Empire Arabia launches

Bauer Media has agreed to a new licence for Dubai-based Origami Publishing and Events to publish Empire Arabia magazine. Empire already has editions published in the UK and Australia, and the new licence agreement will see copies of Empire Arabia distributed across the Middle East and North Africa on a monthly basis, in both English and Arabic, at a cost of AED25. International editorial editions of the movie magazine operate independently from the flagship edition of Empire in the UK, but still have access to world-exclusive content, as well as the ability to curate bespoke local content. The first issue of Empire Arabia was released this week and features the latest Bond release, Spectre.

“Nine years ago I bought my first issue of Empire from a small news stand in Damascus,” says Khaldoun Qaddoura, Editor-in-Chief, Empire Arabia and Managing Director, Origami Publishing and Events. “I fell in love with the brand and it wasn’t long before the idea of bringing Empire to the Middle East came to mind. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have fast become bridges between the Middle East and Hollywood, with many recent blockbusters choosing both cities as preferred shooting locations. We are happy to join forces with partners such as Dubai International Film Festival and Middle East Film & Comic Con.”

Gareth Cherriman, International Publisher, Bauer Media, adds “We are really excited to be launching Empire Arabia with Origami Publishing & Events. The team at Origami have extensive knowledge of the film industry and have put together a fantastic plan which will bring the brilliant Empire brand to a whole new audience.”

House of Comms Acquires RUA Digital

House of Comms has acquired international digital communications agency, RUA Digital and rebranded to House of Comms Integrated Communications. Following the rebrand, the agency will also be launching its new website – www.houseofcomms.com. Launched in 2012, House of Comms has a client portfolio that includes global, regional and local brands such as Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Grosvenor House Dubai, TDIC Abu Dhabi and BOUNCE Trampoline Park. Naomh McElhatton, former Managing Director of RUA Digital, will be joining the new House of Comms Integrated Communications team as Director of Strategy and Education, where she will lead on providing strategic guidance for clients and consultants alike while also spearheading the agency’s newly-founded Digital Training Academy.

“We established House of Comms to work with clients that we feel truly passionate about,” says Kaja Weller, Managing Partner, House of Comms. “Over the past three years we’ve been committed to delivering highly creative, innovative and strategic campaigns for clients across the Middle East. The acquisition of RUA Digital is testament to our vision for House of Comms and through this partnership we look forward to meeting the demands by brands for a truly integrated approach.”

Jamie Wilks, Managing Partner, House of Comms, adds “We’ve been planning to diversify into the digital space for quite some time as a natural step for the business, given the constant demand from our clients for support with digital content, complex social media strategies and SEO support. 2015 has been a huge year for House of Comms and we’re looking forward to the next chapter in the evolution of the agency. Watch this space.”

entourage welcomes Eyad Alsheikh

entourage marketing and events has welcomed Eyad Alsheikh to the role of Finance Director. With over 20 years of experience across the MENA region, Eyad was most recently the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Boloro MENA. In his new role, he will be responsible for financial strategy, planning and reporting for entourage. Eyad will also be covering the agency’s development and implementation of financial policies, systems and processes.

“I’m very excited about joining entourage’s highly qualified and motivated team,” says Eyad. “I look forward to working with the team to achieve the company’s vision and goals.”


The ULTRAs launched

Ultratravel magazine, a UAE-based publication focusing on regional and international luxury travel destinations, has launched the Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Awards (The ULTRAs). With 20 categories including: airlines, airports, hotels, travel agencies and services, as well as specialised categories across UAE hospitality and tourism sectors, Ultratravel will determine one winner and four runners-up per category, culminating in the Ultratravel 100 list.

Winners will be announced at the Ultratravel 100 Awards, hosted in the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah on November 25, 2015. They will also be published in the Winter 2015 issue of Ultratravel, available from November 26 and distributed by The National and Aletihad newspapers. Voting for the awards is currently open to the public until October 31, and readers can vote online at www.thenational.ae/ultras.


ELAN partners with the Huffington Post

ELAN Media, the media division of the ELAN Group, has become the exclusive digital media sales representative for the Arabic-language edition of The Huffington Post, Huffpost Arabi. The division has partnered with Integral Media Strategies as well as The Huffington Post to introduce Huffpost Arabi to the Middle East. Founded by CEO Wadah Khanfar, former Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network, Integral Media Strategies is a digital content hub that produces online news catered to the Arab region. Based out of London, the hub will be working with HuffPost Arabi to produce and share the latest stories from the Arab world.

“We are proud of the partnership with ELAN Media, a company with established roots in the market and a developed footprint across many leading websites in the region,” says Wadah. “We are confident in their ability to promote HuffPost as a go-to advertising platform for companies in the Arab world. We want to publish great content that advertisers will be excited to support.

Jaber Al-Ansari, Group Chief Executive Officer, ELAN Group, adds “We are proud to establish The Huffington Post and even more so to help introduce their Arabic edition to the Middle East. We have been in the media market for over a decade and have developed extensive knowledge and practice in the region. Our partnership model allows us to leverage this expertise and partner with global brands that are experts in their respective fields, giving people of the Middle East diversity in choice and access to more substance than what is available. We believe our partnership with HuffPost Arabi will be mutually beneficial to both our audiences.”

Alin Constantin joins The Media Network

The Media Network has welcomed Alin Constantin to the role of Chief Photographer. Having worked with a number of high profile clients in the UAE including Topshop, Sport 360, Formula 1 Abu Dhabi, Adidas and HSBC, Alin has an impressive portfolio across a number of genres.

In his new role, Alin will be utilising his experience in order to launch and oversee a new photography division for The Media Network, expanding the company’s service offerings. The Media Network’s photography division will provide members with competitively priced photographers to cover events, corporate portraits, cut outs and more.

“The Media Network has made a huge impact in the media industry since launch, and is a much-needed resource,” says Alin. “I’m very excited to begin contributing to the growth of the company through the newly launched photography division.”

CNN welcomes Inga Thordar

Inga Thordar has joined CNN as Editorial and Programming Director, Digital International, where she will be overseeing the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) based digital news and sports team. She joins CNN from the BBC, where she worked as Senior Editor, leading a number of editorial teams. Inga will be based in the network’s London bureau and will oversee all digital news and sports output. She will also manage, coordinate and communicate the content flow of all other digital units, including CNN’s Hong Kong team, and will report to Andrew Demaria, Vice President and Managing Editor, CNN Digital International.

“Inga has deep experience in setting and driving an editorial agenda,” says Andrew. “She understands both journalists and technical staff, and has delivered some outstanding multi-media original and distinctive journalism. She’ll be a fantastic asset to the news team across our platforms.”

Inga adds “CNN is doing exciting things in digital journalism and building on the very latest trends in digital media, so this is a great time to be joining the international team. I’m looking forward to continuing and progressing the work on innovative storytelling and multi-platform production that’s well underway here.”


Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi welcomes Paula Tannous

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi has appointed Paula Tannous to the role of Director of Sales and Marketing. With 20 years of experience in hospitality, Paula most recently worked as Complex Director of Sales and Marketing at Novotel and Ibis World Trade Centre Dubai, where she was jointly responsible for all major decisions regarding the hotels’ operations, strategies and directions. In her new role, she will be responsible for strategy development and internal operations for Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, playing a key role in all events and promotional activity happening in and around the hotel, including the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“I’m delighted to be heading up such a vibrant and hard working team for such a prestigious property in Abu Dhabi,” says Paula. “This is an exhilarating time for Yas Viceroy, with exciting plans in place for 2016 and with the current preparations for the Formula 1, I’m honoured to be a part of this journey.”