; Chanel, Dior, Tiffany & Co., Yves Saint Laurent, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Ladurée, Sephora and the Ritz Hotel in Paris. When she’s not working in her studio, Megan is usually hiding in a coffee shop, secretly sketching those around her and looking for that perfectly dressed person.

This is her fourth book following Fashion House, The Dress and Coco Chanel: The Illustrated World of a Fashion. Megan’s portfolio has been bursting at the seams with bigger and better projects being added every year. Since her last visit, she has launched a collaborative sleepwear and footwear collection and traveled the globe with leading luxury brands and numerous other projects in the pipeline.

Tell us about the concept behind the launch for Megan’s latest book

With New York: Through A Fashion Eye, Megan Hess will take you on a fashion adventure through this iconic city and allow you to discover her favourite places to shop, eat, sleep and play – all through her fashion eye. Megan’s signature style of fashion illustration has made her a favourite with international fashion labels, making her the perfect in-the-know guide for the reader. In her inimitable elegant way, she shines a light on the vast array of fashion-themed restaurants, hotels, parks, famous shops, galleries and sites to visit, as well as her own favourite places. This is an uber stylish travel guide that highlights all the famous spots and will serve as a special keepsake for your trip. For armchair travellers it’s a stunningly, gorgeous and inspiring snapshot of the city. New York: Through A Fashion Eye is full of Megan’s absolutely, beautiful, full-colour bespoke artworks that bring the New York streetscapes to life. This is a must-have insider’s guide to New York for any fashionista.

 What makes this event unique to previous launches you have held for Megan?

Each year we work very hard to try and create a concept that is unique, creative and true to the city with the brands who have partnered with us along the journey so far such as Fairmont The Palm. This year we wanted to celebrate the launch of the New York themed book, but still stay true to our city of Dubai. We’ve come up with something we consider to be the perfect marriage of the two cities – both incredible in their own right. We’re bringing a New York inspired sunset soiree to the Seaview Garden of Fairmont The Palm. Without giving too much away ahead of our VIP event – New York City will come to life in a very Dubai-esque style!

How will you make the Dubai launch stand out from its international counterparts?

Megan’s book tour travels across most of the major fashion capitals in the world and with all of these talented teams behind each event, it is always hard to stand out. What we take advantage of here is the beautiful weather and the outdoor setting we have. Dubai stands out as the only city on the tour that offers guests beautiful, warm weather with a skyline sunset and the luxury of hosting the event as a glamorous high tea.

Can anyone attend the launch?

The launch takes place in two events. The first is an invite-only event taking place in the Seaview Garden and the second is open to all and is a meet and greet that will take place in the Mashrabiya Lounge at 7pm. Both events will take place on Thursday, November 3, 2016

Could you tell us more about what media can expect to see at this event?

Megan Hess, in a small and intimate setting so they will have the opportunity to interact with her in luxury and comfort. A beautiful food and beverage service all uniquely themed to the event by the wonderful team at Fairmont The Palm. A New York inspired setting with a very special (secret) feature that we are very excited about. A Think Liquorice style event – small, intimate and enjoyable with loads of attention to detail.

Will there be opportunities for brand partnerships?

Yes, we are open to partners and sponsors for the event if confirmed fairly soon. Ideally this needs to be brands that fit the level of the Megan Hess brand and add value to the guests and event.

How can PR’s/brands get involved with this event?

Get in touch with Team Think Liqourice. We are always open to ideas and partners on any event and this one is particularly exciting as the brand association is extremely significant. Interested brands can reach out through email to

Five Minute Focus – PR Measurement

TMN catch up with Mazen Nahawi, CEO of CARMA, to find out about the upcoming seventh PR Measurement Summit to take place from October 12-13, 2016…

Tell us a bit about CARMA and the PR Measurement Summit?

CARMA is a media intelligence company that uses a unique methodology, balancing automation and curation to capture global media coverage and provide analytics that drive business impact. In other words, we focus on delivering media information in the form of monitoring, media analysis and databases which help improve client decision-making, whether that be measuring reputation, PR performance or other important communication facts. CARMA is one of the leading measurement and media intelligence company in the region and a growing player internationally, but this summit will not be about us, it will be about the industry and best practice measurement.

