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omy! SPH unveils first bilingual multimedia site - Sep 21, 2007 (ST)

BackSep 21, 2007

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

omy! SPH unveils first bilingual multimedia site

New web portal will feature content in both Chinese and English - all free.

By Chua Hian Hou
Sep 21, 2007
The Straits Times

A NEW website called omy, Singapore's first bilingual multimedia web portal, is nearly here, offering the latest in news and entertainment.

COMING SOON: Radio 100.3 deejays introducing omy, SPH's new bilingual portal, at a trade launch yesterday. The site, will be accessible to the public from next Tuesday. Photo/ MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

The site, was unveiled at a Clarke Quay trade launch yesterday to potential advertisers and other partners, and will be accessible to the public from next Tuesday.

The portal, set up by The Straits Times' publisher Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), will offer visitors 12 channels of multimedia programming.

SPH's executive vice-president (newspaper services and Chinese newspapers) Robin Hu said Singapore has always lacked a fun, interactive portal for the Chinese-speaking community and the new portal would fill this gap.

The site - targeted at the 18 to 35 crowd - is mainly in Mandarin, but also has English-language content. For instance, some bloggers may be writing in English, while comments can also be posted in English.

Some of the channels include 'News', for breaking news from SPH's four Chinese-language dailies - and omy-only exclusives caught on camera by its in-house team of reporters.

Meanwhile, the 'Blog' section will feature a number of 'expert bloggers', such as adviser-to-the-stars David Gan, who will be dishing out fashion advice via a video-cast regularly on the section.

Other sections expected to be popular with Singaporeans, said omy editor Chua Chim Kang, is 'Playground', where users can play 100 free multimedia games.

Another sure-fire hit, said Mr Chua, is 'Eat!', with its searchable database of over 600 food reviews from Lianhe Zaobao, Shin Min Daily News, Lianhe Wanbao, My Paper, and magazine UW (the former You Weekly).

Eventually, foodies will be able to contribute their own food reviews.

Budding citizen journalists will be able to contribute much more than food reviews.

They can participate in discussions at omy's web forums, send interesting pictures and videos to the 'Showtime' gallery, and create points of interest on a digital map of Singapore in omy's 'Lobang' (Hokkien for a good deal) section.

All the content will be free, said Mr Chua, who expects the site to draw three million page views from 100,000 visitors within its first month.

The site will generate revenue from advertisements.

Special features have been added to make sure the site is accessible to those less fluent in Mandarin, he added.

For instance, all of omy's navigation keys are bilingual, and omy's articles all have a 'text to speech' function that will read out the story on request.

This, said bank executive Jacqueline Ho, one of the guests at the trade event last night, was the feature she liked the most.

'I can read the news and at the same time, improve my Chinese.'