Newsletter No 12 27 December 2005
 
Revenue Generating Initiatives:
Marriage Makes Money

Citizens from the Indian subcontinent form the largest expatriate community in the UAE and the main audience for English-language newspapers in the region. To increase its circulation, Khaleej Times offers them a new product: ‘Matrimonial Times’, a supplement where Asian readers can look for marriage partners. It has had unexpected benefits.

“When launching this supplement the primary goal was to increase circulation, but we soon realized that it was a very good tool to generate advertising revenues,” says Vijay Manikoth, head of ‘Matrimonial Times’.

“It has attracted a lot of local advertisers, especially up-market brands. A famous jewelry company has, for instance, already bought a quarter of the front page for every future issue.”

Real estate companies are also buying space in the supplement. “When people marry, they need a home. ‘Matrimonial Times’ is consequently a perfect place for real estate advertising,” says Manikoth.

‘Matrimonial Times’, is also inexpensive to produce. “We have an agreement with shadi.com, the largest Indian website for marriage. They provide us with the classified and exclusive editorial content like interviews with South Asian celebrities. We just have to download the material and print it,” says Manikoth.

The supplement was first launched in October and circulation of the Khaleej Times has increased, says Vijay Manikoth. “But, as the launching coincided with an on-going campaign to gain subscribers for the newspaper, we cannot be sure of to which extent ‘Matrimonial Times’ has been a factor for this increase.”

The target audience of ‘Matrimonial Times’ is educated South Asian expatriates in the UAE who have already established themselves. The launching has been promoted through radio stations with jingles in different languages such as English and Hindi.

“Marriage classifieds are a very popular business in India,” says Manikoth. “That is why we decided to import the model here. We are the one-and-only newspaper with such a service in the region. And I would not be surprised if others start doing the same.”

‘Matrimonial Times’ is distributed every Thursday as a 4-page full-color broadsheet with the Khaleej Times newspaper. The paper also publishes a wide array of supplements on sports, business, and urban news.