04 June 2023 11:48


Manorama Online@25: A Celebration of Digital Diversity

It has been a quarter of a century since Manorama Online ingrained itself as the beacon of Keralites across the globe. On the Silver Jubilee of Manorama Online’s gracious presence in the illuminated psyche of the Malayali populace, Kerala’s premier portal is seeking out fresh digital pastures.

After the era of reading the news, and later watching it, Manorama Online, which was launched by tapping the endless possibilities of the Internet, has been taking each step forward by safeguarding the credibility and lofty standards of the ‘Malayala Manorama’ brand.

Along with this, Manorama Online acquired a new identity beyond that of being the online version of the largest circulated vernacular newspaper in India. It was Prince Philip of Britain who lit the lamp in Kochi on October 17, 1997, to signal the start of Manorama Online. The English version began its operations in 1998. On June 20, 2002, K.M. Mathew, the then Chief Editor of Malayala Manorama, dedicated the redesigned Manorama Online to its readers, which factored in space for entertainment, in addition to news. Manorama Online grew into a multi-media platform by synergising the astounding progress in the field of technology. From its initial presence on computers, it extended its reach to mobile phones, tablets, and smartphones. It unveiled a mobile application and took to the readers the idea of “news and entertainment at one’s fingertips”.

Smart before smart phones

It was Manorama Online that utilized the possibilities of the mobile phone to reach readers even before the era of smartphones. Facilities to listen to interviews with prominent persons, cricket scores, astrology, cinema reviews, and to download ring tones were offered through services such as the Interactive Voice Recorder (IVR). Making Manorama Online available on Nokia phones by joining hands with the company, which was the world’s biggest manufacturer of mobile phones then, was a sweeping innovation.

Manorama Online, the first Malayalam news portal to offer podcasting, also launched 'My Manorama' for readers to share news and photographs, and “Manorama Mail” for sending e-mails and chatting online.

Animated videos and games were rolled out for children.The “Learn Malayalam” programme, introduced to help expatriate Keralite children who did not know Malayalam, received wide acceptance. “Manorama Online E-mart” for online shopping and a travel map with details about the key tourist centres and cities of Kerala were the next steps.

The establishment of kiosks in airports for accessing the Malayala Manorama's extensive range of offerings drew wide attention.

Beyond news

Today, Manorama Online has traversed beyond the realms of a news website. It is a celebration of diverse subjects — cinema, music, environment, fasttrack, technology, travel, health, education, astrology, cuisine, housing, children, campus, lifestyle, literature, Karshakasree and investment. The latest trends on each of these topics are offered on a platter. The English version of Manorama Online, which was rebranded as Onmanorama in 2016, has readers across the world.The “Chuttuvattom” page delves into the hyper-local aspects including news from even remote areas of all districts, obituaries and marriages. The ‘Global Malayali’ caters to the expatriate Malayali community, offering all-encompassing news and views about Malayalis living all over the globe including the Gulf, U.S. and Europe. It also serves as a valuable forum for expats to share the news.Manorama Online blazed a new trail in the field of digital media by presenting election results live.Harnessing the potential of infographics also came into play after that.

Manorama Online’s mass appeal widened as video interviews, podcasts and columns by eminent personalities including writers, movie stars and cultural leaders, became a regular affair. The “Reporters’ Corner”, which allowed readers to share news and photographs, became widely accepted. In-depth articles spanning an extensive array of topics make its Premium section the primary hangout of the serious Malayali reader.

The Malayala Manorama daily’s e-paper is for those who insist on reading the news in the form of a newspaper, anywhere in the world. It evokes the feeling of reading the daily newspaper sitting on the verandah back home.

Matrimonial site M4Marry.com, education-career site Manorama Horizon, health services site QKDoc.com and Helloaddress for real estate services are part of the bouquet of Manorama Online’s niche offerings.

Kerala's premier listing platform Quickerala.com is an exhaustive reservoir of businesses and services in the state.

Society’s conscience

As part of its social responsibility, Manorama Online hosts programmes such as the digital summit “Techspectations”, which has reached its fifth edition; “Chuttuvattom award” for honouring outstanding residents’ associations; “Zero Waste” for creating awareness on the garbage disposal; “Swapna Keralam” that collates readers’ aspirations about the future of Kerala; and “Golden Salute” for recognising exemplary services to the society during the pandemic.

The “Campus Short Film Fest” series aimed at spotting young talents, “Cinemayude 100 Varsham” to mark the centenary of Malayalam cinema, the show “Jaya Ragangal” in honour of music composer M. Jayachandran, medical camps, essay writing contests, and Big Business Idea competitions for students also adorn Manorama Online’s extensive outreach programme.

Golden seal of recognition

In the past 25 years, Manorama Online has been awarded several national and international prizes in recognition of its excellence. In 2016, it won the best media website award instituted by the world association of news publishers, WAN-IFRA, by outperforming the websites in even the major languages of the world.

It has won over 30 international awards, including the International News Media Association’s Global Gold Shield in 2020 and 2021, the WAN-IFRA gold shield for South Asian Digital Media in 2019, 2020 and 2021, and the WAN-IFRA bronze shield for outstanding news website/mobile service in 2022. It has won awards for excellence several times for its reportage on the Thiruvananthapuram International Film Festival and State school art festivals.

A silver lining

Manorama Online has traversed the past 25 years without ever blemishing the shining glow of “Dharmosmat Kuladaivatam” or ‘Charity, Our Household Divinity’, which is the motto of the Malayala Manorama Group.

As it strides ahead marking a silver lining in Kerala’s media history, Manorama Online seeks to build on its golden dreams – Kerala’s crowning glory in all spheres and the immaculate primacy of the Malayalam language to its countless readers.

Read 962 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 February 2023 06:21
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