Jagran New Media eyes share in e-retail adex with Khojle.com

The publisher aims to generate additional revenue through content-to-commerce, commissions from e-commerce transactions, and e-commerce advertising solutions, including display and video ads, as well as ad production and activation services for brands featured on Khojle.com.

Akansha Srivastava
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Bharat Gupta and T Koshy

(L) Bharat Gupta and T Koshy (R)

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Delhi: Digital advertising has found a new mojo in e-commerce or e-retail advertising. In fact, a few marketers have been telling BestMediaInfo.com that they are allocating more than 70% of the digital advertising budget to e-retail advertising and content-to-commerce. 

Eyeing a share in this e-retail advertising pie and content-to-commerce opportunities, Jagran New Media, the digital arm of Jagran Prakashan, has joined forces with the ONDC Network to launch Khojle.com, its own e-commerce platform. 

While Jagran New Media is the first Indian publisher to venture into the e-commerce space in the world, ONDC is in talks with more publishers to ride the e-commerce wave. 

By partnering with ONDC, news platforms can generate revenue through e-commerce transactions on their platforms, expanding beyond typical advertising and subscription income streams.

Sharing the rationale behind the inception of Khojle.com and partnership with ONDC, Bharat Gupta, CEO of Jagran New Media, explained, “We decided to venture into the e-commerce space due to the evolving focus of brands on the e-retail sector.

However, running an e-commerce platform requires a product, an aggregated audience, and relationships with sellers. ONDC addresses the technological, seller, and transactional aspects, while we leverage our audience on the Jagran New Media platforms to initiate our content-to-commerce journey.”

ONDC is on a journey to democratise e-commerce in India. Furthering its cause, it has started onboarding news media platforms in its journey. 

T Koshy, MD and CEO of ONDC, said, “We realised that ONDC needs to engage a broad cross-section of enterprises with a large digital consumer base to expand the adoption of e-commerce across the country. E-commerce penetration in India is still at a very nascent stage, predominantly utilised by the privileged few. To broaden the base of e-commerce, we need to collaborate with various types of enterprises.”

Explaining why it is a win-win for both ONDC and media platforms, he said, “It’s not a cakewalk for news platforms to forge thousands of partnerships with sellers. Through this collaboration, media platforms receive technological support from ONDC while we expand our e-commerce base.”

This occurs amidst a challenging period for news media platforms, which are grappling with retaining their advertising revenues as tech giants such as Google and Meta continue to dominate the digital adex in India. 

Digital news media platforms are already in a battle with tech giant Google, advocating for a fair share of ad revenue and proper content monetisation. Compounding their challenges are e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart, which are securing a significant portion of the Indian digital advertising expenditure (adex). 

In 2023, e-retail platform advertising commanded 22.49% of the overall digital media spends, amounting to Rs 9,149 crores, according to a dentsu report on Indian adex. Along with that, a big chunk of brands’ digital advertising spend is also going to content-to-commerce across social media, short video apps, and e-commerce platforms. 

Koshy mentioned that news platforms partnering with ONDC and venturing into e-commerce and content-to-commerce will enable them to claim a portion of the expanding e-retail advertising expenditure (adex) pie.

“A platform like ONDC enables and empowers publishers to develop an alternate source of revenue, which, if developed well, can be far higher. It should reduce the monopolistic situation and give publishers a fair and equal opportunity to scale up revenue,” said Gupta.

This initiative represents an additional revenue stream for Jagran New Media and aligns with ONDC's mission to broaden e-retail penetration in India. 

Gupta informed BestMediaInfo.com that in addition to earning commissions from e-commerce transactions, the larger opportunity lies in developing alternative revenue streams through content creation, advertising production, and brand activations on Khojle.com.

“We’ll have offerings similar to any other e-commerce platform that exists today. For example, brands can put their ads on the platform. We will also help with content production for brands on the platform,” added Gupta. 

In addition to subscription and advertising revenue, Khojle.com serves as the front-facing platform for Jagran New Media's agenda to generate money through content-to-commerce. 

For instance, if a user is reading an article on hair care and comes across a shampoo recommendation, they can click on it to be directed to Khojle.com.

Focusing on Tier 2 and 3 cities, Khojle.com will be integrating e-commerce opportunities into the browsing experience across Jagran New Media's websites, which have an audience base of over 97.5 million. 

Users can access Khojle.com's retail marketplace while reading and browsing content across product categories such as fashion, home and kitchen, groceries, electronics, personal care, and others. Jagran New Media has also launched the Khojle.com app.

Content-to-commerce shortens the gap between awareness and action for brands, added Koshy.

Expanding beyond digital news platforms, Jagran is also planning to implement content-to-commerce in print news by integrating QR codes that will direct readers to Khojle.com.

Recently, speaking at the Indian Magazine Congress, Koshy also suggested that the Association of Indian Magazines as a collective can either set up a seller application or make the catalogue visible through an existing seller app to sell subscriptions. 

During the Congress, he also said that by July, ONDC will offer advertising as a service too.

ONDC has sparked renewed interest in the Indian e-commerce sector, with tech unicorns like PhonePe, Ola, and Meesho, along with FMCG giants like ITC and Unilever, showing confidence in the government’s initiative to disrupt the dominance of a few players such as Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, and Swiggy in online retail.

Discussing ONDC's ultimate objective of onboarding numerous brands across various categories, Koshy outlined the ambitious targets: "Presently, e-commerce penetration stands at around 7% on the buyer side. Our goal is to elevate this to 25%. On the seller side, the penetration is currently between 1 and 2%, and we aim to surpass 10%."

ONDC has facilitated over 49.79 million transactions since its launch in January last year. Between January 2023 and March 2024, ONDC fulfilled 50 million orders, with two-thirds being mobility transactions.

Jagran New Media