Middle East Digital Media Awards winners honoured

Monday night was a big one for Saudi Research & Publishing Co., which took home a whopping 10 of WAN-IFRA’s Middle East Digital Media Awards for 2017.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | March 13, 2017

Of the 10 awards, four were for 1st place, including in the Best in Lifestyle, Sports or Entertainment category, where the company made a clean sweep, winning all three places.

Three other publishing houses each came away with five awards: UAE-based Al Bayan, which publishes the Al Bayan newspaper; Galadari Printing and Publishing Company also based in UAE and publisers of the Khaleej Times; and Muscat Media Group, Oman, which publishes Times of Oman.

The winners were honoured Monday night (13 March) during a dinner ceremony as part of WAN-IFRA’s 12th Middle East Conference, which is taking place this week in Dubai.

WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Awards are the most prestigious recognition of best practice innovation in digital publishing worldwide. Now in their second year in the Middle East, the awards are presented in several regions around the world during the year.

All regional winners are subsequently entered into competition for our annual World Digital Media Awards, which are presented each autumn during WAN-IFRA’s Expo, which this year takes place from 10-12 October in Berlin. See more at:

In total, more than 300 industry delegates are attending the two-day Middle East Conference, co-organised this year by Dubai Production City (, and taking place at the InterContinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City.

The awards were presented during a dinner ceremony at the Mawal-Al Murooj Rotana in Dubai, hosted by OKAZ.

Winners chosen from nine categories

The award for Best News Website went to Galadari Printing & Publishing, publishers of the Khaleej Times, which our panel of judges described as “visually appealing, easy navigation, integrates social media and the articles are well written. Great user experience.”

The winner of Best in Lifestyle, Sports or Entertainment Website was Saudi Research & Publishing Co. for their Hia Magazine. Said our judges: “This site demonstrates great synergy of design, content and technology. Due to ‘trendy’ content, elegant design and ease of navigation, the user seems well engaged and entertained. Great example of what the fashion and lifestyle magazine and website should look like and function. Very lifestyle focused. Nice visually. Great results with revenue and page views.”

Best Use of Online Video (Al Bayan for Al Bayan TV) offered “Great unique local content done and executed well, in two languages,” said judges.

Best Data Visualization to Muscat Media Group, Oman, for Times of Oman’s Frankincense project: “Wow!” said our judges. “This microsite had set high standard when it comes to visual impact, clean design and ability to navigate and engage the user from beginning until the end. Great work! Really liked the way interactivity was incorporated into this design. The reader has an opportunity to engage with the subject.”

Times of Oman also won in this category in 2016’s Middle East Digital Media Awards, then went on to be among the winners of the World Digital Media Awards, and was featured in our recent report about the winning projects. See more at:

The categories and the winners are as follows:

Middle East Digital Media Awards 2017

Best News Website

1st: Galadari Printing & Publishing (LLC), UAE

Project: Khaleej Times Website

The website,, was launched in 1996. It has 3.9 million unique visitors a month. Khaleej Times is the market leader in news websites, and it intends to consolidate this position further in 2017.

2nd: Muscat Media Group, Oman

Project: has become the biggest English language news provider in Oman by a huge margin, capturing more than 90 percent market share. The adaptive site across desktop, tablet and mobile went from strength to strength, with traffic growing to 56,464,732 pageviews in 2016.

3rd: Dar Al-Sharq Newspaper, Qatar

Project: The Peninsula Qatar News Portal

The website covers the entire spectrum of news from local reports, sports, lifestyle, technology, entertainment and economy. The Peninsula offers a great platform for the advertisers as it attracts regular and captive readers who are well-read and in decision making positions.

Best in Lifestyle, Sports or Entertainment Website

1st: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE


The website was started with the mission to be the leading source of high-quality Arabic luxury lifestyle content in the region. The objective was to establish a unique website both in terms of design and content which will have interactive features to encourage community engagement.

2nd: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE


The site at is the result of in-depth research on the Arab market carried out by a team of researchers. The aim is to keep men abreast of the latest developments in the world online and in social media for all aspects in their lives.

3rd: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE


Sayidaty Magazine is a well-known and the most popular weekly print magazine and it is the highest distributed in Saudi Arabia and Middle East. had a mission to keep on growing worldwide to become not only the largest distributed print magazine, but the highest in reach online (website and social media).

Best Use of Online Video

1st: Al Bayan, UAE

Project: Al Bayan TV

The Video Portal of Al Bayan Online – The Innovative Interaction Department within Al Bayan Digital is specialized to produce videos for Al Bayan TV, which is the video channel related to the site.

2nd: Muscat Media Group, Oman

Project: Times TV

Elevates video production from additional content on the website to a dedicated channel and brand across the site, social media (including live broadcasting on Facebook Live) and YouTube to build its audience and revenue-generating potential.

3rd: Al Bayan, UAE

Project: The House of Sheikhs

The Video of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum house goes back in history to the period of building the house, and uses infographic elements; maps and structural layouts, to represent building techniques people depended on to take advantage of the wind, and make the best of the location.

Best Data Visualization

1st: Muscat Media Group, Oman


An immersive microsite dedicated to a vital part of Oman’s rich history with art, graphics, video, audio, photography and meticulously researched copy. This prestigious project was again sponsored for a significant sum (close to six figures in dollars) adding to the company’s bottom.

