We garnered 500% revenue growth on Election Counting Day: Shridhar Mishra, Asianet News

Shridhar Mishra, VP, Digital Sales, Asianet News & Entertainment Pvt Ltd, speaks about the brand’s presence in multiple vernacular languages, innovations on the Ad Tech front and more

e4m by Neethu Mohan
Published: Jun 11, 2019 8:29 AM  | 6 min read
Shridhar Mishra

Asianetnews.com which started its journey in digital with Malayalam and Kannada languages are the largest vernacular news platform ( except Hindi and English) on comScore. Asianetnews.com logged 32 million viewers on Election 2019 Counting Day and experienced a 137% growth in the direct traffic.

Shridhar Mishra, VP, Digital Sales, Asianet News & Entertainment Pvt Ltd, spoke about the brand’s presence in the multiple vernacular languages, innovations on the Ad Tech front and more.

Asianet News Digital has a presence in the multiple vernacular languages, tell us the ways in which it gives you an edge in the digital media space?

As per the DAN E4M 2019 report, this year belongs to the vernacular, Video and Voice. Fortunately for us, we already have a strong footing in the vernacular and Video space.

Asianetnews.com started its journey in digital with Malayalam and Kannada languages, which were our flagship brands. However we quickly realised that for a strong user and brand experience in Digital we need to have offerings in multiple languages, so we entered Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, English & Bangla languages as well.

Today, we are the largest vernacular News platform (minus Hindi & English) on comScore. Our Malayalam Digital Live TV alone gets over 350 million minutes of watch time per month. We have more than 25 million unique active visitors and more than 330 million page views on a monthly basis.

Clients and agencies are delighted with the performance of their campaigns as well as the response they get, and currently, we are working with most of the top brands in Auto, Mobile, Consumer Durable, BFSI, Jewellery, Construction/Building Material, FMCG categories. The majority of inquiries we are getting are for branded content creation in multiple regional languages.

How do you assess Asianet News Digital’s performance during the election period in terms of website traffic and revenue?

We are excited to share that Asianetnews.com logged 32 million viewers on the counting day and experienced a 137% growth in the direct traffic. We also witnessed a 200% growth in our video views; mobile app engagement witnessed stupendous growth of 929%. We got 500% growth on our revenue on the Election Counting Day itself.

Asianetnews.com has been awarded funds from YouTube to experiment with and innovate on latest news video formats and production. What are the ways in which it is going to revolutionize the news video content platform?

The funds awarded to Asianetnews.com by YouTube are being used in the development of an AI-powered engine that will allow us to increase the volume of video content available in regional languages.

Asianetnews.com identified a big opportunity for news videos in the regional language space. People want to consume news videos in their native languages but are not able to because of the unavailability of such content. Through our AI-powered engine, we have endeavored to bridge this gap, thus making more content available for people to consume in the language that they speak.

The AI-powered engine will enable us to make a video in one language and then replicate it in other regional languages without duplication of effort. This would especially be useful in case of news of national or international importance, which would be consumed by everyone. The initial video content will be prepared by stringers or reporters of our editorial team in any one regional language. This video will then be fed into the AI engine and converted into content in other languages.

Tell us more about the innovations Asianet News Digital has introduced on the Ad Tech front?

We are far ahead compared to our competitors on the Ad Tech front. We are first in the regional space to implement Header bidding and Exchange bidding. Our platforms are fully compatible with IAS, Moat & Nielson. We have the best viewability and CTR standards in the Digital publisher space. Our Programmatic Sales has picked up and we see great potential in the area.

Can you elaborate on the strategies followed by Asianet News Digital to reach out to more readers?

We work on a 360-degree approach for driving up our user engagement.

Content: We stick to our organisational mantra of straight, bold and relentless. We create relevant and timely digital content which creates value for our users. We take into account the changes in the consumption pattern of our users and ensure that such changes are reflected in our offerings.

Technology: We are a Media Tech company and we put technology at the core of our business planning. Starting from content creation to content monetization our tech stack plays a major role in ensuring swift delivery of content to our users.

Business Focus: Our Business Focus has always been to reach out to users in the language they prefer. This has made us venture into 7 different languages in India. Staying true to our course, we have aggressive plans of venturing into more languages in India. 9 out of 10 Internet users in the next five years will be from the vernacular segment.

This is welcome news for Digital. Most users are consuming content on multiple platforms - print, digital, TV, outdoor. With Jio coming in, digital consumption has significantly gone up in rural areas as well. I am confident that in the next few years a lot of these print users will also start consuming digital content; the trend is already shaping well. Digital is dynamic and we can interact with our users. With user feedback, we can improvise our product offerings.

What next for Asianet News Digital?

We would like to expand further in the Regional language categories and at the same time, we are building specific sections on our platforms like Tech, Auto, Lifestyle, Money to create deep engagement with our users. We are working aggressively in building the female audiences on our platforms since this is a segment which is untapped in the vernacular space; there is a scarcity of strong female-centric content. We have recently done a pregnancy and parenting microsite in Malayalam language and almost half of the audience in the section were females.

One of our Digital campaigns 'Sound for Sight' got a collective reach of 27 million; considering the population of Kerala is 33 million, it was a massive success. We would be on the lookout for more such campaigns where we can connect with our audiences on a larger scale. We are also building an AI Engine which will scale our video content creation capabilities in multiple regional languages

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