2016: That is when Darsait-Wadi Kabir flyover project will be ready

A report says:

The Darsait-Wadi Kabir flyover project is expected to be opened to traffic by the beginning of 2016, an official of Muscat Municipality told the Times of Oman.

“It’s going to reduce the traffic congestion in this vital stretch following building of three flyovers including the Wadi Kabir flyover, Sheraton flyover and the Star cinema flyover as well as interchanges,” said the official.

The official added that Muscat Municipality has a strategic plan to solve the traffic congestion problem in the Ruwi area because of its importance and the volume of the daily traffic movement, starting from Qurum Heights to Wadi Kabir.

Being a daily user of the stretch, I should say L&T Oman is making sure that motorists are not inconvenienced. The extra lane addition work from Qurum Heights till Lulu Darsait was carried out rather meticulously.

Will the new flyovers solve the traffic mess in Ruwi? Only time will tell.

The lost art of press release writing

The art of writing good press releases is getting lost in Oman. The main reason being the publishing market is advertisement-driven and any content is printed ‘as is’, depending on the ties with the advertiser. It is not surprising to see copy-paste content camouflaged as press releases occupying ¾ space of a page in a daily newspaper. The brand advertises on a regular basis and has half-page ads on most days. Any rubbish they dish out goes into the print without any edits.

The only people who read those press releases are the agency handling that brand, top management of the brand whose names have been mentioned in the write-up, and competitors of the brand. The general public (readers) are not interested in reading press releases running up to 800 words. So much so that a well written and an interesting press release (news peg) from an entry-level brand goes almost unnoticed because it has been tucked some where down the page. From experience, I can vouch that to write a 500-word press release it takes a lot of time, and moreover it is a herculean task to source inputs from different departments within a company. If there are quotes involved in the press release then it will run into days with most top management guys being very finicky about what goes into the quote under their name.

The ad executives are also spoiling the way professional press releases are being written by encouraging advertisers to send ‘content’ which could be published as a complimentary offer for the quarter page advertisement. Thanks to Google, in most companies the secretaries of CEOs and MDs are the content generators and whatever they source from Internet goes into the print the next day. Brands are happy, they assume their staff can write well and they think professional writers are just hype. So, next time a PR agency approaches a brand the senior management guy might as well say, “We have people in our company to write press releases.” Be rest assured that a secretary or a finance executive could be writing their press releases. I am not saying they can’t write, but they will not be able to write the way professionals write.

But then who cares in a market like Oman?

OTT apps ‘hurt’ telecom majors in Oman

 photo Viber-banned-in-Pakistan_zps83c07b82.jpg
(Phot source: Techknowlogists.com)

I came across an interesting article today on the impact of Over The Top (OTT) free calling, chatting and messaging apps in Oman.

- Calls being made via Oman’s major telecom companies have gone down by 25 to 30 per cent.

- Oman’s smartphone penetration is 93 per cent while 53 per cent of the population has access to Internet through smartphones.

- Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) has banned Viber (can’t make calls from and to Oman) and Skype has been in the banned list for long.

- Subscribers for bundle data are on the rise.

What will happen to WhatsApp’s free voice calling facility when it is launched in the middle of 2014 is anybody’s guess.