Times of Oman
Nov 29, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 11:19 AM GMT
In a first, we bring you newspapers on WhatsApp
January 6, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Muscat: With the objective of introducing a pioneering concept to the country, Oman's leading English and Arabic newspapers, Times of Oman and Al Shabiba, are all set to launch the world's first newspapers on WhatsApp .

Going by the name WhatsNews (in English) and WhatsOulom (in Arabic), the newspapers on WhatsApp will have three editions per day — 12 noon, 5pm and 10pm.

Talking about the new concept, an official for the publications said, "The newspapers on WhatsApp  is being rolled out as an initiative that aims to stop rumour mongering. The news that we publish in our three editions will be based on confirmation from official sources. Our objective is to stop the spreading of  rumours that have negative ramifications in the society. We believe that authentic and verified news shared online will contribute positively to the society."

He also added, "We hope to provide people in Oman with a richer offering of authentic news through the medium of WhatsApp, which is very popular in the country. Our readers will get the latest news updates and share them through WhatsApp."

As per the National Centre for Statistics and Information, there are 5,571,375 mobile subscribers out of which there are 2,119,984 active mobile broadband subscribers.

"It is a possibility that the majority of the mobile broadband subscribers use WhatsApp services so we believe this is the right medium to distribute our unique concept newspaper," the official added.

While the major focus of the newspapers on WhatsApp will be local news, breaking international news will also be part of the feed. The newspapers on WhatsApp concept also encourages people to participate in the distribution of authentic news.

 How to get WhatsNews and broadcast through WhatsApp
The WhatsNews and WhatsOulom newspaper images will be posted on Times of Oman and Al Shabiba's Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as the microsite. It will also be posted in WhatsNews and WhatsOulum's Facebook and Twitter accounts. "The user has to first save the WhatsNews and  WhatsOulom newspaper images to their photo folder in their Apple or Android device. To broadcast it they will have to open their WhatsApp account, upload and send the newspaper image to a friend or a group they are part of. Their friends can forward it to their own contacts," explained the technical manager of the project.

"Along with the news update, WhatsNews and WhatsOulum newspaper will also provide advertisement modules for those interested in advertising in the new concept. The advertisements will certainly get a good mindshare since a single image consists of only eight modules and by multiple insertions, the impact will be bigger and better. We also have designed some special innovations which get blended with the news. Through long-term contracts we will ensure that the cost of advertising is kept optimal and the clients get maximum ROI," the advertising manager of the project explained.

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