What is the key to strike a balance between producing impartial content and respecting the political sensitivities of Oman's ecosystem?
AHMED AL ZADJALI To work in any news market, be it Oman or any other country, the most important thing one needs to realise is the sentiments of its people, as well as your target audience. However, as a news publication, we also have an obligation to accurately report facts. Before going to work in a media organization in any country, my advice to any journalist would be to learn more about its population. In Oman, for example, in addition to the 2.7 million nationals who live in the Sultanate, we also have more than 1.8 million expatriate workers from various countries. Depending on their cultural backgrounds, their sensitivities might differ. Accurately reporting news in an impartial manner while respecting everyone's sensitivities is a professional and ethical obligation for every journalist.
How should brands engage with today's Omani media industry and what is the role of integrated marketing agencies in adding value?
ZAHIR AL BUSAIDI Advertisers, marketers and the media are rapidly embracing change and adapting in various ways to build a connection to the general audience through various networks. The media acts as the voice of any nation and plays a crucial role in disseminating accurate information. Furthermore, Omani media plays a crucial role in marketing, advertising and displaying brands through correct channels and mediums for maximum exposure. Major brands can collaborate through digital mediums and take opportunity to reach out to the local and foreign communities within the country. On the other hand, integrated marketing agencies can hugely support in providing expertise, cutting edge technologies and techniques, access to best and cost-efficient tools of marketing and provide depth and breadth across different channels and tactics, ensuring they complement one another to maximize results.
How do you expect digitization to further impact an already tech-disrupted industry such as media in Oman?
AAZ Muscat Media Group realized early on we needed to keep with the changing times, but ensure we stick to our values while doing so. The younger generation across the world prefers reading news in a digital format. However, at the same time, we must not forget our older readers, the ones who made us one of the best media organizations in Oman. Many of them still enjoy reading newspapers, and we have to respect their preferences as well. Tech has had a significant impact on the way the news is reported and delivered around the world, and we have also adapted our offerings accordingly. The Times of Oman website today receives more than 20 million views a month, and our Times TV channel provides many diverse video offerings for our wide range of customers. Our radio station TFM seeks to provide better options of receiving updates from Oman. We have similar offerings for our Arabic publication, Shabiba, as well. It is important that there is synergy between all these elements. These should work together, and not pull in different directions, so that you can create a successful and self-sustaining news cycle in which all the different offerings you have complement each other. Going forward, every media organization will need to embrace this technology; if you do not adapt, you will be left behind.
ZAB Today, there is no individual who has not gained access to digital devices like phones or computers, which gives us a broad reach and spectrum of audience that we wish to target. Digitalization helps us target the right audience at the right time, which gives maximum exposure to the brand and its services or products. A number of digital campaigns provide companies with flexibility and feasibility to monitor who sees their ads and how they react, thus ensuring growth in online business. One is able to record their leads or potential customers and also encourage them to buy online, hence ensuring an increase in sales and also brand visibility. For example, customers might see an ad on their mobiles relating to something they would like to purchase. Even though they are not able to make a trip to the store, there is an option available online that fulfills their needs.