WANIFRA — Best ePaper-Concept: Big win for MMG

Oman Saturday 09/December/2023 19:41 PM
By: Times News Service
WANIFRA — Best ePaper-Concept: Big win for MMG

Muscat: Always at the forefront of digital media innovation in the region, Muscat Media Group is the proud winner of the Best ePaper-Concept Award at the 2023 edition of WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Awards Middle East. Following rigorous evaluation, nine winners were announced across diverse categories on December 5th, with Muscat Media Group proudly standing as the sole victor from Oman.

A judge from WAN-IFRA’s panel commended the award-winning concept, noting, “Great use of the digital platform, providing an interactive experience surpassing traditional print.”

The World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) is a global organisation representing 3,000 news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs across 120 countries, fostering excellence in media.

WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Awards acknowledge outstanding digital projects by news publishers. The genesis of Muscat Media Group’s acclaimed “Digital Edition” stems from a commitment to deliver top-tier content in the most accessible format for readers.

As the voice of Oman and a leading source of multimedia content since 1975, Muscat Media Group continually evolves its platforms to cater to rapidly changing reader preferences. Recognising the demand for on-the-go news consumption via smartphones, the team innovated beyond static PDF e-papers.

Their journey began with the “Hygiene Edition” during the pandemic, transitioning into an interactive platform in 2022. This updated version ensures reader and advertiser friendliness, offering the latest news stories with embedded video and audio content in easily readable formats, optimised for mobile use without compromising download speed.

This achievement was the result of a collaborative effort.

The design team crafted a reader-friendly template, while the editorial team curated impactful stories. Simultaneously, the video team produced content aligned with the news, and the advertising sales team adapted creatives for this format.

His Excellency Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Al Harrasi, Minister of Information, Oman, praised Muscat Media Group for winning this prestigious award, commenting: “Dear colleagues in Muscat Media Group, we offer you our sincere congratulations on your wonderful achievement in winning this important award.”

His Excellency added: “This prestigious recognition is a testimony to your commitment to leadership and excellence in digital journalism in particular, and innovation in the world of journalism and media in general. It is also a testimony to all of us in the Omani media, and an indication of our investment in the developments of digital media and the opportunities it provides.”

His Excellency said: “Your dedication to creating a dynamic and attractive digital platform has not only pushed digital journalistic work to new high levels, but has also greatly enriched the Omani digital journalism scene. The creativity and hard work evident in the electronic version of Muscat Media Group’s publications, including: (Al-Shabiba and Times of Oman) best expresses the team’s passion, perseverance, ambition and experience, and this award is well-deserved recognition of your tireless efforts in the digital journalism industry.”

His Excellency the Minister of Information concluded his comment by saying, “We have no doubt that you continue to lead and inspire in this field through your innovative approach. Warmest congratulations once again on this amazing achievement.”

Mohamed Alzadjali, Chairman of Muscat Media Group, said: I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to each and every member of our incredible team for their outstanding efforts and dedication that led us to win the prestigious Best Digital Media Award. This achievement is a testament to our collective talent, creativity, and unwavering commitment to excellence. It is truly an honor to work alongside such talented individuals who consistently push boundaries and deliver exceptional results. This award is a reflection of our collective passion, hard work, and innovative thinking. Thank you all for your invaluable contributions and for making this achievement possible. Together, we have proven that we are a force to be reckoned with in the digital media industry. Let’s continue to strive for greatness and create even more remarkable work in the future.”

Ahmed Essa Al Zedjali, the CEO of Muscat Media Group, thanked the Minister, and expressed profound pride in this accomplishment. He said, “I’m immensely proud of this achievement. It’s a testament to our team’s ingenuity and dedication. Despite operating with just a fraction of our pre-pandemic workforce, our team consistently delivers exceptional design and content precisely when needed. It makes me imagine the potential of our full-sized team - what remarkable innovations we could achieve together. The resilience and creativity displayed by our smaller team inspire us to envision greater possibilities for the future.”

Al Zedjali emphasised the commitment to free access, stating, “Our e-papers are accessible to all without paywalls, believing in equal access to news irrespective of economic privilege.”

The English and Arabic Digital Editions, Times of Oman and Al Shabiba, reach over 200,000 opt-in readers via WhatsApp, Oman’s prevalent social platform.

Al Zedjali concluded, “With continued government and advertiser support, we aim to sustain our commitment to keep news and content free for our readers.”

With this win, MMG qualifies for the World Digital Media Awards in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2024.