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Race for digital news content intensifies as Mashable launches in India

Mashable defines itself as the source of news, information and resources for the connected generation.

Shamni Pande | February 19, 2015 | Updated 11:19 IST

Shamni Pande, senior editor, Business Today
The space for digital news content is hotting up as Mashable, the leading global information portal, announced its India entry on Wednesday by partnering with India.com.

Mashable defines itself as the source of news, information and resources for the connected generation. India.com Web Portal. is a joint venture between Penske Media Corporation (PMC) and Zee Entertainment Enterprises.

This announcement is significant, considering that it comes in the wake of similar tie-ups for news and information content that media houses have been aggregating or have launched on their own.

For instance, late last year, The Huffington Post announced its partnership with Times of India Group to launch the India edition of its site.

There was an India editorial team that was set up to drive content from this region. This comes even as its division Times Internet has Indian editions of various publications such as Gizmodo, Lifehacker and Business Insider. 

With the entry of Mashable in India, Zee Entertainment is pushing its digital presence further. India.com, in which Zee Entertainment is a joint venture partner, already has online properties with BGR.in - which claims to be among the leading technology news sites in India. There are also Bollywoodlife.com and TheHealthSite.com.

In June last year, Quartz launched in India in partnership with Scroll.in. Buzzfeed too has launched its India edition. And there are independent Indian players that are in the space and have managed to gain considerable traction.

Leading the fray is Medianama, which has focused on in-depth digital news, including analysis on policy issues. "We have differentiated ourselves in the space, given that we are highly opinionated and provide really in-depth coverage that includes financial news coverage of the digital industry. I do not think we have competition, "says Nikhil Pahwa, Founder & Editor, Medianama.com.

Clearly, the attractiveness of this space is growing, given that people are consuming news content through digital platforms, especially mobile. Also, the game plan is audience acquisition. "Irrespective of the India-specific launch, people were anyway accessing some of these popular information sites such as Mashable. However, it helps media groups to have them under their banner as it gives them better bargaining power with agencies for attracting advertising money," says Pahwa.

Though he is dismissive of the quality of content for many of the India-specific launches, the fact remains that this space is only set to grow.

In addition to bringing in global brands such as Business Insider and Mashable, Indian media houses have on their own been busy with their own offerings that include Quickstir launch by Times of India, Network18's launch of Buzz and NDTV announcing Offbeat.

India has indigenous start-ups offering similar information options such as Storypick, ScoopWhoop, and TheNextMeme. That aside, Raghav Bahl, founder and former Managing Director of Network18, has also launched Quint.com - a news and information portal that is first available initially only as a mobile-first news platform.

There is news that other former media players are also readying plans in the space. Globally, Buzzfeed received its fifth round of funding from venture capital firm Andreessen Hotowitz. Though Medianama - among the indigenous start-ups here in India, running for over six years - has not raised any funds and is running profitably; there are expectations that others will be tapping funds to grow.

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