National Geographic magazine to launch in Arabic

National Geographic is exploring a new territory: the Arabic language.

The magazine, which dates back to 1888, is launching a Middle East edition later this year, with the first issue of the monthly title expected to hit the newsstands on 1 October.

National Geographic Al Arabiya will be distributed across the GCC as well as in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.

It will be published by the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), which also owns and publishes The National. ADMC also broadcasts the National Geographic Channel in Arabic across the Middle East.

The Arabic-language magazine will feature a mix of features on geography, archaeology and natural science, with more than 20 per cent of each issue generated locally.

"We believe our locally tailored offering will provide readers with a unique opportunity to engage with and learn about the region's rich geography, habitats and anthropology," Gavin Dickinson, ADMC's executive director of publishing, said in a statement.

National Geographic Al Arabiya is the latest of many international magazines to be published through partnerships with local firms. Late last year, ITP Consumer Publishing launched Esquire Middle East, and Forbes Middle East is set to relaunch in October, through a partnership with the Dubai-based Arab Publisher House. This is on top of homegrown versions of Hello!, Grazia and Men's Health.

One advantage of these localised versions is that they can engage readers with more relevant features. But another is the cover price: International editions of some magazines sell for up to Dh60, whereas locally published titles typically retail at Dh10-Dh15.

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