Vogue Arabia makes new appointment 

Vogue Arabia has appointed Ravi Raman to the role of Associate Publisher. With over 20 years of experience in content strategy, revenue generation and brand marketing, he has previously worked with Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East and The Telegraph and most recently worked with Khaleej Times where he held the role of Senior Vice President. In his new role, he will deliver influential content and brand experience for readers.

“I am excited to join such an iconic brand and an immensely talented team,” says Ravi. “Within a short span the premium portfolio of Vogue Arabia, Pop Sugar and other experiential platforms have been established as the strongest voice in the region. In an increasingly connected world, readers are getting extremely choosy about where they spend their time.”

Is traditional media’s biggest strength also its bane?

Ravi Raman, Senior Vice President at Khaleej Times touches on the state of traditional media in the Middle East today, what they are doing wrong and what the newsroom of the future should look like…

“Journalists generated and reported on their communities, but could not be part of it – however, social media has changed all that from the way news is sourced to the way it is consumed today.

As consumers evolve, so does their expectations of brands – and with purchase decisions becoming more deliberate and value driven, brands need to constantly meet these expectations. Consumers are starting to seek more information on how the goods are produced. They are beginning to ask conscious questions like; is the brand ethically sourced and produced? Is it environment friendly? Or does it have social values? Consumers are expecting alignment of brand values with their own, so why should media be treated differently?

For a long time news media has operated in a walled newsroom with a clear separation between ‘church and state’ and even readers. With objectivity and independence, they practiced their profession in a ‘just the facts’ environment. Journalists generated and reported on their communities, but could not be part of it – however, social media has changed all that from the way news is sourced to the way it is consumed. News media is constantly mutating and evolving, forcing mainstream media organisations to pay attention. The internet is changing the news and in many cases bypassing the professional reporter.

Computers also play a key role in the media industry today as they are doing what traditional journalists used to do, like compiling stock reports, filing company announcements, reporting sports results and even weather and travel news bulletins. These used to be an integral part of traditional news, but are now automated and available online on a real time basis. Also, content aggregating platforms are now encroaching on the territory of publishers by influencing story selection and placement.

Citizen journalism, which started out as a public engagement has also gained enormous popularity in the media industry. Social networking platforms have given consumers the ability to transmit information globally, which has tilted the balance of power today. Not being bound by journalistic standards and norms has actually made these citizen journalists, whom are youtubers, bloggers or social media influencers more powerful. It could be argued that they voice opinions rather than truth however, citizen journalists are playing a vital role in news media, being present on the ground where a professional journalists cannot be. Traditional media is using social platforms for crowdsource comments, pictures, videos, insights and story ideas. It is also using it as an engagement tool, seeking readers to spend more time online and making them more valuable to advertisers. But is that enough?

Newsrooms today need to adopt a wall-less or virtual model, where readers are partners in the news conversation, not just passive consumers. So what should the newsrooms of the future look like?

Firstly, it would be made up of several tech savvy, socially connected journalists, who are capable, equipped and most importantly empowered to report, write and file stories on the fly. Better connectivity, artificial intelligence, analytics and easy access to social platforms will allow reporters to go beyond reporting and offer detailed analysis, as well as context and expert opinions on events as they happen. With smarter tagging, intuitive archival and retrieval systems they would be able to stitch together perspectives, links and inferences.

Secondly, the funnel approach of stories being filed, vetted, fact-checked, proofread, edited and then finally approved to be published will either be short-cycled or completely eliminated. Story filing deadlines are already disappearing with news and reports being on a continuous loop. Consumers today want to see and not be told, so video journalism is the new frontier, which requires a whole new scripting and storyboarding technique to ensure the story not only engages and entertains the audience, but is shared too.

The adoption of this newsroom of the future will require a large degree of trust and training. Publishers will have the fear of losing control of their title with copy errors and even fake news creeping in. However, the new reality is that readers are demanding faster, better and more engaging content – and a dynamic, fluid newsroom is the only solution that can deliver that.

New Senior Vice President at Khaleej Times

UAE-based newspaper, Khaleej Times welcomes Ravi Raman to the role of Senior Vice President. With a wealth of experience in the media and publishing industry, Ravi previously worked as Vice President and Associate Publisher at Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East, where he led the launch and growth of the edition as well as oversaw every aspect of the publication including digital, content and commercial. In his new role, he will head the Khaleej Times group and oversee its operations by spearheading the group’s strategic direction and conceptualising as well as leading its growth into new segments and markets. He will also further direct the group’s plans of acquiring and launching new titles across the region.

“Taking charge of such a well-respected brand is both an honour and a great responsibility – especially at a time when legacy media brands are being forced to reinvent themselves,” says Ravi. “With the brand equity that Khaleej Times commands, I am excited of the possibilities and opportunities. The market can expect some innovative offerings from the group.”

Bloomberg Businessweek releases special issue

Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East has released its The Year Ahead: 2016 special issue today, a guide to the companies, economies, people and enterprises that are predicted to shape the coming year. The special issue is divided into five sections: economics, technology, industries, energy and politics. The content is from the region and around the world along with charts, graphics and data to help readers navigate the business trends and challenges in store over the next twelve months.

The issue highlights 25 companies to watch in 2016. The list is comprised of both household names and lesser-known up-and-comers who have interests in the Middle East.

“This issue is a result of months of planning, countless hours of reporting, designing and debating,” says Ravi Raman, Associate Publisher, Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East. “We have prided ourselves to be different and cutting edge and the in-depth stories, charts, lists, illustrations and analyses will make The Year Ahead: 2016 a must-read for all executives.”


Executive Life relaunched

Following a brief hiatus this summer, Executive Life magazine has been revamped and relaunched. With a different theme for every issue, the magazine is aimed at professionals interested in luxury living, covering topics from classic cars, timepieces and tailoring, to fine dining and luxury properties. Published once every two months by UMS International, Executive Life will be sent to all subscribers of Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East. The title will also be available from book stores and supermarkets, with the relaunched edition – The Style Issue – out now. An Executive Life website is expected to launch by November 2015.

“Each edition of Executive Life tackles vital issues like wealth management, looking and feeling good, traveling smarter and exploring new destinations,” says Ravi Raman, Vice President, UMS International. “It’s the perfect lifestyle accompaniment for our readers, who are discerning and demand an intelligent read.”



Bloomberg Businessweek launches Arabic edition

Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East, in partnership with United Media Services International (UMS), has officially launched its Arabic edition for the Middle East market.

Published monthly and with a targeted circulation of 30,000, the Arabic version will focus on an audience of business leaders based predominantly in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The new edition will carry fresh content and articles written especially for an Arabic audience, as well as selected articles from the Bloomberg Businessweek Middle East title. This will provide readers with detailed analysis and access to CEOs, dealmakers and industrial decision makers as well as global content drawn from Bloomberg’s 2,400 journalists worldwide, in addition to financial content from UMS’s regional network of bureaus and editors.