The PRMS is a standalone measurement event that began in 2008, we have had three of them in Dubai, two in the USA and one in Argentina. It’s aimed at having a high level and strategic dialogue about measurement best practices worldwide, gathering the best minds in our industry and promoting the concept of measurement across communications. The speakers are mainly high level communication professionals but that doesn’t mean a mid-level executive won’t benefit. They will definitely benefit by learning about best practice, upcoming concepts and genuine case study examples.

Where did the concept for the summit originate?

In 2007 I felt that we needed a forum to help further the understanding of measurement. PR measurement in the region is very isolated, it wasn’t opened up to a global audience or global ideas, it was very much rooted in AVE’s which are not the measure of public relations. I felt that by getting experienced people from around the world, who live and breathe measurement, we would be able to change the dialogue and help elevate the level of measurement in our region. I think that’s exactly what has happened, not only have people taken that best practice and adopted it, but we’ve been able to become a part of the global dialogue on measurement, not just CARMA as a company but the entire PR industry.

Although CARMA is the primary sponsor and driving force behind the event, we want this to be an open dialogue where all parties are invited. We have invited people from AMEC and FIBEP to take part and MEPRA is a strategic partner too, because we want to make sure the members of MEPRA have the ability to benefit from this exchange of ideas and knowledge as well as to actually have MEPRA at the forefront of advocating for measurement best practice in the region.

Who is the PR Measurement Summit aimed at?

The event is aimed at all PR and communications professionals, as I mentioned early our keynote speakers and panelists are Senior Communications professionals from some of the world’s leading PR agencies, international corporations and communications research centers, but that does not mean your entry level communication executive will not benefit from learning about best practices and getting a feel for its use in the context of real business scenarios. That’s often the issue, how to put theory into practice.

What do you think makes an event such as the PR Measurement Summit relevant to the Middle Eastern community?

Like any part of the marketing and communications industry worldwide, clients are demanding hard answers on returns on their investment, they want to know what they are getting for their money, they want to know whether all of their outreach is actually working or not.

Analytics and measurement have come to the forefront of measuring success and validating success. Our region is making good steps in the right direction when it comes to that, but we’re not where we need to be yet. The measurement summit is another step in the right direction, in helping clients and agencies alike, implement best practice.

There is a huge amount of content out there to keep on top of and its growing exponentially, not only on social media but in broadcast as well, in the last five years alone we have seen over 300 new TV stations go live in the region. The route to getting the best returns on your investment, will be down to one’s methodology. How to get the most accurate meaning out of that big data. The way to do that will be to avoid being stuck to counts, amounts and quantitative data and more towards qualitative and insightful information. That’s what I would describe as best practice.

What do you think of the media community in the UAE?

Vibrant and resilient, despite the slowdown in the regional economy as a result of the drop in oil prices. Spending on media has generally gone down and we know in advertising for example, many people are being laid off, companies are shrinking, budgets are diminishing, but in the Dubai community or the UAE media community, I think you still find a growing and vibrant sector. Online and social media has provided journalism with a huge boost. There is a lot more content going out to a lot more readers. Even traditional media such as TV and print remains strong. So on the journalism front, there is more media consumption, however that’s not necessarily translating into money.

In terms of advertising I think that part of the industry is under stress, but you still find a lot of good creative work and high quality people coming in. I think everyone is waiting for the economy to turn a corner and see spending at a more sustainable level—that will probably come in 2018.

As for PR and communications, that industry has been going steady and is doing fairly well. You have the major PR companies continuing to dominate the market, especially on strategic advisory, but you have a lot of low cost players who focus mostly on media relations and they provide options for those who don’t have the budgets for the more strategic council. Overall it remains positive; still vibrant, lots of opportunity and good people around.

How do you find the PR industry differs in Dubai to elsewhere in the world?

It’s a smaller industry because we’re a smaller region, where PR Budgets are relatively small. It’s a younger industry, not just in terms of when it was established, but also in terms of the age of those who are contributing, as a lot of the old time founders of the industry have left the region or retired. It’s an industry that has an overall good sense of best practice and is getting better at implementing it, but we have a way to go before the level of our practice is equal to that in other parts of the world. For example, in media relations, this part of the world (UAE) is as good as any other part of the world with great relationships with the media professionals and journalists, but when it comes to advising a company on how to go public, the number of people who are qualified here are much fewer, than you would find in somewhere like London.

Did you face any challenges in establishing the event in the Middle East?

Not at all, we’ve seen a lot of interest. Not just from the registered attendees, but the speakers too. They are keen to promote a more accurate way of measuring PR and to validate its applications and impact.

