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Ex-TIL honchos Samar Verma and Upen Roop Rai launch Fork Media

Ant Farm activates India’s first premium audience network platform with a bouquet of publishers on board

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | April 30, 2013

Ant Farm, an innovation sandbox that aims to create global brands ideated and built out of India, has announced the launch of its first venture in the advertising space, Fork Media. The website is live at http://www.getforked.in

Founded by Samar Verma and Upen Roop Rai, both of whom recently stepped down from leadership positions at the Times Group, Fork Media offers advertisers innovative content-led marketing solutions, high engagement ad formats and exclusive access to the country’s leading publishers across the online, mobile and video platforms.

Samar Verma

“Our constant feedback from advertisers is that the typical ad formats prevalent on the web and mobile today are flawed. Users tend to tune out advertising; as a result click-through rates and engagement are trending downwards. We saw this as a great opportunity to create seamless, brand-led content propositions that give advertisers longer-term engagement with their target audience,” said Samar Verma, CEO & Founder, Fork Media.

Upen Roop Rai

Upen Roop Rai, Managing Director & Co-Founder, Fork Media, commented, “There is a genuine need to address challenges such as low benchmarks set on pricing, lack of innovation and broken ad formats. This is an exciting proposition for both the publisher for driving optimal revenue levels and the advertiser for creating longer-term engagement with its target consumer group. Our aim is to create meaningful, conversation-based advertising for premium brands. We have seen tremendous success in the past in creating synergies between brands and content, and we want to extend that philosophy at Fork.”

Unlike your typical ad network, Fork puts the brand before measurability and has created a unique index that helps advertisers reach out to their intended audience via the right publisher collaboration. It focuses on alternative revenue streams that can run parallel to the publisher’s existing monetisation efforts.

Further, Fork has created the biggest differentiator in the market with its core proposition – the content marketing arm Thinktank, which is the network’s in-house ideation, content creation and design cell. Fork’s biggest asset, besides its people, is its rapid execution and deployment ability across content and formats.

Even before the official launch, Fork has roped in a number of high-value clients, speaking volumes for its innovative approach. The current roster of publishers on board the Fork platform includes HT Media, The India Today Group, The Hindu and The Daily Mail. This collectively gives Fork a reach of over 25 million premium users across the online and mobile platforms.

More publishers have signed on and official announcements will be made in the coming weeks, and this is just the start to a more aggressive ad play.

Rishi Khiani

“When Samar first approached us with the idea of Fork Media, we immediately saw the potential. He has had one of the fastest growths in the online industry largely due to his disruptive ideas and aggressive approach to monetisation. We are excited with the traction Fork has managed to gain in such a short period of time. It’s a winning proposition for any publisher or brand,” said Rishi Khiani, MD of Antfarm.

Verma has led sales for some of the largest verticals at Times Internet Limited (TIL) and Web18. In his last assignment at TIL as National Head of Sales, he led the way for Economictimes.com, Zigwheels.com and the blog network.

Rai is a former Director of Sales at Indiatimes.com, and will be instrumental in driving relationships with key partners.

Ant Farm is a team of blue-sky thinkers and entrepreneurs who know what it takes to build and scale businesses in today’s competitive landscape. It takes great ideas, puts together all the key ingredients of people, technology, strategy, marketing and money to build these out into real companies that can disrupt and own their categories.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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