New Delhi: Network18 Digital, which is India’s leading digital media group with over 100 million monthly active visitors, has launched India’s largest Indic language news service on WhatsApp to reach the masses ahead of the world’s largest democratic elections. Users can now enjoy the benefit of getting trusted and credible news directly within the WhatsApp app, delivered in the form of a simple message.
This service will be available to users across CNBC-TV18, moneycontrol, CricketNext, Firstpost English, Firstpost Hindi, Tech2, In.com, News18 English, News18 Hindi, News18 Tamil, News18 Telugu, News18 Malayalam, and News18 Kannada. Users can subscribe to their publisher of choice, either from their desktop or mobile websites. In the case of News18 Indian languages properties, users can receive content in the language of their choice across 9 Indian languages in addition to English and Hindi.
Manish Maheshwari, CEO, Network18 Digital, said, “We strive to delight our audiences by delivering credible news, insightful opinions and engaging conversations through innovative product experience resulting in strong loyalty and high stickiness. In an era of fake news, this is one more arrow in our quiver to ensure our audiences are catered to at their convenience with credible and relevant news of their choice. We wanted to harness the Whatsapp platform which currently has 200+ million monthly active users in India.”
The beginning of this initiative was during moneycontrol’s coverage of the Union Budget session in Parliament. On January 31st, 2018, moneycontrol launched its first service, offering audiences a chance to get the latest news and views on the Budget directly from moneycontrol onto WhatsApp. This initial pilot was a huge success, proving to be popular with large numbers of audiences as well as showcasing record highs in engagement by these subscribed users on the platform. This germinated into a network-level offering, with capabilities explored for more powerful features such as Indic languages support on the platform. An article informing users of the steps to subscribe and the benefits of such a subscription garnered great response as it made the process even more seamless for the users.
Avinash Mudaliar, CPO, Network18 Digital, said, “This offering is another attempt to enhance ease of use, access, and engagement when it comes to reaching our readers at their point of convenience and consumption. We want to be where the users spend their most time. Our research shows that with more accessible data, even our regional content readers are consuming content on Whatsapp. Connecting through Whatsapp is thus the logical choice of distribution. We will experiment with different content formats, closely analyse the responses from users and see what works best with our Whatsapp subscribers”.
Network18 has been strengthening its regional offerings with user-friendly features e.g. progressive web apps (PWAs) and has now been the pioneer in launching regional news through Whatsapp for the same audience. It is continuing to build other innovative features on Whatsapp which will roll out in the coming months.