Motivate Media Group Moves to a Free Distribution Model

Founder and Managing Partner of Motivate Media GroupIan Fairservice, explains why staying visible is vital and how partnering with Gulf News will keep print titles top-of-mind.


There are three very pertinent items for the media industry in the Gulf News edition dated Tuesday 21st April 2020.

Their front cover opinion piece is headlined: ‘UAE newspapers in unprecedented crisis’. It makes the point that there is a global surge in the consumption of news and, with so much ‘fake news’ out there, people are turning to established media for reliable information.

True, and whether that’s found in print editions or online is not important. What is important is that without advertising revenue, or as Gulf News points out, a share of the government’s financial stimulus packages, those reliable news sources will dry up forever.

Page 2 poses the question: “Is this really the newspaper industry’s final battle?” and discusses in depth the challenges facing print media locally and globally. Turning through to the bottom of page 15, Vrinda Gupta sums up the situation succinctly with three invaluable recommendations for all companies: Stay agile, remain relevant and be very visible – “being visible in difficult times matters for businesses,” she wrote.

Gupta concludes: “If there is anything that we learned from the 2008 Global Economic Crisis it is that companies that were most visible recovered the fastest”.

Most people in the industry will be familiar with the Wanamaker Dilemma. A prominent US retailer, John Wanamaker famously said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half”.

Less true today with more sophisticated data available but, in a serious economic decline, brands can’t afford not to take that chance. Marketing remains a must. Companies need to think long and hard about the best possible media mix and do their utmost to stack the odds in their favour.

A lesser-known story is that of Kellogg’s and Post cereal companies in the 1920s. When the depression hit, Post, who were market leaders – and Kellogg’s biggest rival – cut right back on advertising while Kellogg’s more than doubled its spend. By the early 1930s, Kellogg’s dominated the market. And who now has ever heard of Post cereals?

For our part at Motivate we are not just focusing more energy and talent on our online editions, we’re also maintaining the balance by ensuring that much-loved print products reach readers despite the inherent difficulties. Which is why, Motivate Media Group are moving the vast majority of print to a free distribution model that will continue as long as needed.

While maintaining stock at major retailers, starting immediately, through a new arrangement with Gulf News, free copies of What’s On, Emirates Woman, Gulf Business and Identity will be delivered directly to Gulf News subscribers’ homes.

Copies will initially be supplied to Emirates Hills, Emirates Living, Arabian Ranches, JLT, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim and Trade Centre 2.

The philosophy is very straightforward – we are adapting our business model to ensure that no magazines go unread.

This is Motivate’s strategy to maintain service to our readers, visibility for our brands and ROI for our advertisers.

Maintaining brand visibility through difficult times and taking advantage of potential stand-out in a less noisy and cluttered media space is essential for those businesses that strive to come through, like Kellogg’s, stronger than ever. Snap, Crackle & Pop.



Source: Gulf Business and Campaign Middle East


Motivate Val Morgan is a joint venture company established in 1999 by Motivate Media Group and Val Morgan Cinema Network.

Dubai Lynx Names Ian Fairservice as Advertising Person of the Year 2019

Dubai Lynx International Festival of Creativity has named Ian Fairservice, Founder, Managing Partner and Group Editor, Motivate Media Group, as the Advertising Person of the Year 2019.

One of the Festival’s most prestigious awards, the Dubai Lynx Advertising Person of the Year is selected in collaboration with the IAA UAE who were responsible for nominating Ian Fairservice. It honours an individual who has made significant contributions to advancing the reputation and profile of the communications industry in the MENA region.

Hani Ghorayeb, President, IAA UAE, commented “Ian is a true character of the UAE media industry. His contribution to the development of publishing in this country is nothing less than history-making and his long service to the IAA and particularly to the UAE chapter, has left a legacy that will be appreciated for years to come. It is fitting and fully deserved for Ian to be acknowledged in Motivate’s 40th anniversary year. The IAA wish him every thanks and many congratulations.”

Philip Thomas, Chairman of Cannes Lions and Dubai Lynx, added, “For the past 40 years, Ian has made an outstanding commitment to the communications industry here in MENA and to developing creativity across the region. We’re delighted to honour him with this award.”

Fairservice founded Motivate in 1979 with the launch of What’s On, the UAE’s first English language magazine. With a wide range of award-winning publications, crossing diverse media interests in digital, content, events and cinema, Motivate’s established consumer and trade brands reach an audience of over two million people each month. Motivate’s book division was established in 1986 and has more than 250 titles in print. Together with his partner, Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, who is now the UAE Minister of State for Finance, Fairservice has grown Motivate into one of the most successful media groups in the region.

In March 2007, Fairservice founded the Dubai Lynx Advertising Awards and Festival of Creativity, in partnership with Cannes Lions. He has also served as the Middle East representative of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity since 2000.

During the past year, Fairservice has diversified the group’s interests to include joint ventures with global content and influencer marketing platform VAMP from Australia, Malaysian based World Expo pavilion design company Zakti, Social listening and research specialists MavenMagnet from the US and acclaimed British documentary film makers Lorton Entertainment.

Commenting on the announcement, Ian Fairservice, added: “It is hugely exciting to be recognised in this way, particularly as Motivate is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. None of our success could have been possible without the support of a great team behind me and in particular the encouragement of my partner, HE Obaid Humaid Al Tayer.”

One of the first members of the International Advertising Association (IAA) – UAE Chapter, Fairservice spent more than 20 years on the board including four years as treasurer, four years as vice president, and five years as president. He also served on the association’s World Board. In addition to his business responsibilities, Fairservice is the vice chairman of the board of governors of the Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs.

The presentation of the 2019 Dubai Lynx Advertising Person of the Year Award will take place during the Dubai Lynx Awards Ceremony at the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah  on Wednesday 13 March 2019.



Source: Dubai Lynx (Press Release – 10th March 2019)