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We are not just a newsstand but more of a local language content platform: Virendra Gupta, Founder, Dailyhunt

28-February-2018
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We are not just a newsstand but more of a local language content platform: Virendra Gupta, Founder, Dailyhunt

News and local language content application, Dailyhunt recently launched a new app, Newzly, News In Brief in nine languages. Starting as a news platform and now growing as a regional content platform, Dailyhunt has witnessed immense overall growth in terms of it’s users and page views.

Virendra Gupta, Founder, Dailyhunt brings over 20 years of rich management experience in the Telecom industry including in companies like Bharti Airtel, Trilogy, OnMobile and BPL Mobile. In an interaction with exchange4media, Gupta, gives a brief on newly launched app and on how they are using regional content to target their consumers.

Please tell us about your newly launched app Newzly and how likely it is to grab the attention of the users?
The way we look at ourselves, we are a local language mass application. We appeal to the large mass of a country. If you see overall, Dailyhunt have 85 million multiple active users, about 16-17 million daily active users. So we have a large app appealing to different masses of the country. Our whole mission and vision is to serve needs of different segments of local language users. Dailyhunt has been serving in the space where people want to use the app to consume content, read long format content and can kill their time.

There is a certain set of users, we believe, who do not have time on their hand. They want to read things in a very small fashion. So we were contemplating whether adding this feature in our existing app is the right thing to do or if we should launch another new app. Now that’s how we decided to launch a new app around snackable content. Newzly is the only app which has been launched in nine languages, something that people have done in merely one or two languages. The broad objective remains the same. That is to garner more user base, serve their needs and enhance engagement. 
What would you like to say to digital publishers today around monetizing their content?

According to me, I personally believe that monetization is equal to engagement. So if you are writing or producing content on all form, like news, non-news that includes entertainment, lifestyle, women, health, technology in local languages and create interesting videos around that, I think that can help you derive sustainable engagement.

If you are producing a content that is helpful in sustainable engagement and if you are learning constantly from user feedback and data and giving it back to your creative process of content generation , you are definitely engaging your consumers. I think that is the top and foremost advice that I would like to give to everyone in a attention-deficit era.
Secondly, the content publishers should distribute their piece of content on all the platforms wherever they can monetize it because it has got to be distributed to many users who can read it. And most importantly, if publishers focus on who is their audience, what are their needs and also bring out the correct distribution mechanism of content for it’s target audiences, it can help them stand ahead in monetizing their content.
Working with right kind of partners who can monetize their inventory or distribute the inventory is the third best way to monetize the content.
In the end publishers should constantly figure out what are the trends going on so that people across can come and stick to what they are writing.

How has the graph of growth been for Dailyhunt over the years, keeping in mind that the company has witnessed a growth of 300 billion page views?
Broadly, if we talk about our page views, it has been increasing 70-80% YOY and with this you could say that our engagement with our consumers is growing much faster. Now we have moved to videos and live TV and that engagement is also growing pretty well. So naturally our page view is going to reach 80-100% YOY.
What do you think is the role played by regional languages in increasing traffic and what is the way ahead for them?
At a very broad level if you look at any study which is published either by KPMG or PWC or by Google, I think the one thing  that is clear is India is a land of regional audience market. If you look at the top 20 publishers or top 200 TV channels, you’ll hardly find English publisher or channel in that. Now that the user shift is coming from online to mobile, everyone is looking forward on more consumption of regional languages. I believe that the content around regional languages in multiple formats, whether it is text or video, live streaming, news, entertainment will be seeing the roaring growth of content consumption in the country.

Do you think digital has become a platform today for brands to build a stronger connect with the new generation?
I think the beauty of digital is that you can measure your success in a real time and there are no geographical barriers for content to be distributed. You could be writing a great article sitting in one corner and it could be distributed around the world where you can measure what demography is reading your articles and what are their comments. Digital intrinsically helps you and gives you a chance to establish connect with the audience in real-time but then it gives everybody a chance so if someone is writing better than you then they might get a chance better than you. So digital gives you a chance to build a brand but it is highly competitive.

What are the challenges that digital news stands like yours face in reaching the monetization targets?
First of all to clarify, we are not a newsstand, we are more of a local language content platform. 50% of content which is consumed on our platform is non-news and is more of entertainment, technology and so and so. 
I think the challenges which everyone is facing right now in the industry is that user growth and consumption happened much before monetization and I think the monetization will happen subsequently. Typically in any market, the growth in consumption happens first and then the growth in monetization. I think right now we are at the reflection point where you’ll see huge amount of digital dollars is coming from mobile. As the economic growth happens in the country and as India becomes GDP master from 3.3 trillion dollar GDP to 5 trillion GDP, the intrinsic growth in market will happen. I would say substantial growth will come to digital and mobile.

With Facebook deciding to reduce news content.Will it help mobile news platforms to get more direct traffic?
When a person goes to Facebook, he consumes news accidentally because it generally is a social platform for interaction. Whereas for us as Dailyhunt, the proposition to users was that we are the point of destination for consuming news where you don’t discover news accidentally but in a very simplified way. We give you the profit of consuming most relevant, trending personalized content and articles. I think Facebook has realized to stick to what they stand to. I think that would give profit to other platforms. People who were consuming news on Facebook would apparently comeback to platforms like us.

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