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Bollywood mania sweeps the Middle East magazine market

Bollywood fans will have two locally produced magazines to choose from by September, as demand for news and gossip on Indian cinema sweeps across the Middle East.

Bollywood fans will have two locally produced magazines to choose from by September, as demand for news and gossip on Indian cinema sweeps across the Middle East.

Bahrain headquartered Hilal Al Khaleej is the first publisher to move into the market with its Bollywood International magazine, which was launched last month, while Corporate Publishing International (CPI) is launching Take One next month, Campaign Middle East can reveal.

Dominic de Sousa, CEO at CPI, said the magazine aimed at Malayalam speakers will be produced both from a CPI office in the Indian province of Kerala and Dubai.

"I looked at the Malayalam community in the region, and they make up a huge percentage, about 70%, of the Indian population in the Gulf. They’re pretty much unique in their language and culture, so we’re launching a magazine for them that will focus on the cinema industry,” he said.

“It will basically be a magazine that links the Malayalam speaker to his homeland. It’s a global magazine and due to be launched in September,” he added.

An editorial and sales team of 12 will support the 120-page glossy due out in September. The publisher also plans to distribute the magazine internationally as well.

Meanwhile, Bollywood International from Hilal Al Khaleej has already hit newsstands, offering a mix of gossip, news and features on Indian cinema. The magazine has a editorial and sales staff based in Mumbai as well as in the company’s bureau in Dubai.

“We are filling a niche in the market,” said Shafquat Ali, managing editor of Bollywood International. “The Middle East, and Dubai in particular is going Bollywood crazy at the moment, and we are seeing more stars coming to the region, films are bring shot here and award ceremonies are taking place. There is a large sub-continental expatriate population in the Middle East, and there are many Arab who also follow the Bollywood industry, so it made sense for us to offer them something that reflects the best of what is going on in India and the region."

The monthly 112 page Bollywood International sells for AED5 (US$1.30). Hilal Al Khaleej is also planning to launch the magazine in the UK and Europe and eventual hope to sell it is in the United States and Canada.

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