Al Arabiya Job Cuts Reiterate ME’s Tough Media Biz

DownsizingThe year had begun with the news of broadcaster Al Jazeera cutting down nearly 500 jobs. Later, there was news of print industry, in particular newspapers, suffering in Lebanon leading to near closure to one of its oldest players. Yahoo shutting down its Middle East operations was not much of a surprise given that the move was a result of Yahoo’s global plans. The latest in the slew of bad news is Saudi-owned news channel and website Al Arabiya reportedly cutting down 50 positions as part of a restructuring process.

The year 2016 was predicted to be a tough one for the Middle East and North Africa region, much of it attributed not only to the economic challenges that the Middle East itself was facing but also the impact of global economies slowing down. The political rifts in the region further added to the sober mood of the economy.

As nearly half the year ends, industry leaders have reiterated that the slowdown so far has been ‘manageable’. Some say that given that the region has been faced with these challenges for some time now, many companies have learned to navigate through them not to mention the governments and ruling authorities have actively looked at addressing issues and creating newer growth avenues.

The media business however is faced with continued challenges given the slowdown in advertising spending, which continues to be the primary source of revenue for several broadcasters, print players and the likes.

The news of job cuts in Al Arabiya comes as a reminder that caution is the new normal in the region, and will be so in the foreseeable future.

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