What should PR Professionals expect to take away from the event?
A healthy dialogue about best practice measurement. To meet and engage with industry peers with a shared interest in raising the benchmark of the PR industry. Ideally the lessons learned will reflect in their thought process when they return to the office or when they next meet with their clients to discuss performance. Also, to provide knowledge and understanding of the methodology and tools to translate data to meaning as well as to push the industry to interpret and apply media intelligence effectively to support decision-making.

What does the future hold for the PR Measurement Summit?
Since we have held this summit at other international locations in the past, we may consider a venue outside of Dubai next year. We will however continue to hold it at regular intervals, but we’ll listen to our clients and attendees’ feedback to ensure the events remain engaging and relevant to their needs too. Above all the Summit is about elevating knowledge, understanding and implementation of best practice PR measurement. We’ll continue to deliver and engage with the PR industry across different nations on that premise and build insights from a global perspective.

Five Minute Focus – Wall

Team TMN talks to Mansoor Bhatti and Faisal Shah, Co-Founders of Things By People, to find out about their creative agency as well as their revolutionary new interactive magazine, Wall (@tbpwall)…

Tell us a bit about Things By People and Wall magazine?
Things by People is a full-service creative fashion agency. We partnered up to start the agency in order to bring and curate locally based and international artists from the fashion industry to the UAE as a way to improve the overall quality of creative work here. We do this by keeping our artists’ desire to create at the core of the business.

Wall magazine is the first Instagram-designed moving image magazine in the world, which we developed in order to promote our artists’ work.

Tell us about the concept behind Wall
Wall was designed to showcase the work of Things By People, as well as the artists we represent. It was designed to break the ordinary thinking when it comes to browsing photography on Instagram.

What made you decide to launch the magazine?
Just like everything else we have done, we wanted to make a difference through our Instagram page. We were bored of the existing format, so we challenged ourselves to create something new. We thought, why don’t we make our Instagram more fun?

The concept all stemmed from observing how Instagram works. The social media platform itself is simply a wall of photos, so we took our observations and came up with the idea to turn our wall of photos into an interactive magazine, and so @tbpwall came to be.

What made you choose Instagram as the platform on which to launch Wall?
Instagram is used heavily within the fashion industry – much more than other platforms, such as Facebook. As most of Things By People’s creative work is visual – photos and videos – there is no other place that can express our vision in a better way.

What does Wall offer, content-wise, that is different from other online platforms?
A new experience, as Wall is quick to use and creates an immediate impression. It’s also highly interactive and a lot more fun to view than traditional content in print or online publications.

Who is your target audience?
Anyone interested in fashion or art. Or people who simply want to discover something new!

Will you be working with a dedicated editorial team, or are there opportunities for freelancers?
We are always up for collaborations with different artists or freelancers. However, we only represent artists on an exclusive basis.

How can PRs and brands get involved in the magazine?
Branded Wall issues are up for grabs. Wall is new but it has a growing following from the core fashion industry, and new campaigns, advertorials or even product launches (related to beauty or fashion) can be featured in the magazine. However, to maintain the high quality of Wall, we do insist on curating its content.

How do you see Things By People / Wall evolving in the future?
We keep a tight eye on technology and its benefits. In the immediate future, we will be looking into creating versions for Snapchat and other platforms…

Five minute focus – Distripress

TMN catch up with Tracy Jones, Managing Director of Distripress, to find out about the upcoming 61st Distripress Congress event, being hosted from Monday, October 3, 2016 until Thursday, October 6, 2016…

What is Distripress?
Distripress is an association for the promotion of the global circulation of the press. We are a non-political and non-profit association of companies and individuals of repute, engaged in the national and international circulation of publications such as; newspapers, magazines, periodicals and paperback books. Our members include publishers, printers, distributors, retailers and other ancillary service providers. Distripress is registered as an association in Zurich and subject to Swiss law. We celebrated our 60th anniversary at our congress in Brussels in 2015.

Tell us a bit about the Distripress Congress?
Each year in September or October, Distripress hosts a congress that brings the global press distribution industry together. The event starts with a half-day forum, during which guest speakers and panellists deliver insightful updates from across the globe. Following the forum, the EXPO and business meeting areas open and provide the main focus for the rest of the event. Member companies can meet existing and new clients, as well as service providers, across the three days. These meetings are an invaluable and efficient way to share business updates and most member companies will have schedules with more than 30 meetings. The EXPO area is open to member and non-member companies and provides an excellent environment from which to promote products and services to potential new contacts.

