With only a few days left until the month of Ramadan begins and Muslims from across the globe begin their sunrise to sunset fast, Yahoo! Malaysia hopes that a new online Ramadan experience can deliver to Muslims in the country a unique take on the Islamic holy month.
On Tuesday, Yahoo Malaysia launched Ramadan Mubarak, a website aimed at delivering “all relevant information Malaysian Muslims will need during the holy month.”
Its sales director, Jon-Tjin Kee said the website would provide spiritual and social messages.
Kee said 70 percent of Malaysia’s Internet population used Yahoo! Malaysia every month with some 8.2 million users coming to the site.
Yahoo! Malaysia’s country editor Marc Lourdes said the content was developed in a “holistic way, balancing the Muslim community’s interest in conforming to Islamic values and responding to the users’ lifestyle content.”
Some Malaysian Muslims, however, told Bikyamasr.com that they are skeptical over the content, saying it is an “advertising gimmick” to earn money during the holy month.
“It is not the most spiritual of things, I do think, because Ramadan should not be about earning money and getting so many users to the sites, but I do think it might be useful and good for us,” said Mahammad Aziz, a Kuala Lumpur-based web designer, who said at first glance, the site should be able to “deliver what it is for and this is not necessarily a negative.”
Meanwhile a U.S. media giant is entering the crowded Ramadan market with hopes that viewers would change their TV habits.
YouTube, which is owned by Google, announced on Thursday that it will launch an online channel dedicated to Ramadan shows, media reports said. For the first time, viewers from around the world will be able to watch more than 50 premium Ramadan shows the same day they air on TV through a new dedicated channel on the website: youtube.com/ramadan.
“This innovative project is the first of its kind and showcases the momentum YouTube has generated as a destination for premium content for our users,” said Ari Kesisoglu, Managing Director of Google in the Middle East and North Africa, according to AMEinfo.com.
On average, Internet users in the Middle East and North Africa watch 167 million YouTube videos a day, which makes it the second highest region globally in terms of views.
According to an Abu Dhabi-based newspaper, The National, advertising executives in the region are predicting a slight increase in spending on TV ads this year. “It’s looking quite healthy and quite strong,” Elie Khouri, the chief executive of Omnicom Media Group in the Middle East and North Africa, told the paper.
Khouri told the newspaper that TV advertising in the Gulf and Egypt is up by 15 per cent for the first half of the year.