With India becoming a mobile economy, the Naspers-backed online classified platform OLX has been witnessing a dream run. Today the company witnesses 90% traffic coming from mobile, making it a mobile first company. One of the things the company has been doing right from the time of inception is relying on consumer data.“Rely always on consumer data, more than your personal gut,” said Amarjit Singh Batra, CEO, OLX India in a video interview with Dainik Bhaskar (DB).
For me apart from knowing the journey of Amarjit and the brand story, the conversation happening in Hindi was the biggest turn on. DB Spotlight is one of the original interview series by DB since some time now.
The web only series hosted by the charming Preeti Hoon focuses on interviewing startup and tech evangelists. With more than 17+ videos, the series has interviewed the likes of OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal, Cardekho co-founder Anurag Jain, Mobikwik founders, among others. Here is Vijay Shekhar Sharma talking to Preeti; it has fetched more than 33K views on Facebook.
“We are simply extending our content philosophy in our videos too. We want to give our viewers a complete package that would serve all their needs,” informed Gyan Gupta, CEO DB Digital.
DB, the flagship Hindi website of the Dainik Bhaskar Group is the No.1 Hindi news website in the country. The company got a major boost for its efforts recently when it was adjudged the No. 2 news website in the country by comScore. According to comScore numbers, DB’s website has 24.3 million unique visitors and 378 million page views.
Two things have worked for DB in recent times – one its focus on Hindi and second the growing faith on digital. “Hindi is the next big thing on digital. And, with a clear dominance in that space, DB is setting a trend. We have witnessed unprecedented growth with 133% y.o.y. growth in UVs riding largely on the language space,” Gyan shared in an email interaction with Lighthouse Insights.
Understanding of digital has evolved with time for DB, as it has been the case for most publishers in the country. Apart from creating interesting content, DB has been aggressive in trying to hack different ways to increase user engagement. India’s biggest social network, Facebook plays a big role here, he informs.
“We have achieved a landmark with 71 million reach on Facebook, which is almost 55% of the total Facebook reach in India.”
As we are aware that from the beginning of 2016 Facebook has been pushing hard on videos and specially live videos, the News Feed also prefers and shows more video content. DB has been quick to adopt the trend and is investing tremendously on videos.
For instance DB News bulletin @8PM, a Facebook exclusive is a popular video content. In less than 2 minutes, the video gives a quick snapshot of all the major news activities that happened. Slowly the feature is becoming real time in a sense that these kind of videos are uploaded few times in a day and slowly emoting TV. For a Facebook user he gets to watch the news bulletin video in the morning, afternoon and late evening.
The popularity of the New Bulletin videos has given rise to another similar quick videos in other categories exclusive on Facebook. These are Bollywood Bulletin and Sports Bulletin shared during the day. “Facebook has been a great platform to promote the DB videos. It has helped us in multiplying the traction. If the sources are to be believed, we have the highest video views on Facebook, ahead of any other Indian publisher,” Gyan informed.
Here is the latest Sports Bulletin @6PM which has got more than 10K views:
The focus on Facebook for videos has impacted the growth of DB’s on YouTube videos. Not that the YT channel is dead but Facebook is where DB is uploading all the exclusive video content.
While Facebook is yet to go open on how it is going to pay original video content creators on platform, like YouTube does but Gyan isn’t worried about it. He thinks that monetization is always a factor of scale and over the next few years advertisers are going to put more money on digital like they have done for print.
However, DB has kept both print and digital separate and never attempted to marry both. Compared to the growing belief in the west that print is dead, India is still making healthy revenues from print.
“I believe India is the only country where both these platforms are growing and being equally accepted by the readers. Therefore, I think it’s still a far sight to predict whether we are going to see a complete transition towards the digital platform any time soon.”
In the coming days, mobile is going to play a definite role along with videos for DB. The portal receives 60-65% of mobile readership which is expected to grow 75-80% by year end. “We are seeing tremendous growth through our mobile website and app. Thus, for the next fiscal year, mobile platform would be our focus area,” he added. His team is also focusing on different new monetization models from mobile, due to the constraints posed by the 5-inch screen.
In addition to revenues, digital publishers have a monstrous challenge in the form of ad blocking. A recent study by IAB finds that the number of people using ad blockers has increased to 22 percent. Ad blocking or installing software removes the buggy ads that kill user reading experience is rapidly growing on mobile. Ad blocking software is set to cost digital publishers almost £19 billion by 2020, a new report from Juniper Research reveals, with global ad block users rising 41 per cent year-on-year.
In India the problem is still small but Gyan believes that it needs to be tackled right now before it becomes atrocious. “I think publishers are waking up to ad blocking. Partly it’s out doing as well, whereas we didn’t focus on user experience. We have taken this very seriously and revamped the site to make it user-friendlier.” He further added, “In India the % is still small, it is about 6-7%, so if we take corrective actions we can avoid that. Other than this there are a many challenges we deal with, and as of now we are focusing to foster and grow the language Eco system.”
Video remains of high importance for DB but it will also focus on lot of innovation and user-friendly features like personalisation of news through audience targeting, recommendation feature and many more. The larger focus for DB is to adapt to the mobile experience this year.