Al Ghad newspaper is the first independent and private daily in Jordan. It
was launched in August 2004. Eighteen months later, according to Ipsos
Stat Jordan, it is one of the country's leading newspapers, with a
circulation of more than 55,000. Almost 70 per cent of its readers are
subscribers; an unusual figure for papers in the region.
“We chose to
employ a unique approach to penetrate the market, so instead of having
readers buy Al Ghad off newsstands, they can now find it on their
doorstep every morning before any other newspaper,” says Ala’a Qassim,
General Manager of the newspaper.
But how did a
new daily manage to obtain such a share of subscriptions in a country
where newsstands are the preferred method to buy newspapers? Attracting
potential subscribers with appealing offers and catering for
subscribers' needs are two of the keys.
The first step
was creating expectation for the newspaper. Al Ghad launched a
full-scale multi media teaser campaign before it hit newsstands, and
offered complimentary one-month subscriptions across the kingdom to
introduce the newspaper to readers.
Al Ghad took advantage of another publication of the group, Al Waseet,
to reach the biggest number of households in Amman. Al Waseet is a free
advertising weekly-distributed door to door in within the capital. Al Ghad used its database to reach potential subscribers.
After the first
month, the daily started a telemarketing campaign offering annual
subscriptions for JOD 30 (USD 42). “In the first three months we
registered 6,000 subscribers and after a year we had achieved 21,000,
something surprising in a country were the rest of the dailies'
subscribers combined together barely make up 8,000” says Qassim.
The price was a
main reason for that success. It represents almost a 60% reduction
compared to a daily purchase during a year. Other newspapers charge JOD
75. “If the reader is paying in advance we have to add value to his/her investment,” he says.
telemarketing campaign was reinforced by a prize drawing of a luxury
car every month for three months. The paper decided to offer three
luxury prizes rather than a big quantity of small tokens.
something valuable for our subscriber because we were targeting a
concrete niche audience: business men, decision makers and youth with
high income. They are easier to convince in order to subscribe than
other audiences,” Qassim says.
But, to keep attracting mass audience to the newspaper, Al Ghad
bought air space in a local TV station and broadcasted a quiz show
directly related to the content of the newspaper for ten months. ‘Ainak
Ala Al Ghad’ (keep your eye on Al Ghad) offered prizes to those who answered correctly to questions about the newspaper content.
To retain subscribers, Al Ghad
relied on a fundamental strategy: building up their loyalty. For its
first anniversary, the paper offered them a book by one of its more
popular columnists and a travel life insurance. Moreover, on mother’s
day they sent every subscriber a pack of candies with a card dedicated
But much more
important have been listening to what subscribers have to say. “Each
subscriber receives a follow up phone call approximately every three
months in order to know their comments on the newspaper,” says Qassim.
As a result of
this follow up the newspaper has introduced some changes in the layout
and in content, like adding more local social and cultural stories.
Nowadays, Al Ghad
has over 35,000 subscribers and the number keeps increasing by about
1,500 each month, Qassim says. Copy sales and renting its printing
facilities for commercial catalogues and newsletters represents 40% of
the paper’s total revenue.
Advertising represents the other 60% and it is increasing, says Qassim. “You have to advertise in Al Ghad because of subscriptions. This is a confirmed clientele base everyday.”
However, it is
not only about having readers, but also about knowing who reads you.
“We have the complete demographics of our readers,” says Qassim. “We
obtain them through the feedback collected by the call center, our
sophisticated database and through a third party, Ipsos-Stat, a
survey-based market research company.”
look for categories and we know those categories exist,” says Qassim.
“For instance, two automobile companies, Kia and Hyundai, are looking
for a target audience aged between 25 and 30, employed and with high
income. Thanks to their research we know that we reach them and
therefore can offer advertisers what they want. Other papers cannot
provide this king of detailed information.”
Facts about the newspaper
is a 60-page broadsheet. It has 40 full-color pages. It is printed in a
high quality 52 grams web white paper with brightness of 8%. “The
quality of the paper and the layout is one of the main reasons of our
success for both the reader and advertiser,” says Qassim.
The daily has its own building with printing facilities and created its own distribution network.
biggest share of subscribers is in Amman, the paper reaches all the
major cities in the Kingdom. Subscribers in Amman find their copy at
05:00 am while it is delivered to the rest of the country two hours
later. The paper is sold in newsstands at JOD 0.20.
It has a staff of 285 of which about a hundred in the editorial. The average age of the employees is under 26.
Owned by four Jordanian shareholders, Al Ghad
is about to break even, says Qassim. “This is an outstanding result for
a newspaper that has been in the market for a year and a half.”