Aaj Tak crossing 20mn YT subscribers validates our future-forward strategies: Kalli Purie

The Vice Chairperson of India Today Group says the biggest challenge in the news industry today is credibility tied in with the pace of internet

by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Published - Aug 20, 2019 8:26 AM Updated: Aug 20, 2019 2:52 PM

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KalliPurie

At a time when all content players are trying the number crunching game, Aaj Tak has cracked the code to achieve maximum digital reach. Turns out that they are the first news channel to touch the 20 million subscriber mark on YouTube. Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group, talks to exchange4media on the network’s focus on digital medium and Aaj Tak’s journey to reaching 20 million YouTube subscribers.

Excerpts

Aaj Tak has crossed 20 million subscriber base on YouTube. It is a huge number for a new medium, how did you achieve this number?

The 20 million mark on YouTube is the result of a long-term continued effort, and a validation of our future-forward strategies for Aaj Tak.

Besides the impressive performance on YouTube, Aaj Tak is also the absolute leader on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Not just that, the leadership of India’s biggest news brand pervades across its avatars on desktop, mWeb and app as the clear No.1. It just goes to show that no matter what device or platform, when it comes to news, people trust Aaj Tak.

What makes the journey exciting is the meteoric rise in the latest phase. It took Aaj Tak just 11 months after crossing the 10 million mark to whiz past double the count of 20 million.

 

Tell us about your digital focus. What are the kind of news integrations happening on the digital front? Are your internet videos taken from your TV clips or there is organic production for your video subscribers?

Between the web extensions of all our key brands and 20 mobile-first video channels, we dominate the credible news space. We’re the preferred destination across the spectrum-- national news, international news, regional news, sports, entertainment, astrology, technology, recipes, crime news, fitness and business news.

All this isn’t possible without originality. We have state-of-the-art exclusive digital studios where our anchors engage in frequent live chats with the audience. We now have multiple micro studios that outnumber our TV broadcast studios, powering the digital content turbine. It’s probably the most high-voltage spot in the country for live news, opinion and video content.

 

Millennials are binging on apps on their smartphones, what are you doing to grab their attention?

Aaj Tak is an omni-platform brand. Our strategy is to engage the millennials everywhere. From smartphones to smart TVs, we are ready.

For the millennials, the brand has an expansive community on social media as that is their current medium of choice. But the challenge and the fun of this generation is that it keeps you on your toes. They are always moving between devices and platforms. And if we are going to be a millennial brand, we have to follow them nimbly and seamlessly.

I believe being No.1 is not enough. One has to constantly churn out new products and new formats. A year ago, we conceived the ‘Tak ecosystem’ as news for the young and restless. Today, we are a 20-product strong family of Taks – redefining news, prime time, loyalties, engagement, video consumption and format breakthroughs.

 Future of internet is undoubtedly through video on demand, what are you doing on that front?

We are India’s No.1 news video publisher. Not just legacy brands, our mobile-first video products are also engines of this growth. Six Tak channels are already among the top 20 new age news YouTube channels.

At a time when there is clutter on the internet with news coming in from every small and big player in the industry, how are you able to differentiate yourselves from the others?

The biggest challenge in the news industry today is credibility tied in with the pace of internet. And we deliver both. ‘Sabse tez’ is ‘sabse trusted’ too. We are one of the first big media houses to be the recipient of the IFCN certification. We have a fact checking department trained by international experts, and is exclusively dedicated towards preventing misinformation and false news that otherwise may infiltrate social media space.

We also have a stringent process of ‘ready for air’, where we follow a multiple source verification process.  It also is a huge advantage to have such an expansive ground connect with hundreds of reporters across the country. This allows us to authenticate at source and offer news and content straight from where it happens, as it happens. 

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