Focus is on bringing innovation across editorial products: Puneet Singhvi, Network 18

One of our top priorities is to make sure that revenue growth keeps up pace with rest of the growth happening in the brand, says Singhvi, President, Digital & Corporate Strategy, Network 18

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jun 6, 2019 8:31 AM
Puneet

Strong editorial strategy, innovations and the focus on building a robust and digital platform have been the key to success for Network 18, says Puneet Singhvi, the newly-appointed President of Digital & Corporate Strategy, Network 18. 

In a chat with exchange4media, Singhvi talks about achieving encouraging numbers for the digital space and the plans for the days ahead.

Excerpts:

Network18’s traffic has gone up quite a bit. What is the reason behind it?
Network18 reached 154.19 million users in April 2019 growing by a whopping 33 per cent from March 2019. Its market share has also increased from 44 per cent to 59 per cent. And News18.com (English) has crossed 100 million users for the month of May 2019, coming in the top league of Indian news websites that have scored a century in Unique Views (UVs) across all platforms, according to latest Google Analytics (GA) data. The website, which is a little over three years old, achieved this landmark on the back of its exclusive content, in-depth analysis and minute-to-minute coverage of key events from across the globe. The site has more than tripled its traffic from its May 2017 tally of 30.5 Million UVs to hit 100 million in just two years. The previous best for News18.com (English) was 73.18 million, clocked in May 2018 (Source: Google Analytics). At the end of the day, it is about the content people read, and we have made our content game strong by not just putting out a story but also approaching it analytically.

Tell us a little about your content strategy.
We put together a fairly good editorial strategy, not only for the basic planning of stories, but also for the way we approach each and every event, product launch or any new development. Innovations like immersive and deep analysis are examples of how we’ve approached our content in a new way.

Let’s take the example of the Lok Sabha election results day, May 23. News18.com lived up to its speed and accuracy with latest live results powered by thousands of journalists covering each and every counting booth. On that day, Network18 news websites cumulatively notched up a record 56.2 million unique users.

We have also significantly upped our investment in the product platform to give it the extra edge. One of the areas we focus on is building a platform that is a lot more robust and lot more flexible in being able to allow us to do things.

What is your user base like? Define competition. How do you plan to compete with industry players that have already been around for long?
Besides English, News18.com is also available in 11 other languages, making it the only website with such a spread of languages. The consolidated figure of unique users for the entire News18 English and Languages cluster for May 2019 is at a record-breaking 179 million.
Given the fact that the other players have been around for a long time and we are just new entrants, we have got solid numbers to back us. Our focus is on approaching content differently and we have gone beyond the traditional distribution of digital news. Our news is not restricted to Google and Facebook but also other platforms like Daily Hunt and Voot. 
 
There have been several debates about Print vs Digital and how digital is more vulnerable to fake news. What do you have to say about that? What does the network do to stay away from fake news?
News18 English is the digital destination of our broadcast channel CNN-News18. The advantage of being able to draw from a mature medium like television and the ability to share resources in the group is big. We have reporters working across medium and editors sitting at each and every level. We use the huge human resources we have to get news verified and make checks before it is put out on any of our mediums be it Print, TV or Digital.
 
Tell us about the top-three priorities on your ‘to do’ list for Network 18 digital.
We would constantly be working at achieving and sustaining scale, be focused on bringing innovation across our editorial products because innovation is the key to growth, and lastly we would want to make sure that revenue growth keeps up pace with rest of the growth happening in the brand. 

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