DAN-e4m 2019: We do our own technology & have built the lightest news app: Arnab Goswami
Talking about going global on digital, Goswami says that by 2020 Republic will merge its broadcast business in a more direct way with its digital business
Not many have the power to influence the intellect but those who do leave an indelible mark in the minds of the people. Arnab Goswami, MD & Editor In Chief of Republic TV, is one such individual who is unstoppable, and in the words of Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO South Asia of Dentsu Aegis Network, "Once Arnab starts talking you have no idea where it can lead to."
It was an exciting evening at the DAN-e4m Digital Advertising Conference held in Mumbai yesterday, where Goswami explained how digital as a medium conveys much more than traditional advertising.
Known to have digitally transformed the business of news, Goswami spoke with examples of digital strategies adopted by him for the election coverage in 2014. He explained how a simple Whatsapp message had helped put the television channel, he was then working for, on the world map. He emphasised on the element of virality and how the nature of marketing completely changes if you use digital.
"Digital as a medium conveys much more than traditional advertising. For the launch of Republic Bharat, we are doing 95 per cent digital marketing and creating content on our own focusing on the centrality of the message we want to send on Bharat. So the nature has changed, lines have changed, people are informal. I think digital will last much longer than traditional advertising. I’m a big proponent of it," informed Goswami.
He explained how the impact of the digital medium is magnificent and it will resonate if the language is easy and simple where you are able to communicate with the younger generation. "Digital should be an agent of social change and transformation," said Goswami.
Speaking about the launch of Republic Bharat, his Hindi channel, and video, voice and vernacular becoming the way forward for digital, Goswami said how India is getting accent agnostic and that people are getting into cognitive understanding.
“I speak Hindi with slight Assamese and slight Bengali accent. As a complex country, we are becoming homogenous and forgive accents and accept them. I believe that India should be content capital of the world, and only we can be because we are accent and language agnostic; we genuinely are. We can make fiction, non-fiction and news; we can create video, audio, print – it is an exciting option for India. I believe we should create video content language agnostic globally and curate the content locally at 10 per cent of the cost of let’s say a ‘Vice’ and of good quality. Some of the content being created in India is fabulous. The problem is we are limiting ourselves geographically. By nature we are not culturally expansionist, we just need to have the confidence, and by using digital we can step beyond the geography,” asserted Goswami.
“There is so much vernacular content that I want to go global. Create global content companies out of India, which we will do in 2019 when Republic expands and gets into the digital global game. We can create many Bloombergs and CNNs out of this soil. And this is a beautiful time to do it. If Arnab Goswami can speak Hindi you can do anything. We can play the global game. Some of those OTT players are dying to go global,” said Goswami.
Talking about how he balances between digital and television, Goswami explains, “We have about 800 people at Republic. I’m happy to inform we have about 150 to 200 employees in digital, including people who are working on a product in a deeper way with content. There are two innovations I’m doing. My business strategy for digital is that we have started to have large engineering and product presence out of our Bangalore office, who only look after the technology part. We do our own technology and based on that we have built the lightest news app; 2.5 MB, really light; we didn’t outsource the engineering. We are doing a new experiment calling it ‘content production combined team experiment’. We broke the walls between people who understood the product and knew how to disseminate, and those who created the message.”
“I’m investing in digital to expand the brand appeal of Republic and Republic Bharat. We want to mushroom the digital domain. We will go completely vernacular on digital, and then we go global. I’m strongly investing and happy to lose money on digital at this stage as an independent business. By 2020, we will be able to merge our broadcast business in a more direct way with our digital business. It’s the way we will go global on digital. We’ve tied up with Microsoft and are the first TV channel to convert the usage of Azure, we partnered with LinkedIn for our recruitments; we’ve been experimental on every platform. We have made non-traditional use of the digital medium so far,” Goswami concluded.
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