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“In web publishing domain, we need to experiment, without being scared of failure”: Jagran New Media’s Bharat Gupta

The CEO elaborates on the challenges and revenue opportunities of Indian language web publishing business.

Jagran New Media is the digital wing of Jagran Prakashan, one of India's leading media and communication groups, with interests spanning across print, OOH, activations, radio and digital.

It creates and publishes online news and information content across genres like news, education, lifestyle, entertainment, health and youth. It offers content in 12 languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, English, Urdu, Assamese, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Bengali and Gujarati.

Heading a large Indian language web publishing business, comes with its fair share of challenges, audience segmentation, etc. Bharat Gupta, CEO, Jagran New Media, takes us through these aspects in an interview at the recently held third edition of Digipub Week.

Edited excerpts:

What is Jagran’s perspective on content? Are you a print company or a content company?

We started our journey as a print company. But over the years, we evolved and discovered that different audiences consume content differently. That’s when we got our research and segmentation done to diversify into five different products. So, the idea was to introduce a purpose to content, because there’s already enough generic content available.

We expanded from to five websites across health, education, women, fact check and entertainment. To create sustainable business models, we had to start thinking out of the box and beyond advertising.

Making the best use of the creative content, creates syndication opportunities. If the organisation is creating content for itself, then there’s also an opportunity to create content for other companies. Over the last five years, we have realised that the only way is to evolve into a content company, where news and information is just a segment of the whole play.

How far is Jagran from exploiting its true potential, on the revenue front?

In 2018, our primary source of revenue (90 per cent) was display advertising. The challenge was that it wasn’t enough to make us sustainable. That’s where the concept of syndication clicked.

India is a very interesting market. It has the second largest Internet population. After establishing the credibility of content, the natural expansion was to outsource Hindi-led content, or provide podcasts to another partner. This is how syndication became a new revenue source.

Additionally, a lot could be done in client servicing. After many discussions, we started to explore the power of storytelling with our clients. We had a great content team, but can we use the same team to create a better narrative for an advertiser? That’s what shaped into a third revenue bucket.

Finally, during the COVID pandemic, when a lot of other revenue streams went dry, we experimented with subscription with our strongest product, i.e., e-paper. We got 10 per cent conversions for e-paper users, which was very motivating.

In this domain, we have to continuously experiment, without being scared of failure. Display advertising contributed about 85 per cent earlier, today, its contribution to the overall pie is only 65 per cent. We have created 35 per cent of new revenue generation streams.

How is Jagran using technology to scale its content and distribution? Can you elaborate on your data management efforts?

As we grow our business, we wear three hats - content, technology and policy. When it comes to technology, the policy, which we internally follow, is ‘build by partner’. So, we try to concentrate on our core and for the remaining things, we either buy or partner with someone.

As a content-first company, our core is content. While 30-40 per cent of the traffic is limited to our own platform, about 60-70 per cent comes from third-party sources, like social media platforms or search engine like Google.

There is a lot going on, when it comes to policy. What are the big gaps? Is content distribution calibrated, from the Indian market perspective?

For India, which is very diverse in nature, there are many first-time users coming in. They may not be very sure about safety and security. For them, maybe a product like Google is God, because they feel it can answer all the questions.

However, while the medium has democratised the way people can access information, at the same time, it has also given birth to misinformation. But technology can not be blamed here, as people are using it in the wrong way.

Ensuring privacy, content accountability and a redressal mechanism are important. In 2018, when General Data Protection Regulation was getting implemented, we got GDPR accreditation done by EY. We want to ensure the safety of user data.

You can watch the full interview below:

Digipub Week 2022 is supported by MGID (presenting partner) and AndBeyond.Media (associate partner).


It is a global advertising platform, helping brands reach unique local audiences at scale. It uses privacy-first, AI-based technology to serve high quality, relevant ads in brand-safe environments. The company offers a variety of ad formats, including native, display and video, to deliver a positive user experience. This enables advertisers to drive performance and awareness, and publishers to retain and monetise their audiences.

Every month, MGID reaches 900 million unique readers, with 200 billion ad impressions, across 25,000 trusted publishers. For more information, please visit:


It is a global SSP providing new-age ad tech solutions to publishers. Our holistic platform, with technology at its epicentre, caters to more than 1,000 media publishers and content creators. Being in the industry for over seven years, our sole aim is to optimise operational efficiencies, maximise yields and provide programmatic solutions in order to monetise and generate incremental revenue through advanced and varied adtech solutions.

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