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Adam Ostrow, chief strategy officer at Mashable. Photo: YouTube
Adam Ostrow, chief strategy officer at Mashable. Photo: YouTube

Branded content will play key role for us in India: Mashable’s Ostrow

Adam Ostrow who was in India recently speaks about Mashable's partnership with India.com and what the country offers for his company

Mumbai: Adam Ostrow, chief strategy officer at Mashable, a digital media website, was in India on his first visit to firm up plans for its India edition in partnership with India.com, a joint venture between Penske Media Corp. and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. The local edition is set for launch in the next few months. Mashable also launched in the UK and Australia last year. In an interview on the side-lines of an advertising, media and digital event in Mumbai, Ostrow spoke about why India presents a strong growth opportunity and the changing digital landscape globally. Edited excerpts:

What will Mashable’s India strategy be like?

I think India is a pretty big opportunity for us to grow our audience. Already, we have some 42 million unique visitors to the website, nearly half of which are from outside the US. In India itself, there are some 200-odd million people that are online. This number is expected to grow to 500-600 million in the next five years or so. Secondly, we’ve evolved in the way we cover how technology and social media is transforming everything—right from business and entertainment to current events and politics. We want to successfully chronicle this digital revolution in the Indian market as well.

Any India-specific innovations that we could expect?

The India website will function in a similar way to our global website. The Mashable India homepage for instance, will have a mix of local content that is targeting our existing audience here in India as well as global content. We’ve been investing in building up our technology capabilities. For instance, we launched a predictive analytics tool called, “velocity". It essentially trawls the Web and looks at various social signals, helping figure out what’s going viral or about to go viral. It gives our editors a dashboard to decide what they should be covering and what kind of content should be promoted. We’ll be customizing this for the Indian market as well.

Do you see the Indian market contributing significantly in terms of revenue, going forward?

Currently, India is among our top five markets in terms of traffic. I would think over the next few years India could be one of our largest markets from an audience perspective. On the revenue side, it may take a while to catch up, given how the digital advertising market is smaller, as compared to the US, or UK. Hopefully in a few years’ time, the Indian market will be a meaningful source of revenue. In the meantime, we are focused on building our audience here and developing content.

What about the monetization model here?

We are coming to India with the same advertiser offerings that we have globally. To give some perspective, branded content will play a key role. It’s still new in the Indian context. We want to position ourselves as a premium publisher in the marketplace. We’ve got a long-term commitment to grow here.

Any interesting digital trends you’re seeing globally?

There is a shift in how social platforms are increasingly becoming content platforms as well. Be it Facebook, with Instant Articles or Snapchat with its platform, Discover. This has a big implication for media companies. There are other shifts occurring. For digital brands to measure reach and influence, it will not just be about how many unique visitors you get to your website; rather, it will be about the total size of your distributed audience across these platforms. Video is becoming really big, and if you look at every big social platform that has emerged in the last few years, they are all video-centric. Television has also become more Internet-connected.

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