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News International to launch The Times in the UAE

DUBAI - News International's The Times and Sunday Times newspapers are gearing up for launch in the United Arab Emirates, Brand Republic can reveal.

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The papers will be marketed as direct competitors to the country's other daily English-language newspapers, which include broadsheets Gulf News and Khaleej Times, and the tabloids Emirates Today and 7Days.

"These papers will not just be targeted at British expats," said a source close to the project.

"They are preparing to take on all of the UAE dailies. It's going to be The Times on time."

The same-day issues of The Times will be international editions produced from the UK, but printed and distributed locally by SAB Media -- part of the Jeddah-based SAB Group of companies.

The move comes amid uncertainty in the UAE publishing market, with the country's National Media Council tightening its guidelines on tabloid-sized publications.

Several local publishers have received letters asking them to change the format of tabloid-sized magazines.

However, Brand Republic understands that the first edition of The Times will be available on the UAE's newsstands in the second half of May.

It is expected that it will become more widely available across the Middle East, once the UAE operation is up and running.

An advertising and marketing campaign is due to be launched soon, which will feature creative work from The Tribe -- a new Dubai-based agency headed up by the former managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai, Rob Mitchell.

Media buying and planning for the launch will be handled by Starcom in Dubai.

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