The social scene at Distripress Congress is also very important. We host a welcome reception on the first evening which is an occasion for friends and colleagues, old as well as new, to mingle in a relaxed environment. In Dubai, this event will be held at the Armani Pavilion from 7.30pm on Monday, October 3.

Where did the concept for the congress originate?
At the time of its foundation in 1955, Distripress counted 16 member companies in 13 countries – today there are more than 275 member companies in over 70 countries. The association set out to be global and hosting an event every year in a different location allowing members to meet and connect was a fundamental element of this initial concept.

Why should members of the media get involved with Distripress?
This event presents a great opportunity for local, non-member companies in the region, who are engaged in the press – or in media in general – to join Distripress members. We will be holding a forum on the morning of October 3, at which senior industry speakers will focus their presentations on the topic of innovation in the supply chain. There is the chance to network with members over lunch and explore the EXPO area, which we hope will inspire new ideas and initiatives. In the evening, the welcome reception held at the Armani Pavilion delivers a fantastic social environment for further networking.   

What do you think makes an event such as the Distripress Congress particularly relevant to the Middle Eastern community?
This is the first time Distripress has held its annual congress in the Gulf. There is a buoyant publishing industry in the region and we have many members from the area. However, we hope that by bringing the event to Dubai, more local companies will be encouraged to come along and find out more about what we have to offer, as well as to learn from our international speakers and members, who are travelling to the region to offer their unique insights into the media industry.

How have you marketed the event since its launch?
As a member based association we do not actively market our annual congress event beyond our website and direct communication via our member database. However, Dubai is a new congress location for us and therefore we want to take this opportunity to encourage local non-members to join us and get involved. We have a number of high profile senior managers from the industry scheduled to speak at the Forum.

How can non-Distripress members get involved in the congress?
We have created an ‘L’ Card specifically to allow non-members to join us on the first day of the event, Monday, October 3, at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The ‘L’ Card is priced incredibly reasonably, at USD 360, and gives attendees access to the forum, the EXPO area and the welcome reception in the Armani Pavilion. If you’re interested in purchasing an ‘L’ card, please don’t hesitate to contact our Congress Coordinator, Anna Roca at

What can local attendees of the congress expect to take away from the event?
This is a great opportunity to meet new international contacts publishers, distributors, retailers and ancillary service providers – all of whom are actively engaged in the promotion of press distribution. Each element of the congress offers attendees different focuses within their industry, as well as fantastic opportunities to network.

Additional to the congress, we have developed the Distripress Circulation Monitor – which is a survey of member companies that provides quality insight into the performance of the global market for press distribution. Highlights from the report will be presented at the forum by Jim Bilton from Wessenden Marketing, UK, which will allow attendees even greater insight into their industry performance.

What does the future hold for Distripress and the Distripress Congress?
Distripress is a long established and highly regarded association. Many of our member delegates have attended 25 or more congress events and in 2017 we will hold our 62nd congress in Lisbon.

Distripress will continue to evolve to meet the needs of its members – existing and new. The congress will remain a ‘must attend’ event offering an international press fair and a forum platform for fresh perspectives on media developments from other industries. The quality and content of the EXPO will reflect Distripress’ ambitions with more products and innovation being showcased. We also look forward to welcoming new members to the Distripress family.

Her Paper

Team TMN chat with Jason Bowman, Sales Director at Black Iris Publishing to find out more about Her Paper, the soon-to-be launched lifestyle newspaper for women

Tell us a bit about Black Iris Publishing and Her Paper….
Black Iris Publishing was formed in the UAE in 2012, when we began publishing one8one magazine – a lifestyle magazine for students distributed to Virgin Megastores, high schools, universities and higher education institutions across the UAE.

As print media is declining, we wanted to breathe life back into this medium by using augmented reality, combined with e-commerce to allow readers to buy the products they see in print, through a corresponding mobile app. This month we are launching Her Paper, which will be the UAE’s first lifestyle newspaper for women that utilises augmented reality technology.

