Way2Online, a Hyderabad-based consumer Internet and mobile services company, which recently rebranded its free SMS services division Way2SMS to Way2, has forayed into the short news services space.
Clubbed with the existing free SMS offering via its Android and iOS mobile applications, the new service will bring to its subscribers short summarised nuggets of news in English, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati and Kannada in a magazine-style format in 400 characters.
Stating that SMS is no longer relevant and that the usage is declining, Way2Online founder and chief executive officer Raju Vanapala told mediapersons on Wednesday that the short news idea was spurred by the fact that the local language user base had increased by 47 per cent in June 2015 as compared to June 2014.
"News consumption is a daily habit for most people. Also, a huge chunk of them may have access to the Internet but not to news in their local language. With Way2, we are foraying into the large untapped segment of news readers who want to consume news in their native language," he said.
Way2, which saw a fund infusion of $2 million from Vanapala, will initially leverage Way2SMS' user base of 45 million. Claiming that Way2 is behind News Hunt and way ahead of Inshorts, having witnessed over five million downloads on the Play Store, he said the company was currently focusing on reaching the potential mass and would figure out a monetisation model after a year or so.
"Way2 is witnessing eight million screen views on a daily basis. Our plan is to take this to a billion monthly screen views in six months from now," Vanapala said, adding that the company was currently aggregating content from local news papers, and was in the process of partnering media houses for exclusive content.