PRINT RUN

Kuwait 2019 | TELECOMS, IT & MEDIA | INTERVIEW

The Kuwait Times, long the main source for information about what is happening in the country, is undergoing a digital transformation.

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan
BIOGRAPHY
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Alyan is the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Kuwait Times. He gained years of journalism experience while working as a part-time foreign correspondent for Kuwait Times in London, during which time he also worked as a voluntary freelance journalist for several UK media outlets. Thereafter, he worked as an assistant to the late Editor-in-Chief and founder of the Kuwait Times, Yousuf Al Alyan. From 2004 to 2007, he served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Kuwait Times, planning a reformat of the Kuwait Times and establishing its weekend classified magazine and Friday times edition. He has a BA degree in media and communications from the UK.

What has been the evolution of printed newspaper consumption in Kuwait in the past five years and how are you adjusting to the new trends?

Traditionally people would turn to newspapers to know what is happening in the world. Since the introduction of digital media, the biggest challenge printed media has faced is the fact that news spreads instantly online and is immediately updated and available to readers. So, by the time the newspaper had published the latest football scores, readers already knew who won the game. The challenge of immediacy presented by digital has led us to evolve in terms of depth and analysis. We may not break the news, but we understand more fully and with more depth what the news means and that's the added value we give to our readers.

How is the Kuwait Times adapting to the increasing digitization? How can this create new opportunities for the Kuwait Times to attract a younger core of readers?

We have added a slate of digital platforms including social media, website, YouTube, and WhatsApp to appeal to younger readers. In fact, we've gained readers across a range of interests thanks to our digital presence and growth.

Newspapers used to be the preferred platform for companies to advertise themselves; what noticeable changes have you observed in that regard in the past two years?

Global ad spending for print has drastically dropped. We have suffered like all print media in Kuwait, the region, and the world, but we have also diversified our platforms to take advantage of digital advertising dollars.

The Kuwait Times is the most widely read Kuwaiti newspaper in English; to what extent did that increase the country's exposure on the international stage and raised the interest about Kuwait?

Kuwait Times has been the voice of Kuwait internationally since its founding in 1961. Every foreign entity and person that has interest in Kuwait and the region refers to the Kuwait Times as a reliable paper of record for what is undergoing in Kuwait and the region.

To what extent is the Kuwait Times trying to be more environmentally friendly in its printing activity?

We recycle all returned papers and all our printing paper is recyclable. We also encourage our readers to use the PDF version of the newspaper online and via WhatsApp to reduce paper usage.

What are your expectations for the year ahead?

Digitalizing the Kuwait Times has positioned us to compete in a wider field that includes regional and international digital media. Therefore, the competition is greater but so are the opportunities. I am positive on the outlook for Kuwait Times as a leading media outlet in Kuwait and the region.