Seeking to ride the current consumption boom in the video content space, media conglomerate India Today Group on Thursday launched seven niche digital channels under the brand Mobile Tak. The move, in line with the group’s key focus area of monetising the digital medium, is aimed at capturing the fast-growing audience group that prefers to consume news and other video content through their smartphones. The new digital channels — News Tak, Sports Tak, Food Tak, Life Tak, Astro Tak, Tech Tak and Yoga Tak — on mobiletak.in, will help the company strengthen its presence among vernacular audience. Kalli Purie, vice-chairperson, India Today Group, said while contents from its broadcasting division were available for the consumers, customised content for smartphone users was the need of the hour in view of the changing dynamics of the media business. “While the digital medium has opened up many opportunities for media houses, it comes with a set of challenges. Its fast-changing nature compels decision-makers to remain on their toes. It is very important for the management to place the rules of the digital game at the organisation’s core. Digital is no more a fringe business; it’s on the driving seat,” she said. According to the group that has interests in magazines, newspaper, television channels, book publishing, and radio, small dedicated teams of eight to ten people will be generating content for these channels and conducting live shows, where audiences can interact directly with the hosts and guests. While Purie did not divulge the amount of investment made in the project, she said the ventures were founded on a strong revenue generating model. “We have six platforms — WAP (wireless application protocol), social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and the website — to monetise. Our financials are strong and we have the capacity to spend on new ventures. But unlike many others, we don’t burn money on marketing blitzkriegs.
Rather, we would invest in the product and content,” she said. While the consumption of data has been on the rise since Android smartphones’ popularity increased in India, the entry of Reliance Jio in the telecom market has shot up the growth rate. From 143mb per GSM user per month in April-June 2016, when Jio was absent in the market, data consumption increased to 1,256mb per GSM user per month in the June quarter of 2017. According to a recent report by Ericsson, by the end of 2016, 94 per cent of mobile data traffic came through smartphones. This number is set to rise to around 97 per cent by 2022. While many media groups have felt the pinch of slowing growth of ad revenue, Purie said the company’s presence across multiple businesses — video, audio, vernacular and social media — had helped it manoeuvre the slowdown. “Our print subscriptions are not going down, they are stable. But I think the conventional model has to change. You can’t survive being just a magazine and need to build it as a brand. For example, now the brand India Today is on digital, on television and into events. This opened up many avenues of monetising it,” the newly appointed vice-chairperson said.