By June 2019, we will give the duopoly a run for their money: Virendra Gupta, Dailyhunt

CEO and Founder, Virendra Gupta talks about competition, local language content, using AI and ML and taking on Google and Facebook

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Published: Nov 20, 2018 8:55 AM  | 9 min read
Virendra Gupta

Homegrown news aggregator Dailyhunt could soon become the content platform that will challenge the duopoly of Facebook and Google in India.

At the moment, 157 million people, or 30 per cent of India’s internet population, use Dailyhunt on a monthly basis. The company’s aim is to grow this number to 250 million by June 2019. It is when the platform reaches this 250 million mark that it will truly give the tech giants a “run for their money” said Virendra Gupta, Founder - CEO of Dailyhunt. 

He was awarded the exchange4media Influencer of the Year award on Friday for his pioneering efforts to build a local language content platform. Even before Google and other digital platforms began focussing on vernacular as the key driver of the internet in India, Dailyhunt had identified a need-gap and began work to create a robust platform for Bharat and made in India. 

Gupta says Dailyhunt has heavily invested in adtech to build a platform that benefits advertisers and even helps small businesses advertise online through a self-serve option. 

Aggregating content from 1,500 news publishers and 20,000 stringers, Dailyhunt uploads as many as 100,000 new articles everyday. These articles pass through a strong recommendation engine that serves the right kind of content to those who are looking for it on the platform. 

Gupta spoke to exchange4media detailing the inner workings of Dailyhunt and how he and his team are cracking the vernacular audiences, building a strong recommendation engine and more.

Watch the video here or read the edited excerpts below:


What was your vision for Dailyhunt when you launched the company and how has that vision evolved over the years?

The core vision of Dailyhunt has remained the same throughout the life of the company. When we started the core vision was to bridge the digital divide in Bharat. So our first offering was to give local language news to people on the mobile phone. 

As you know, India is primarily a local language market. So our main aim was to bring local language news content online and help people who come online for the first time on mobile. Over time as the market has evolved, so have we. We have a broader vision and mission now to become the local language platform which empowers a billion Indians to discover consume and socialise content that enriches, informs and entertains them. 

You say that the mission now to become a local language platform that empowers a billion Indians. What are the steps you have been taking to reach this billion Indians residing in Bharat?

In 2012, no mobile phone could support a local language font; it could only support English. At that point of time we invented a platform which could render a local language font on a mobile phone. Now over a period of time that has become a core proposition of a handset manufacturer and the mobile operating system. 

Now we have built on the local language offering. We have got content from 1,500 publishers, 20,000 stringers on the platform. We have a strong Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Stack that helps diverse people find content of their choice. We have an app that serves auto-play videos in the language of the people. We also have partnerships  with publishers who do not have online content; we bring their offline local language content online. 

The entire digital industry is excited about the opportunities of Vernacular languages. How are you harnessing the power of vernacular languages?  

Exactly, local language and vernacular are the new sexy words after the launch of Jio. We have a lot of local language users coming online thanks to Jio. We are the only app offering a unique feed experience of local language content - be it news, entertainment, lifestyle, cricket, or health.  

Nobody has the width and breadth of local language content like we have with 1,500 verified publishers and 20,000 stringers. We take the responsibility to provide people with verified news and not propagate fake news. 

Thirdly, we are offering a unique opportunity for new content creators who want to create local language content to come on our platform and distribute and monetise their content. 

In addition, we are offering advertisers a platform to reach 150 million monthly active regional users. There are few of the things we have done to make sure we are harnessing this market in a big way.

Video is another V aside from Vernacular that is exciting digital players. By 2020, 500 million users are expected to be consuming video content online. How is Dailyhunt leveraging video content? 

The last 18 months saw a huge surge in video consumption where people have stopped bothering about the bandwidth they consume. Our platform is in fact becoming more and more video centric. We have introduced video auto-play and due to that our video consumption has gone up by 4X. 

We are soon launching a unique experience of non-linear TV on our platform. It is going to be a first-of-its-kind in the world which will offer hyperlocal experience in their language personalised in the genre they want. 

Our core belief is that video is going to be the next big driver of consumption and usage on our platform.

The duopoly of Facebook and Google attract as much as 80% of the digital ad spend leaving very little for platforms like DailyHunt. How do you battle this duopoly?

Our whole team is proud to build a product that is made in India and made for India. We love this David vs Goliath metaphor! We are addressing this on multiple levels. 

First, we are investing heavily in technology. We have a strong ML and AI engine that personalises content and ads. We are have adtech of our own, including auction, bidding and personalisation. We have invested upfront in technology so that we can offer advertisers the same amount of CTRs and flowthrough rates which Google and Facebook can offer. We are also opening our platform to small business with a self-serve option using with a small travel operator in Kochi can target people on a Pincode basis.  