Tell us about the concept behind Her Paper
Her Paper will keep readers abreast of the latest lifestyle news whilst allowing them to purchase everything they see or read in the newspaper instantly. The publication runs in tandem with get it – so readers can simply scan an article or advertisement they see, and a video advertisement pops up in the app (if the brands have video adverts for their campaigns), which lists any products/services that are available in a menu. Readers can then click on the product/service that they want to purchase and we will deliver it to their door within 24 hours, if it’s a product. If it’s a service that has been booked – a test drive or cinema ticket, for example – we would then send a confirmation to their email.

What made you decide to launch Her Paper in the Middle East?
Women love to shop, women are online and women are mobile. In this day and age consumers want products and services instantly and we satisfy this demand by delivering products straight to your door, eliminating the need to even leave the comfort of an armchair.

Will Her Paper be available in any other formats?
Her Paper will be available through our app, get it, which will be found on Android and Apple. You will also be able to get Her Paper online.

How do you think the get it mobile app will enhance readers experience?
Imagine seeing a product or service in a newspaper and thinking to yourself; I want to buy that, now! get it allows you to do just that, regardless of whether the brand is available online. We stock the products in our warehouse and do the deliveries ourselves. If a brand has a video commercial, or wants to offer readers a further digital experience, we can also offer that service through the app.

What do you think makes Her Paper particularly relevant to the MENA community?
We are lucky enough to be spoilt living here in the UAE. We can call local mini-markets to deliver grocery items to our door. Her Paper is just capitalising on this concept, but using mid-to-upmarket consumer products and services.

How will you make HerPaper stand out from other publications available?
Her Paper is the first newspaper available exclusively for women aged between 18 and 45. Combined with the get it app, there is no other product like it in the market.

How can PRs and brands get involved with Her Paper or the get it app?
Simply give me a call on 050 656 1567 or drop me an email on

Will you be working with one dedicated editorial team, or will there be opportunities for freelancers?
For Her Paper, we are working with a dedicated editorial team, but we are also not adverse to freelancers. 

How do you think HerPaper can be developed in the future?
An Arabic version will be available shortly, the rest has to remain secret…

Five minute focus – Hopscotch

Team TMN chat with Helen McGuire, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Hopscotch – a new agency looking to change the game for professional women in the MENA region…

Tell us a bit about Hopscotch?
Hopscotch launched in April this year and at the time of launching, it was the first platform to enable and support professional women in finding flexible work to suit their situations.

Where did the concept for Hopscotch originate?
I took maternity leave with my first daughter in 2015 and realised how much talent was being wasted through a lack of opportunities for non-regular work hours. I also know from my own background just how great a need there is for flexible work within businesses. Hopscotch was founded as a way to create a unique solution to these two issues in the region.

What makes Hopscotch unique as a service?
We do not see ourselves as simply a ‘recruitment’ service. We also offer one-on-one coaching and skills workshops that help women re-enter the workforce if they’ve been away for a while.

What do you think makes a company such as Hopscotch particularly relevant to the MENA community?
This region is home to so many women who have either had to leave work due to the maternity laws here, or moved with their husband and perhaps left a successful career behind. We have tapped into that huge talent pool and made it accessible to businesses both large and small, as well as giving these women the opportunity to contribute to the household and kick start their careers again.

How have you marketed Hopscotch since its launch?
We have advertised on two fronts – both in trade/business print and also to our target market of women through magazines such as good. All of our PR and creative work is done in-house, lead by myself and I have experienced a huge interest in comment pieces, features and columns across trade, daily and monthly publications. In addition, we have a very strong social media presence with over 15,000 followers and a solid content strategy across those platforms.

Do you feel that social media has helped your company grow?
Absolutely – it’s essential to be front of mind for both women and business and we have a long-term social media strategy to help with that.

How important do you think it is to encourage working mums in the UAE?
Very! According to the World Bank, GDP would increase by five percent if women played a larger part in the economy here. We have one of the most educated female populations in the world, yet one of the lowest rates of female employment. Hopscotch is changing that.

Can you find candidates for roles within media companies specifically?
With 1000’s of women on our database, who possess a huge array of skills and talents, we don’t specifically provide jobs or candidates for one industry in particular. Having said that, we do cater to a higher percentage of media industry roles than any other, and work with a large number of women who are well suited to these positions.

How can businesses get involved with Hopscotch?
Simply head to to register, or email our new Business Director, Jeremy, directly at

Did you face any challenges in establishing the company in the UAE?
We are part of a parent company, MCG Group, which is one of the most successful recruitment companies in the Middle East. MCG Group already has an established reputation and clients in this region so, thankfully our set up journey wasn’t too turbulent.

