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“We want to move beyond linguistic barrier”: India Today’s Milind Khandekar on Karnataka Tak’s launch

The Karnataka-focused channel aims to cater to the Kannada-speaking population with content offerings in their native language.

India Today Group has just launched its first Karnataka-focused channel called Karnataka Tak. This falls under Tak, the group’s digital-first mother brand.

In December 2021, as a part of its foray into digital media, the group relaunched Tak app as ‘India’s first personalised video news app’. A single destination under a unified branding, the app offers content across genres, and covers national, regional and special interest segments.

Also Read: “News genre is a different animal to deal with than a ‘Netflix’ because of recency and context issues”: Vivek Gaur, India Today Group

Commenting on the launch, Milind Khandekar, managing editor, Tak Channels, India Today Group, says that the attempt is to reach to a wider and more tech-aware audiences.

“There are over 600 million people in India whose native language isn’t Hindi. As a brand, we want to move beyond this linguistic barrier. Over the last two years, we have gradually expanded beyond Hindi, and launched in regional markets like Gujarat, Punjab and Maharashtra. With Karnataka Tak, our target will be to cater to the 44 million Kannada-speaking people in their native language,” he adds.

The platform already has 19 Tak channels, covering 11 content genres. The app is built on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to customise content in accordance with a user’s preference. The content treatment for Karnataka Tak will be similar to the benchmarks created through the Tak universe.

The South Indian news market includes players like TV9, Public, Suvarna, BTV News, News18 Kannada, Raj News, to name a few. These players also have their own digital platforms. They have all been in the segment for quite some time and, hence, have established a loyal audience base.

On how Karnataka Tak will establish itself in the market, Khandekar mentions, “I think the market is huge, in terms of print and television. Tak is a digital-first platform. The content is exclusively curated for progressive audiences, unlike a traditional medium. So, as far as competition is concerned, we see this market as an untapped opportunity.”

On why the media group chose digital over TV for its foray into the southern market, Vivek Gaur, COO, Tak Channels, India Today Group, shares that the Internet adoption rate in Karnataka is higher than the national average. Kannada-speaking audiences are keen on staying updated 24x7 and wish to consume content every single minute.

“Tak, as a platform, has AI-ML technology, which enables tracking the user’s preference for content and lists videos accordingly. The app offers personalisation by continuously refreshing the feed and offering content that users have interacted with. You can’t do this through television,” Gaur concludes.

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