If you go into the history of Google and Facebook you will see that their ad dollars shot up when their reach went beyond 200 million users. Today Dailyhunt is at 157 million MAUs, we will be about 250 million users by June 2019. As soon as we hit that mark, our ad monetisation will go to a different scale. Because then we become an intrinsic part of every media planner’s strategy. 

We have a unique regional audience which nobody has. This audience on a daily basis spends about 27 minutes on average on our platform. Finally, content on our platform is brand safe. All our OGC and User-Generated-Content is verified. 

These are all the ways in which we are building our whole advertising business and giving Google and Facebook a run for their money. 

In what ways do you use AI and ML at Dailyhunt for personalisation and recommendations?

The word personalisation has been bastardized by everyone in the industry. But let me tell you, personalisation is very hard to build. Personalisation is a very serious science and engineering problem and I would say we are one of the best companies in India who are invested into a personalisation experience for feed in local languages.  

Let me give you a sneak preview into what our personalisation engine does. We process in real-time 100,000 articles everyday. The machine is parsing all those articles in real-time into several categories by figuring out what the content is and matches that content to a user’s preference.

We personalise content based on a content graph. We categorise every article based on 10,000 different features and personalise those features with the consumption pattern of the user in real-time across 17 languages.  

Doing this has increased the time-spent on our platform and our CTRs have gone by by 17-18 per cent. We benefit greatly from our tech stack and the history of six years of data that we have from our users. 

How are you making your platform brand safe? Do you have any manual intervention to verify the content?

Ours is not an User Generated Content platform unlike YouTube. All the content that comes to our platform is onboarded by our team through a process that filters out bad content. Secondly, our machine learning algorithm captures signals on every article on which users give feedback. So if we have plenty of users give feedback on an article saying it is fake or improper, we suppress that article. 

We also continuously give feedback to our publishers on their content for them to learn and improve.  

Not only are you fighting the duopoly but also dozens of other news apps...

We are news aggregators. We think of ourselves as a complementary channel to the people who already have news content on news apps. You can divide the market into multiple segments - those who are brand fanatics who may only download the news app of that brand, and a large segment that wants to read content from multiple sources and aggregators offer that value proposition. 

We do a couple of things to keep everyone in the ecosystem happy: we attribute a comScore to the traffic which comes from our publishers, secondly we are one of the few apps that monetise at a large scale and give revenue back to our partners and we share a lot of data analytics back to our partners so that their newsrooms can improve. 

Every company has a next billion plan, what’s your next billion plan? 

Most people think that they can get the next billion users online by giving them racy content but my belief is if you want to get the next billion users online you have to first culturally understand those users. 

Once you culturally understand those users you need to build features and products around those users and consumer habits. That’s when people will come and stick with your platform. 

It is easy to get the next billion users and easier to lose them. We should not undermine the complexity of these users. They are aspirational and they have cultural values. So whatever you do, you need to be in sync with them to make sure they are engaging with your platform.    

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

I welcome anyone using 'Humans of...' concept: Brandon Stanton, HoNY

Stanton was responding to a query by The Washington Post about the lawsuit filed by Humans of Bombay against the People of India

By e4m Staff | Sep 26, 2023 1:05 PM   |   2 min read

brandon stanton

The lawsuit filed against Humans of Bombay (HoB) against the People of India (PoI) has opened a new can of worms for the former with even big international publications covering the news. In his recent salvo against the Mumbai-based photoblog, Humans of New York founder Brandon Stanton has released his statement regarding the monetisation of his platform.
The comment was in response to a query by the Washington Post regarding the HoB lawsuit.

Stanton claimed that in the last 13 years, HoNY was operational, he never received a penny for a single story he has put out. He also emphasised that his income mainly came from proceeds from his book sales, speeches he has given and Patreon.

Here's the full text of his comment.

Stanton's statement comes at a time when HoB is being criticised for monetising the content on the photoblog.

HoB was in the news for filing a lawsuit against People of India (PoI) for copyright infringement. According to the plaintiff, PoI copied HoB's storytelling format, which showcases human interest stories centred on photographs of ordinary people. The plea also mentioned that PoI lifted films from HoB's Instagram account without seeking permission first.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Marketing Data Platforms: The new powerful tool to track customer preferences

MDPs bring together data from owned, earned and paid channels, allowing brands to forge a unified & comprehensive view of their marketing landscape

By Shantanu David | Sep 26, 2023 8:45 AM   |   4 min read


CDPs, CRMs, CPMs, CTRs. No one can accuse martech stacks with lacking acronyms for various tools and metrics, and that was just some of the Cs. Today, we are delving into yet another acronymous technology which, though doesn’t begin with C, but is being viewed as indispensable in helping marketers track and attract the all-important Customer.    

