Starting off with seven states, the portal will expand to cover pan-Indian states over the next 18 months.
In an association with ETV Networks (which is now owned by the TV18 network), Network18 has launched a local news portal called www.news18.com. The portal, launched on January 26, is set to cover news stories from the inroads of the country. To start with, there are seven tabs on the website, each dedicated to one state including Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
"We are planning to leverage it for the digital platform," he says.
The website will also be launched in different versions for mobile and tablet platforms to focus on news at the state and city levels. The company already runs news portals including IBNlive.com, IBN Khabar and Firstpost.com.
The main target group for the new product is split into two sets. The first set consists of the people from the non-metros who want to read about what is happening around them, and the other set is of the people who have migrated from not-so-big cities to the metros and want to know about their respective hometowns.
Singh adds, "There aren't many websites providing this kind of news regularly. Those few that are present are strong in their own regions and aren't present country-wide." The other such apps are www.merinews.com, oneindia.com and Goacom.com.
Available on the web, mobile phones and tablets, and as downloadable apps for iOS and Android devices, news18.com will be the only portal covering state-specific news from across India. However, other larger sites like indiatimes.com have a tab to specify city-specific news.
The deep reach of ETV News into every corner of these states generates a rich and unique stream of news, updated by the minute. The website will not be monetised to start with. However, in a few months, when the company has value to offer to the clients in terms of stabilised page views, it may start advertising.
The Network18 Group is a media and entertainment company with interests in television, internet, films, e‐commerce, magazines, mobile content and allied businesses. Through its subsidiary 'TV18 Broadcast', the group operates news channels such as CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz, CNBC‐TV18 Prime HD, CNN‐IBN, IBN7 and IBN Lokmat (a Marathi regional news channel in partnership with the Lokmat group).
TV18 also operates a joint venture with Viacom, called Viacom18, which houses a portfolio of popular entertainment channels such as Colors, Colors HD, MTV, Comedy Central, Vh1, Nick, Sonic, Nick Jr. /Teen Nick and Viacom18 Motion Pictures.