India at the heart of global digital media transformation: Adam Ostrow4 min read . Updated: 20 Nov 2015, 02:52 AM IST
Mashable's chief strategy officer on the news website's India launch, branded content partnerships, local content, revenue targets and growth of clickbait journalism globally
New Delhi: Mashable Inc., a decade-old website focused on technology, entertainment and business news, on Tuesday launched its local edition in India in partnership with India.com—a joint venture of Penske Media Corp. and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. Mashable India will have dedicated editorial teams based in Mumbai and New Delhi for local content.
In an email interview, Adam Ostrow, chief strategy officer at Mashable, spoke about branded content partnerships, nature of local content in India, revenue targets and growth of clickbait journalism globally. Edited excerpts:
In an earlier interview, you said that branded content will play a big role for us in India. What kind of brands are you working with?
Globally, we’ve run branded content programmes for companies like Hewlett-Packard (H-P), Gap and Cathay Pacific. We’re just getting started in India, but have seen a lot of interest from local brands looking to engage in this type of marketing.
We expect to launch our first Indian programmes soon.
What kind of content do brands expect from Mashable?
We produce a wide variety of content for our brand partners, including articles, community challenges, that run across our social accounts, and increasingly video through our Mashable Studios group.
The goal is to offer these same capabilities to brands in India.
What kind of content can we expect from Mashable in India? Break up between global and local content?
From its early days, Mashable has chronicled how digital media and technology are transforming the world, and India is at the heart of that change right now.
Our editorial team has already begun producing stories, ranging from a saree flash mob in Delhi to the huge price of the new iPhone in India. We’re excited to combine these types of local stories with our global content, which the India market is already consuming.
How much revenue do you expect from the India market in the next few years?
We don’t disclose specific financial metrics, but we do expect to see about 10% of our revenue come from outside the US this year. We see Mashable India playing a larger role in that over time, particularly as the Internet population continues to grow and a greater share of advertising budgets move to digital.
What is Mashable’s global turnover? What business model does it follow in other markets. Do consumers pay for content?
Our primary business model in all of our markets is an ad-supported structure.
What is the USP (unique selling proposition) of Mashable, considering there are innumerable digital news sites both in India and elsewhere?
Brands come to Mashable for our influential audience, our expertise in technology and social media, and the unique voice we bring to our editorial and branded content. By working with a partner like India.com that is established in the market, we’re confident we can bring these attributes to India quickly, authentically and at scale.
What kind of eyeball benchmarks are you targeting with your launch in India?
We don’t release specific benchmarks publicly, but India is one of Mashable’s top five markets globally, and we think it has an opportunity to become one of our largest in the coming years.
What do you have to say about the increasing trend of clickbait journalism, globally?
First off, I don’t think it’s a new phenomenon. There have always been and always will be publishers that look to exploit algorithms and manipulate the audience for short-term traffic gains.
However, we believe that for media companies to be successful in the long term, quality journalism and developing a brand that the audience trusts is imperative. Mashable is focused on creating content that informs, inspires and entertains while highlighting what’s new and what’s next for the digital generation. This approach has lead to a community that continues to grow across all of our channels year after year.
Any other international markets that you’re planning to launch Mashable in?
Over the past 18 months, we’ve launched in the UK, Australia, Southeast Asia and now, India. We’ll continue to add resources in these locations over the months ahead. But when you look at the globe, there aren’t many places where digital is not having a profound impact on society and culture. So we’ll continue to look at new opportunities for expansion.
What kind of response have you got since your launch in the UK and Australia?
We’re very pleased both with the revenue and audience growth we’ve seen in the UK and Australia. Being in these markets has also had huge benefits to us as an organization. We’re much more of a 24x7 global media company now, and as we have people on the ground that can cover stories, which are developing in real-time in their specific regions.
We’ve also found that our audience is interested in global content—it’s not uncommon for us to have a story start out in Australia or the UK and then get hundreds of thousands of social shares all over the world.