Jeddah-based English language newspaper Saudi Gazette has stopped its print-run and will now remain purely digital.
The paper, which began in April 1976 as a 10-page business daily, later expanded into a broadsheet covering all aspects of news.
The plan to move completely into digital is “in keeping with the times”, since “print is definitely in its death throes”, an editorial said.
Executive editor L. Ramnarayan Iyer called it “a sad day to witness the last print edition” but hoped that Saudi Gazette would continue to reach readers digitally.
The newspaper, which mainly competes with Jeddah-based Arab News, works out of two bureaus in Riyadh and Al-Khobar. It is the sister newspaper of Arabic daily Okaz, one of Saudi Arabia’s leading newspapers.
In 2014, Saudi Gazette appointed the kingdom’s first female editor-in-chief, Somayya Jabarti, who served in the position until September 2018.
In line with the global media industry, regional print publications have started to see a sharp decline in revenues.
The advertising revenues for the print sector in Saudi Arabia and the pan-Arab region is expected to shrink from $358m in 2016 to $253m in 2020, according a report by Oxford Business Group (OBG).
Newspaper revenues are anticipated to fall from $311m to $220m and the magazine advertising market expected to shrink from $47m to $33m during that period, OBG quoted Al Khaleejiah, a subsidiary of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), as stating.
Whereas, digital revenues in Saudi Arabia and pan-Arab media are anticipated to grow 11 per cent over those four years, from $246m to $266m.
Saudi Arabia has 660 electronic newspapers compared to 13 print newspapers, according to data revealed by the General Authority for Statistics in January this year.