“Marketing Data Platforms (MDPs) are emerging as powerful tools that complement Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and other data tools in the marketing ecosystem. MDPs help organizations centralize and leverage their data for more targeted, effective, and data-driven marketing strategies,” reveals Gopa Menon, Head of Digital – Mindshare South Asia.

Abhimanyu Vyas, Business Head of Havas’s MarTech arm, PivotConsult, says that Marketing Data Platforms serve as a central hub for brands to seamlessly consolidate data from various sources, including advertising, analytics, and transactional sources.

“They bring together data from owned, earned, and paid channels, allowing brands to forge a unified, comprehensive view of their marketing landscape. This consolidated data serves as a valuable resource for generating marketing insights, refining campaign strategies and product offerings, making informed pricing decisions, enhancing user experiences, and constructing finely tuned audience segments,” he says.

Marketing Data Platforms complement existing tools like Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs), facilitating agile measurement and analysis of activations conducted through these systems. Clients are also using advanced cases like Marketing Mix Modelling, Anomaly detection and Uplift Modelling.

Menon agrees that there are multiple use cases for MDPs, ranging from 360-degree customer view; segmentation and targeting; personalization; marketing automation; attribution and analytics; content management; cross-channel integration; compliance and data governance; predictive analytics; and customer retention and loyalty.

Indeed, as Bharatesh Salian, Sr. Vice President – Marketing Science and CX, FCB/SIX India, points out, “In today’s evolving and commoditised world, customer experience becomes a deal maker or breaker for more than 80% of the purchase decisions. Hence it becomes very important to map the behavioural data of prospect consumers to identify the right moment of truth when brands can engage and drive the right stimuli to take the action as part of an orchestrated consumer journey.”

“While CDPs or CRM provide the single golden record of the consumer along with their purchase patterns and preferences, the MDPs provide the insights into the behaviour of the users to click on the purchase now button. The ability of the marketing platforms to create data sets and classifications based on propensity to purchase by building on the lookalike audiences also helps tremendously in optimising spends,” adds Salian.

That being said, Paras Mehta, Business Head, Matterkind India, which operates under the IPG Brand says that while Marketing Data Platforms are emerging as valuable complements to existing tools such as CDPs and CRMs, “Their full potential is yet to be fully harnessed. The key challenge lies in the need for a substantial volume of consented data, which is currently a work in progress, mainly due to the presence of multiple walled gardens and limited access to personally identifiable information (PII) datasets.”

“In my perspective, an ideal use case for these platforms would involve three critical steps: firstly, at the advertiser level, establishing a Universal ID that encompasses all actual and potential consumers; secondly, leveraging this Universal ID to orchestrate and control communication and frequency across all marketing channels; and thirdly, utilizing the insights derived from these platforms to further optimize media and communications strategies,” says Mehta.

Menon concludes, “In today’s data-driven world, Marketing Data Platforms enhance the capabilities of CDPs, CRMs, and other data tools by providing a centralized hub for data management, analytics, and marketing automation. They empower marketers to create more personalized, data-driven, and effective marketing strategies, ultimately leading to improved customer experiences and business outcomes.”


Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

NCLAT: Google case appeal to be heard from November 28

The search giant has been fined Rs 936 crore for taking unfair advantage of its dominant position in the app store ecosystem

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 6:07 PM   |   1 min read


In the latest development on what has become a long and consequential standoff, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) today announced that it will start hearing Google's appeal against an order by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that had imposed a Rs 936 crore penalty from November 28. The CCI has imposed the fine on the internet ubiquity for taking unfair advantage of its dominant position in the app store ecosystem.

In October of last year, CCI had charged Google with restricting app developers from using any type of third-party billing or payment processing services to purchase apps for in-app billing on Google Play Store, the globally available app platform developed and maintained by the company. 

In January of 2023, NCLAT denied immediate relief to Google against CCI’s order. Google also filed an appeal at the Supreme Court against the NCLAT order, though it ultimately withdrew the case.

NCLAT has now said that the litigating apsp should file responses to Google’s appeal in four weeks.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

e4m WhatsApp Channel launched

Follow our channel for the latest updates in the world of media, advertising and marketing and experience news like never before!

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 3:57 PM   |   1 min read


In today's fast-paced world, staying informed about the latest trends is of paramount importance. With that in mind, the exchange4media Group has unveiled its WhatsApp Channel - a gateway to real-time updates and insights, curated to keep you informed about industry trends in real-time.

You can now receive all the updates from the advertising, marketing, and media industry, breaking news, insightful articles and in-depth features on key trending topics directly on your WhatsApp, ensuring you're never out of the loop.

Subscribing to our WhatsApp Channel is easy. You can follow the steps below and join our channel to start receiving updates immediately.

