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Is content king? Vir Sanghvi attempts to find out in the digital space

23-January-2009
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Is content king? Vir Sanghvi attempts to find out in the digital space

He has been in print, he has experienced television, and now it was time to check out the digital space. Veteran journalist and television celebrity Vir Sanghvi has aggregated all his experiences and works under one roof – Virsanghvi.com. In addition to this, the site also gives access to original content from the wordsmith, who is often discussed for his style in tackling mediums varying from politics to food.

The site has been put together by Seema Goswami, and has been designed by Olive. Sanghvi has stressed on the need to allow interactivity on the site and the right resources have been allocated for that too.

On the face of it, the idea is encouraging – a journalist being able to own audience mind space, merely on the back of the work that he has done. While it may have been simpler for Sanghvi to put together such an initiative given the sheer amount of work that he has done between the mainline print and television mediums, the move also hints at the confidence that Indian media professionals are exuding today.

However, where is this endeavour headed in the longer run?

Sanghvi is clear that the attempt is to attract the moolah spenders too. On January 22, 2009, within a day of its launch, the site had over 1,500 unique visitors.

Speaking to exchange4media on this, Sanghvi said, “These numbers would definitely stabilise going forward, but if we can manage something around this, I expect a certain amount of advertising to come in on the site. And there would be two kinds of advertisers – one for the number of visitors, and second from a brand association and prestige advertising point of view that would be dependent more on the quality.”

This attempt is a first for an Indian journalist, and the site already has support from media corporates such as Hindustan Times, that is interlinked with Virsanghvi.com, STAR India and Discovery. Sanghvi is currently working on shows with the latter two. The site would house show previews, behind-the-scenes and other add-ons of the various shows.

Virsanghvi.com would also be home to Sanghvi’s columns such as ‘Rude Food’ and ‘Counterpoint’. The column ‘Pursuits’ that Sanghvi wrote for Mint has been now transferred exclusively to this site. With blogs and sections like ‘Ask Vir’, the website designers have also built in interactivity on the site.

Sanghvi admits that the idea for such a site found genesis at an event last year, where he was casually suggested to aggregate all his works in one place. “I thought about that and there were two things that came from it – unlike a few others, I couldn’t do a simple blog since there was so much to talk about and put together. So, I knew it was complicated and would require a professional to design it. Second, I was given very specific feedback that unless there is original content on the site, no one would come to it,” explained Sanghvi.

The plan of action for the site right now is simple – aggregate content, a bulk of which would be Sanghvi-generated through his various endeavours, and pack that in with a significant amount of original content. Sanghvi already is answering questions ranging from who should run for Prime Minister to whether salt should be added in pasta, and is keen on focussing on the interactive element on the site. Even as the site has some videos already, the plan going forward is to make the site more multimedia with more videos and podcasting.

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