Condé Nast’s launch of GQ Middle East poses a stern cultural challenge

GQ Middle East will be launched in September 2018, it has been announced by Jonathan Newhouse, Chairman and Chief Executive of Condé Nast International.

The launch of GQ Middle East, the twenty-first edition of the title, will include a bi-lingual website, social media platforms, a monthly magazine and a series of events/awards. It will be published under license agreement with ITP Media Group.

Of particular interest to publishers looking to expand their portfolios into the ME region is the thorny issue of how Condé Nast navigates the region’s complex social landscape and cultural sensitivities, especially around issues of women’s decency. Not known for its tolerance around such matters, it remains to be seen whether articles like GQ’s Woman of the Year will discreetly make way for tamer articles such as GQ’s Bags of Character.

Not necessarily so, say Condé Nast, but the publisher has also ensured there is a regional team on the ground, ‘staffed with home grown editorial production and digital talent who understand the landscape of publishing within the Middle East‘.

The magazine will cater to and be available through the Gulf Cooperation Council states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (Dubai). Digitally, the content will predominantly be locally produced with a heavy focus on video, as consumption of the medium is the highest in the region.

Karina Dobrotvorskaya, President of Condé Nast New Markets and Editorial Director, Brand Development, commented, “The Arabian men’s fashion market is very dynamic. We see a growing appetite for luxury products and a real appreciation of craftsmanship, with huge respect for both heritage and contemporary brands. We believe that ITP has the experience, vision and enthusiasm to deliver GQ Middle East with its own unique voice across all platforms.”

GQ Middle East is the twenty-first edition of the multimedia brand which is currently published in the United States, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Russia, Japan, China, Taiwan, Mexico & Latin America, India, Korea, Brazil, Australia, Portugal, Turkey and Thailand. However, the Middle East represents possibly its biggest challenge yet.