Yahoo!’s online content strategy has made it dominate the landscape globally for more than five years now, according to the company officials, and now the brand is bullish on new online properties around lifestyle, entertainment and finance. In conversation with exchange4media, Prem Panicker, Managing Editor, Yahoo! India, explained how the brand was making sure its editors were being given a platform to think beyond the desk and the various plans that the online giant was looking at from the content angle.
The brand is all set for a revamp along with few new additions to its portal. Panicker informed, “We have a new news property coming up, we have new finance property coming up, we have lifestyle property coming up and we have properties in the entertainment space coming up. Each of these would become very strong segments. We are basically creating a bed rock. We will be revamping Cricket too very soon. Once we are done with all of that, by the first quarter of next year, we will have all these in place. And then what we will do is, we will fine tune it and use the FrontPage to both showcase the product and also use it as an entry point.”
On the languages front as well, Yahoo! is expanding. Panicker divulged, “We currently have Dainik Jagran, and we are so excited by what is happening with this that within the next few months you will find that vernacular is going to play a huge role in the digital space.”
On the existing ‘ad sales vs content’ debate in an online portal’s decision system, Panicker commented, “Yahoo!, from the time I have been a part of it, we believed that all the partners mesh and interoperability building that we as an organisation kind of function at optimum, if everybody knows what everybody else is doing, we don’t necessarily take a decision from a content perspective or sales perspective. We make a decision from the Yahoo! perspective.”
He also believed that the focus for a portal should be on its own plan rather peeping into other’s business. “We take a property; there is a direction that we go on. Like I know what I want Yahoo! to be in the content space, I know what I want Yahoo! to be two years from now, and everything that I am doing is basically planned and conceptualised. I don’t compulsively keep checking sites. Keep your focus on what you are doing; don’t worry about what your competition is doing. The more you focus on your roadmap the better job you do,” Panicker remarked.
As per the industry trend, the editors and sub-editors are designated to the desks. When asked how Yahoo! Gave a chance to the unsung heroes to showcase their talent in a better form, he answered, “You look at any content house, you don’t know who is working there, so now go to Yahoo! you have 15 people working there, you have all of their bylines and it’s all transparent in that blog which we launched in June. A blog can be seen as a niche thing, but it can be seen as an attempt to give voice to the newsroom. We have an idea regarding where we are going to take blogs what kind of news will go through that blog, right now we are under training around that idea. We had an opportunity for the people who have never had a public profile or a chance to acquire that profile.”
Social media is not just a rage but is evidently being rated most important by almost every online portal. But Yahoo! thinks differently. “We don’t need to integrate social media with ours news. See the thing is, you have a Facebook account and that shows integration, we have integrated that in a blog but we don’t necessarily have to integrate that in a ‘thing’,” he said.
“We will probably at some point, but what we do is – we engage people in conversation, these people who are following us and increasingly we are getting followers added on to at the rate of about 20 new followers every day. That’s been a recent noticeable trend,” he concluded.