Oman: In a resounding triumph at the forefront of digital media innovation, Muscat Media Group (MMG) proudly clinched the Best ePaper-Concept Award at the 2023 WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Awards Middle East. The prestigious accolade, announced on December 5th, positions Muscat Media Group as the sole victor from Oman in this esteemed competition.

The recognition from WAN-IFRA’s panel is a testament to MMG’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of digital journalism. A judge from WAN-IFRA commended the award-winning concept, stating, “Great use of the digital platform, providing an interactive experience surpassing traditional print.”

The World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) represents 3,000 news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs across 120 countries, fostering excellence in media globally. The Digital Media Awards by WAN-IFRA acknowledge outstanding digital projects by news publishers, and Muscat Media Group’s acclaimed “Digital Edition” stands out as a shining example of such innovation.

The genesis of MMG’s award-winning “Digital Edition” highlights its commitment to delivering top-tier content in the most accessible format for readers. As the voice of Oman and a leading source of multimedia content since 1975, the media group has continuously evolved its platforms to cater to rapidly changing reader preferences.

Recognizing the demand for on-the-go news consumption via smartphones, the team innovated beyond static PDF e-papers. The journey began with the “Hygiene Edition” during the pandemic, transitioning into an interactive platform in 2022. Additionally, this updated version ensures reader and advertiser friendliness, offering the latest news stories with embedded video and audio content in easily readable formats, optimized for mobile use without compromising download speed.

This achievement is a result of a collaborative effort involving the design team, editorial team, video team, and the advertising sales team, all working in tandem to create a dynamic and attractive digital platform.

The Minister of Information Applauds MMG

His Excellency Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Al Harrasi, Minister of Information, Oman, praised MMG for this significant achievement, stating, “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.”

Moreover, His Excellency emphasized the impact of the group’s dedication on the Omani digital journalism scene, noting, “The creativity and hard work evident in the electronic version of Muscat Media Group’s publications 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.”

MMG’s Chairman Mohamed Alzadjali and CEO Ahmed Essa Al Zedjali

Mohamed Alzadjali, Chairman of Muscat Media Group, expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the team, remarking, “This achievement is a testament to our collective talent, creativity, and unwavering commitment to excellence.”

Furthermore, Alzadjali highlighted the significance of the award, stating, “It is truly an honor to work alongside such talented individuals who consistently push boundaries and deliver exceptional results.”

Looking ahead, MMG is committed to free access, ensuring that its e-papers are accessible to all without paywalls. 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.

Ahmed Essa Al Zedjali, the CEO of Muscat Media Group, echoed the sentiment of pride, stating, “I’m immensely proud of this achievement. It’s a testament to our team’s ingenuity and dedication.” Al Zedjali emphasized 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.”

With this resounding win, MMG now qualifies for the World Digital Media Awards in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2024. The journey to greatness continues, and with continued government and advertiser support, MMG aims to sustain its commitment to keeping news and content free for its readers.