What does the future hold for Hopscotch?
We have seen positive expansion in our first six months by employing an excellent team across both recruitment and new business, and on the training front with our skills workshops in collaboration with HSBC, so we aim to keep on that road to ensure that we can help and support both businesses and women to find the perfect employment solution. Our aim has always been to change the game for both parties in this region, so we have some exciting plans and partnerships on the cards to enable that over the next six months!

Forever Sports Middle East

Team TMN sit down with Group Commercial Manager of White Fox Media, Matthew McMullan, to talk about the launch of new men’s sports and lifestyle publication, Forever Sports Middle East

Tell us a bit about Forever Sports Middle East?
Forever Sports Middle East is the region’s only dedicated monthly sports and lifestyle magazine targeting men aged 18-40. Aiming to be ‘The Insider Guide To Sport’, we offer readers a unique glimpse into the mind of the modern global sporting superstar through cutting edge editorial and photography. The magazine also features a blend of technology, fashion and grooming to ensure that we are in tune with our demographic of international citizens living and working around the Middle East.

Tell us about the concept behind Forever Sports Middle East
Given the huge appetite for sport, both locally and regionally, we saw an opportunity to provide advertisers and agencies with a platform from which to reach the already vast, and still growing, demographic of sports mad men living across the Middle East, who play and watch sport on a regular basis.

What made you decide to launch Forever Sports Middle East?
Basically the lack of anything like Forever Sports in the region. Whilst specialist sports magazines do very well in the UAE, there is nothing monthly on the market to cater for the needs of men who are active, extremely image-conscious, into gadgets and love fashion. Forever Sports Middle East aims to fill that gap with great editorial, which we believe will offer direct advertisers and media agencies the right environment to reach their target audience, through the longevity of a monthly sports and lifestyle magazine. 

What are the main features of the magazine?
Sport is very clearly the main driver, but not the analysis of sport. Our aim is to be ‘The Insider Guide To Sport’ – asking questions and uncovering the personal thoughts and views of sports stars, through engaging and cutting-edge articles. The magazine also features extensive fashion and grooming sections, both of which play a key role in the modern man’s arsenal here in the Middle East, where fitness and body image are vitally important, both socially and professionally. 

Will Forever Sports Middle East be available online, or exclusively as a print publication?
We are working with our partners in the UK to bring the Forever Sports website to the region and we expect this to be concluded in the near future, so more exciting options are ahead for both our readers and advertisers. 

What makes Forever Sports Middle East unique as a publication?
We have followed Haymarket’s business model in the UK. Our success will come from placing our publication where men actually shop for sports equipment – such as retail outlets and superstores – where it’s available on the counters for impulse purchasing, just as we have seen in the UK where Forever Sports is one of the leading men’s magazines in the market. It’s also available in the places our audience actually hangs out, such as sports bars and clubs, as well as at both Dubai International Airport and Etihad First and Business Class lounges.

From an advertiser’s perspective, our in-store model is extremely valuable as it is highly targeted and offers zero wastage. It’s something that we’re delighted to have been able to secure as we won’t be fighting for attention on the newsstand, meaning many more eyeballs on Forever Sports Middle East than on our competitors publications combined, and visibility is the key to our success.

How can PRs get involved with Forever Sports Middle East?
We’d love to hear from anyone looking to engage with our audience, such as advertisers or PR agencies. Given the broad range of content we provide each month, it’s a great opportunity for brands, both directly or indirectly associated with sports, to reach an audience who are active, brand aware, image conscious and have large disposable incomes, mainly spent on themselves. Whilst we will be proactively speaking with PR Agencies, we would also encourage them to get in touch and be a part of the magazine. 

Will you be working with one dedicated editorial team, or will there be opportunities for freelancers?
As with all licensed magazines, we have the option to “pick up” editorial content from sister publications around the world. We already have a great team in place with some amazing contacts in their phones, from professional footballers, cricketers and golfers to boxers and Olympians. That being said, if you have an interest in sports, fashion, technology, music, grooming or fitness and you think you can add something into the mix then drop us a line – as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained! 

How do you think Forever Sports Middle East can be developed in the future – do you have any plans for expansion?
As it stands, we are available across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Plans are currently in place to expand the network to reach Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Jordan, and these will be finalised in the latter half of 2016/early 2017.