Lakshmi Narasimhan CEO, Web18
Web18 is all set to strengthen its hold on maximum number of internet users in India and now it has targeted the Hindi speaking audience by launching moneycontrol.com in Hindi. The company had recently re-launched another flagship news portal IBNLive.com. Lakshmi Narasimhan, CEO, Web18 speaks at length about both the new products in a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Q) You just celebrated 10 years of moneycontrol.com and with this you’ve also proved your metal by remaining the number one English business news portal for a decade and now you launching money control.com in Hindi. Do you think that a vernacular web portal has that much potential to grow? We at Web18 have strived to provide our customer with new innovations and value added features. The launch of Moneycontrol.com in Hindi did not arise out of a sporadic thought, but rather was triggered by an overwhelming user demand for the product in the vernacular. We are certain that the extended services of moneycontrol.com in Hindi will, in the years to come, show manifold growth, as did moneycontrol.
Q) Keeping the different TG in mind, what different features have been added to the Hindi portal? A) We have launched the Hindi version with the popular, time-tested, on-demand features that have made moneycontrol.com India’s leading financial portal, and work towards making it a leader in its own segment based on the feedback and demand of the varied TG we will be catering to with it.
Q) How difficult will it be to maintain the same quality in Hindi as you do for your English portal? A) At Web18, we are well versed in catering to our linguistically varied audiences with Josh18, our Hindi horizontal portal. Launched in October 2007, it is India’s largest Hindi website, which boasts of approx. 3.63 million pageviews and 190,000 Unique Visitors per month. We are confident that Moneycontrol.com Hindi will pose a similar success story in the year that follows, making it a leader in its segment.
Q) Although it is early to say, but what are your expectations from the new property and how attractive will it be to advertisers? A) We are certain that Moneycontrol Hindi will revolutionize the financial online space in the vernacular segment with its quality content and reliable analysis. I would like the property to speak for itself, but we are optimistic that the outcome will be as satisfying as its predecessor.
Q) Now coming on the re-launch of IBNLive.com, what are the major changes that make it user-friendly? The new look of IBNLive hopes to give our users a more clutter-free, user-friendly experience. we have now. The site now provides a rich multimedia content experience. Earlier, you could only read the news. Now, you get to Read, Watch the video, View photos, Vote and discuss the article – all on the same story. And then you discover more content.
Q) With the launch of Blaze, you have brought CNN-IBN journalists to the computer screens. Now the audience can directly interact with them. With the advent of new technology, how interesting has this networking been? Blaze is the newest addition to our ever growing host of interactive features. We are very happy with the positive response we have received in such a short time-span, since the launch of this feature. It is very encouraging to see how many people are interested in connecting with our journalists beyond the channels. Today’s generation is a lot more proactive with what’s happening in the world around them and want to be heard.
Q) After the TRP war on small screen, is this a social networking war going on internet as other rival channels also have similar tools like Blaze? It’s not about a TRP war. It’s about being able to provide our viewers with the latest in technology. Social Networking has caught up as a vital means of communication and marketing. We are simply a means to ensure that users have access to the advantage of technology, to help make news a more interesting and interactive element.
Q) Do you also plan to take your portals on Web 2.0 platform or beyond? We have already incorporated Web 2.0 features in IBNLive and our other portals. For instance, readers can now add any of our content to their social graphs on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Q) Please elaborate on the new in terms of advertisements on IBNLive.com. IBNLive has recently launched talking banners of 728x90 & 300x100 running hand in hand as well 400 x 300 running with 300 x 100.
Q) What is your vision and expectation with the re-launch of IBNLive.com? It’s not a vision, per se, that led to the re-launch of IBNLive.com. It was more the need to transform the passive consumption of news and provide a more people-involving format; the new interface largely looks to involve people in the process of consumption of current affairs, in an attempt to add their voice to the media’s voice, and give them a chance to speak as well, rather than restrict them to the editor’s opinions or choices.