ZIMBABWE's largest integrated and only listed news media group, Zimpapers (1980) Limited, is taking advantage of this year's Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) to showcase its innovative transformation to entice the market to embrace its new product -- the "Zimpapers News Application", which falls under the group's digital portfolio.
The exciting news app is already available on Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store and has been developed out of Zimpapers' quest for continued innovation and growth.
In line with global standards and the growing digitisation of media businesses, the app enables audiences to access all Zimpapers media products, generated by its 10 newspaper publications, four radio stations and a television station, ZTN.
The publications include flagship dailies --The Herald and The Chronicle and weeklies -- The Sunday Mail, Business Weekly and The Sunday News, tabloids B-Metro and H-Metro, vernacular papers -- Umthunywa and Kwayedza. The group also publishes the Suburban and runs Star FM, Diamond FM, Nyaminyami FM and Capitalk.
Zimpapers chief executive officer, Mr Pikirayi Deketeke, has described the latest technological advancement as the new normal in this increasingly digital era, which has been even more pronounced since the advent of Covid-19.
"The emergence of Covid-19 fast-tracked the consumption of digital services. Readers are migrating from print to digital while computers and mobile handsets have flooded the market with network coverage being widened," he said.
"These developments have brought forth opportunities and challenges for content producers like ourselves, with exciting new changes to the production, dissemination and consumption of news."
As such, Mr Deketeke said the new app would provide an all-in-one news service with all of the group's newspapers, radio stations and TV network being available at the click of a button where they will provide a seamless and interactive platform on which to enjoy news and entertainment.
"Regular content updates will be available on the app as we will now expect our journalists to push content from wherever they will be in the world," he added.
"You don't have to be in the newsrooms anymore to push content as the backend of the app can also be accessed on your mobile phones."
Zimpapers has always been cognisant of the importance of partnerships with like-minded, forward-thinking technical partners, which has led to the successful rollout of products like the Mobile News Services and WhatsApp," said Mr Deketeke.
"For this particular app, the company teamed up with PD House Inc, a United States based company owned by young vibrant Zimbabweans who have ensured that the interoperability of the new app is second to none."
Commenting on the development, Zimpapers public relations manager, Mrs Pauline Matanda, urged audiences to embrace the new digital products through subscriptions. She explained that as the company shifts to digital, it was also maintaining its hard copy presence.
Mrs Matanda also said those who will subscribe to the app during the ZITF period would enjoy a discount.
Meanwhile, Typocrafters, a unit of Zimbabwe Newspapers' commercial printing division, which re-opened its factory in 2018 after having stopped operations in 2010, is back to viability.
The factory is situated along Falcon Road in Bulawayo, and the decision to have the factory in the "City of Kings" demonstrates Zimpapers efforts to support the Government in its on-going drive to resuscitate the Bulawayo industries.
"The company's vision is to be Zimbabwe's largest manufacturer and distributor of exercise books locally and beyond the country's borders," said Mrs Matanda.
"Recently, Typocrafters commissioned a brand new fully automated machine with a capacity in excess three million exercise books per month, and capable of producing both newsprint and bond exercise books of various pagination that can be customised to preferences of the market."
Apart from being able to supply the standard "Pass" exercise book brand, Mrs Matanda said there is also an option to personalise book covers with customer specific artwork and content.
"Typocrafters is working tirelessly to create strategic relationships with all learning institutions in Zimbabwe," she said.
"It is hoped that this should see the company being able to offer continuously improved products that meet market expectations."
A corporate social responsibility programme that addresses improved employees' welfare, ethical corporate behaviour and organised donations providing schools with essential supplies and sponsorships, has been put in place, she added.
Typocrafters product lines will be certified under the Natprint ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System, as the Zimpapers Commercial Printing Division believes that "continuous improvement of products and services is never an ending journey".