Newsletter No 10 13 December 2005
Financial Management:
Adapting to Circumstances

Jordan got its first tabloid newspaper earlier this year, the Arab-language Al Anbat, run by the husband-wife team of Riyadh Al Hroob, publisher, and Editor-in –Chief, Rula Al Hroob.

“Jordanians are not used to this format and it is not easy to convince them. Newspapers here have always been published in a broadsheet format,” says Rula.

As a result, Al Anbat, which was established on May, is set to change its targeted readership. “At the beginning, we wanted to reach every Jordanian,” she says. “Now we will target the Jordanian youth, and we will do it because we have seen that they are the most appealed by the format.”

According to Rula Al Hroob, the design also appeals to younger readers. “We deal a lot with photos. We are in the era of images and the tabloid format fits it better, that is our philosophy. In a tabloid, you have not so much space to write, therefore you have to rely on pictures to tell the stories.”

The paper’s editorial line has also played a role in gaining a younger readership. Al Anbat tries to push the limits of freedom of expression in the country and deal with people’s concerns, something that the youth appreciates. “We are a truly independent newspaper as long as we are not linked to any political party in power or the opposition. We are now studying new ways to keep attracting young readers by including more content of their interest and special supplements for them,” says Rula Al Hroob.

 “We have enormous feedback from young people and most of it is positive. They applaud our editorial line and encourage us to keep in the same way because they cannot find in other newspapers what we offer them,” she says.

The newspaper estimates that it is the third most popular of six Arab-language dailies and it expects to increase advertising revenues as it targets a younger audience. Youth in Jordan “are big consumers”, says Riyadh Al Hroob. “They want to have mobiles and buy special brands. We hope that being the only newspaper targeting youth specifically will help us attracting advertisers.”

However, their independence has cost the paper. It is excluded from official government advertising and also from private companies linked with authorities. “They try to penalize us economically. Although we have commercial ads in a low proportion, the marginalization is affecting us a lot. In fact, we are striving to stay in the market,” says Rula.