Former Times Internet CEO Rishi Khiani's Ant Farm has announced the launch of its first venture in the advertising space, named Fork Media (http://www.getforked.in). Founded by ex-Times Group executives Samar Verma and Upen Roop Rai, Fork Media offers advertisers content-led marketing solutions, high engagement ad formats and exclusive access to the country's leading publishers across the online, mobile and video platforms.
With the official launch, Fork has brought in publishers on board that include 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.
The company, however, says that it differs from a typical ad network and claims to put the brand before measurability and help 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," the firm explains.
Verma had earlier led sales for some of the largest verticals at Times Internet and Web18. In his last assignment as national head of sales at TIL, he led Economictimes.com, Zigwheels.com and the blog network.
Upen Roop Rai, managing director and co-founder, Fork Media, states, "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."
Rai was the former director of sales at Indiatimes.com, and will be instrumental in driving relationships with key partners for Fork Media.
"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," says Rishi Khiani, MD of Antfarm.
Khiani joined Times Internet as chief executive officer in August 2009. He resigned in August 2012 to launch Ant Farm, an innovation sandbox to support business ideas from India, in November 2012.
Before joining Times Internet, Khiani was chief operating officer at Web18. He joined Web18 after selling his web design and technology firm, UrbanEye, to Network18 in 2006.