Chief growth officer Raktim Das says these platforms will drive the future of news consumption in India.
TV9 Network launched Money9, a multilingual personal finance OTT platform, last month. In March it launched News9 Plus, an English video news magazine in an OTT format. With these offerings the television network has been strengthening its digital presence.
In an interview with afaqs!, Raktim Das, chief growth officer (CGO), TV9, says these platforms will drive the future of news consumption in India.
The Money9 app, loaded with personal finance content, aims to de-jargonise, de-clutter and democratise financial wisdom for the Indian population and fosters the need for personal finance planning, even to the bottom of the pyramid.
It is a multimedia platform - available in text, audio and video. It is available in seven language options- Hindi, English, Bangla, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati and Kannada. With this it aims to reach the underserviced hinterlands of the country as well and provide them investor education and financial wisdom to make them financially independent. Towards this end, TV9 has made it a free platform and its revenue will be largely through advertising.
The app attempts to fill a need gap in the industry. “While there are a plethora of business news channels and equities focused websites, there is no one single platform focused on enabling and empowering consumers to plan their personal finance. Money9 is India’s first multimedia and multilingual personal finance platform,” says Das.
Led by editor Anshuman Tiwari, Money9 has a central team in Noida with separate language teams located across regional centres in the country.
Meanwhile, News9 Plus is the digital descendent of News9, the Network’s erstwhile English news channel based out of Bengaluru. It has the depth and gravitas of news magazines but with the production qualities and story-telling techniques of OTT platforms. It claims to be the world’s first pureplay subscription-driven, on-demand news product.
“No other player in the country has news content with this kind of in-depth analysis, perspectives and insights that our content would have. This is going to drive the future of English news consumption in the country. We will soon see other news publications getting into this format,” he adds.
In 2020, the company shut down its English channel News9 to focus on expanding its digital platform.
Though News9 Plus is free currently, it will soon be a paid service. It will be entirely subscription-driven and will not have advertising. It is targeted to discerning high net worth individuals and English news consumers. At a time when platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime are moving away from a pure SVoD model, Das is confident that viewers will be willing to pay for its content.
“Aimed at delivering news to the ‘GenFlix’ in their language and format, News9 Plus offers an exquisite collection of nuanced news reportage presented in a new-age OTT environment,” says Raktim Das.
The News9 Plus team is led by Sandeep Unnithan, a former editor of India Today magazine.
It breaks away from the 24-hour live news format and instead has special videos with long shelf-life and cater to diverse audience preferences. Content around the top news events of the week are uploaded every week in seasonal format. There is also lounge content. Apart from the content, the other strong pillar is its robust technology.
Das believes this format is going to drive the future of English news consumption in the country. This will also be the network’s connected TV strategy. So the English news viewers, who consume content on connected TV will get access to News9 Plus.
“English television news space has shrunk dramatically over the past few years. The 'GenFlix' English news viewers are not running away from news. They are running away from the cacophony that television news has come to represent in its current form,” he says.