2nd: Al Bayan, UAE

Project: The House of Sheikhs

For details please see Best Use of Online Video, above.

3rd: Al Bayan, UAE

Project: H.H Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed initiatives .. Creations made for the future

On 1 February 2008, he was named as the hereditary prince of Dubai. In His 8th’s anniversary of holding the hereditary, an infographics in two pages was created, published on the same day of the anniversary highlighting the most effective initiatives that touched the society and had affected it positively.

Best News Mobile Service

1st: Dar Al-Sharq Newspaper, Qatar

Project: Al Sharq Newspaper Mobile Application (Augmented Reality)

The idea was to implement Augmented Reality (AR) feature for Al Sharq newspaper, so readers can view moving content such as a video or an animation on a page of their newspaper. Also it can be used for advertisers so they can add printed ads in the newspaper and with this feature the reader can interact with it and see more information about the ad.

2nd: Galadari Printing & Publishing (LLC), UAE

Project: Khaleej Times Mobile news

The objective was to deliver news and utilities on all type of mobile devices. Khaleej Times app is available on most of the mobile devices, including Android, iPhone, iPad, etc.

3rd: Muscat Media Group, Oman

Project: mobile

To reach people on their mobiles with the most relevant platform to them, in particular leveraging their Facebook audience – the third largest following of any page in Oman, and the largest audience inside Oman for any Facebook page (source: socialbakers).

Best Lifestyle, Sports or Entertainment Mobile Service

1st: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE

Project: fashion and beauty website website has become one of the top fashion and women websites worldwide to rank upon the top 3 in one year. focuses on general fashion and beauty topics of interest to younger women, including social, beauty, fashion and health issues.

2nd: Galadari Printing & Publishing (LLC), UAE

Project: Khaleej Times interactive Sports

Khaleej Times sport section makes the best use of real-time storytelling in the form of scorecards. The section offers a rich mix of sports features and match reports, along with analytical pieces.

3rd: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE

Project: Sayidaty new Mobile Applications – For lifestyle news and entertainment

Sayidaty Digital worked on a new mobile application that can enable users to get the best of Sayidaty content and stay up to date based on their interests.

Best Innovation New Product

1st: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE

Project: Hia Boutique

An affiliate-based e-commerce project. It is a micro-site included under the website. The idea of this project consists on exploiting their lifestyle experience and specialist’s skills to provide users with select luxury items curated with view of the current trends in the region.

2nd: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE

Project: Sayidaty Mall

Started as a directory of shopping of brands, shops, malls, products and offers and discounts in Saudi Arabia and UAE. This content has proved missing in the GCC and has remained to grow in traffic from direct and organic reach. Sayidaty Mall has built its own social media channels and built a new brand in both Arabic and English that is specialized in shopping (offline and online).

3rd: Al Bayan, UAE

Project: “refkat kotob” (with the company of books)

Interactive microsite. Uniqueness led Al Bayan to win the Best Newspaper Award for covering the “Year of Reading” Initiative. The website Programming Department developed a new technique enabling browsers to download from their smartphones the covers of books currently read by them directly to the site along with their rating and review.

Best in Social Media Engagement

1st: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE

Project: on Snapchat

Sayidaty Magazine launched its Snapchat account 1 November 2016. Sayidaty’s successful experience in social media, and its 20 offices worldwide providing the best variant content in the region, gave Sayidaty’s social media team the idea to utilize the trends of Snapchat by creating an optimized promoting strategy integrated with the content provided by the Sayidaty’s magazines, websites and users.

2nd: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE

Project: “Feed them right” – Sayidaty Kitchen Social Awareness campaign

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health in KSA, Sayidaty Magazine, Sayidaty Kitchen website and the group of Sayidaty Magazine websites launched the awareness campaign “Feed them right.” The campaign targets primary school kids from 6 to 14 years old, and it’s directed to the parents, community, and kids’ education institutions.

3rd: Muscat Media Group, Oman

Project: social media

The aim was to leverage their strong Facebook following and expand their services, with the introduction of directly-uploaded video content rather than links, Facebook Live broadcast to increase engagement, and Facebook Instant Articles for their mobile users.

Best Digital Advertising Campaign

1st: Galadari Printing & Publishing (LLC), UAE

Project: Khaleej Times Digital Campaign Glow Garden

Dubai Glow Garden and Dinosaurs Park are popular destinations for residents and tourists in Dubai. They approached Khaleej Times to promote awareness about the parks using digital platforms. To create larger impact, the Times offered them innovative digital advertising, with videos, competition and Facebook Live.

2nd: Saudi Research & Publishing Co., UAE

Project: Muse-Estee Lauder and Sayidaty women empowerment campaign

The concept was to promote luxurious daily products by conceptualizing personalized digital experience. This was done by launching a complete microsite under Sayidaty domain with special social media, video and competition.

3rd: Galadari Printing & Publishing (LLC), UAE

Project: Khaleej Times Digital Campaign for Aseel

The campaign objective was to increase sales of their products, particularly during month of Ramadan, when the demand for similar products is very high. The Times staff suggested a comprehensive 360 digital plan, which will increase their overall sales. The results were outstanding. There was overall 20 percent growth in sales.


Full details of the conference are available at

The event can be followed on Twitter with the hashtag #MEC17.

Share via
Copy link