Steps to Follow:

1. Click on this link: 
2. Tap on 'View Channel'
3. A new e4m chat box will open. Click on the ‘Follow’ button on the right side
4. Enable notifications by clicking on the bell icon

By subscribing to e4m’s WhatsApp Channel, you gain exclusive access to the most up-to-date information across a wide range of topics and experience news in its most dynamic form.

Join our WhatsApp channel today, and elevate your news experience!

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Zone Media partners with VDO.AI to expand in India & SEA

The collaboration will allow Zone Media to gain exclusive access to VDO.AI’s innovative advertising tools

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 11:17 AM   |   2 min read

Zone Media

Zone Media has entered a partnership with ad-tech tool VDO.AI. This collaboration will enable Zone Media to provide clients in India and Southeast Asia with video advertising solutions that drive highly effective results.

As an official partner of VDO.AI, Zone Media will gain exclusive access to their platform and innovative advertising tools. This partnership will further strengthen Zone Media's ability to deliver exceptional digital marketing campaigns and drive significant business growth for their clients. By combining VDO.AI's cutting-edge technology with Zone Media's extensive expertise in the digital marketing landscape, the partnership aims to revolutionize the way brands connect with their audiences through video advertising.
Arjit Sachdeva, Co-founder, VDO.AI, shared their perspective on this partnership: " We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Zone Media, With Zone Media's regional insights and VDO.AI's capabilities, we look forward to helping brands in India and Southeast Asia achieve their marketing goals through highly targeted and engaging video campaigns. Together, we aim to set new standards in the digital advertising landscape and provide brands with the tools they need to succeed."

"We are excited about joining hands with VDO.AI" said Sumit Gupta, CEO of Zone Media. "This collaboration allows us to provide our clients with industry-leading video advertising solutions that are tailored to their specific needs. VDO.AI's advanced creative solutions, coupled with our strategic digital marketing expertise, will enable us to deliver outstanding results and drive exceptional brand experiences for our clients in India and Southeast Asia."

Mrityunjay Kumar, President, Zone Media, said with Zone Media's deep understanding of the local market and VDO.AI's robust video advertising capabilities, brands in India and Southeast Asia can now benefit from highly targeted and engaging video campaigns that deliver maximum impact. The partnership promises to unlock new possibilities for businesses seeking to enhance their digital presence and accelerate growth.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

PhonePe launches Indus AppStore, challenges Google’s monopoly

The store promises zero platform fees and no commission on in-app purchases as opposed to Google, which levies 15-30%

By e4m Staff | Sep 25, 2023 9:07 AM   |   2 min read

indus appstore

In a bid to challenge Google's monopoly, PhonePe has launched “Indus AppStore” promising zero platform fees and no commission on in-app purchases. 

“Developers can commence the process of registering and uploading their applications with immediate effect,” the company officials announced in Bengaluru on Saturday.

They also said the app listings on the platform will be free for the first year, following which a "nominal" annual fee will be charged.

The Walmart-backed fintech firm PhonePe projects its app store as the first such 'made-in-India' platform. PhonePe acquired IndusOS in 2021 and has since been working on the app store. 

The Indus app store will offer support for third-party payment providers, compatibility with 12 Indian languages, and a streamlined login system centred around phone numbers.

It is noteworthy that Google charges a 15-30% commission on in-app purchases. 

Speaking of the launch, Akash Dongre, CPO & Co-Founder, Indus Appstore said, “India is poised to have over 1 billion smartphone users by 2026 offering us a massive opportunity to build a new-age, localized Android app store. Despite being such a large consumer market, app developers have always been forced to work with only one app store - Google Playstore - for distributing their apps. Indus Appstore hopes to provide app developers a credible alternative to the Google Playstore - one that is more localized and offers better app discovery and consumer engagement. We are excited to open up the Indus Appstore Developer Platform today, and invite all developers to list their app on the Made-in-India app store.”

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

After Netflix, Prime Video enters ad race

Ads will first be introduced on Prime Video content in the US, UK, Germany and Canada, in early 2024

By e4m Staff | Sep 22, 2023 5:26 PM   |   1 min read

Prime video
Amazon has announced that it will introduce ads in its Prime Video streaming service in 2024. The ads, the e-commerce giant said, "will allow it to continue investing in compelling content.” 
According to a press release from Amazon, the ads will first be introduced on Prime Video content in the US, UK, Germany, and Canada, with France, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Australia to follow later that year.”
The date for the introduction of the ads is not specified, with the release just stating it to be in “early 2024”. 
In the release, Amazon has said it doesn’t have plans to change the current price of its Prime memberships in 2024, and Prime members will be notified of the change several weeks before the ad injections begin, along with details to sign up for the ad-free option.
"To continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time, starting in 2024, Prime Video shows and movies will include limited advertisements in the UK," Amazon said.
Amazon’s decision to introduce ads follows similar steps taken by by rivals including Disney+ and Netflix.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube