Anirban Roy Choudhury
Media

“With RP Sanjiv Goenka Group as our partner, we can now go for scale”: Vikram Chandra, Editorji

Launched in 2018, Editorji has announced that the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group has acquired a majority stake in it.

Most, if not all, of us are accustomed to The New York Times' famous tagline ‘All the News That's Fit to Print’. However, everything that’s fit to print may not be relevant to all, an argument that's often raised in forums. In an age of personalisation, you only read what is meaningful to you.

Keeping this is mind, Vikram Chandra, former chief executive officer and editor, NDTV, launched Editorji in 2018. No clue if it’s linked to the NYT's tagline, but Editorji's reads ‘News That Fits You’.

Chandra calls Editorji a platform that attempts to fix everything that is wrong about video news. Using artificial intelligence (AI), Editorji learns about people’s interests, and then creates content playlists. Personalisation is key. "Something that the Spotify does in music, but nobody tried to do it for video news," adds Chandra.

From two million downloads, how can we take Editorji to 20 million downloads? This question got Chandra talking to potential investors. Yesterday, Editorji announced that RP Sanjiv Goenka (RPSG) Group has acquired a majority stake in it.

Editorji, that has a workforce of around 55, was launched with HT Media and Airtel as its investors. "They will remain our partners and I will continue to lead it as managing director," said Chandra.

He believes this infusion will help Editorji market itself better and shoot for scale. "The technology is ready and we have received great feedback so far. But if you want to do stuff that can change the world, you need scale. There is no better partner than the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group. With them as our partner, we can now go for scale."

RPSG Group, which has been on an acquisition spree in the last five years, has Saregama in its media business. Apart from licensing the thousands and thousands of songs that Saregama owns, it also sells Carvaan - a transistor radio-like music player that has emerged as one of the best gifting options for millennials.

Saregama has also launched Yoodlee Films, a studio that commissions films and series to producers, and then sells the rights to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, etc.

In 2017, RPSG Group forayed into FMCG business for the first time by launching packaged snack brand Too Yumm!. In the same year, it acquired Apricot Foods, an FMCG brand that sells packaged food under the brand name Evita.

It re-entered the QSR space by launching restaurants in Mumbai, acquired gourmet food marketer Nature's Basket, and took a majority stake in online Ayurvedic brand Dr. Vaidya's. It also co-owns Athletico de Kolkata (ATK), a football team in the Indian Super League, and recently also picked up a stake in Mohun Bagan, India’s oldest football team.

On many occasions in the past, Sanjiv Goenka, the group’s chairman, had mentioned that he wants to venture into news, especially digital. RPSG Group recently acquired the rights to publish Fortune magazine in India.

Mint quoted Goenka as saying, "We had been working independently to start our own digital news venture. But Editorji came as a readymade opportunity. The way it is structured is very interesting, as it is an AI-driven model. It gives simple news without judgment."

So, will Editorji and Fortune shake hands and walk together. "A premium financial news publication will be valuable to Editorji," says Chandra, asserting that Editorji is built in a manner that can support content from several publications.

Chandra has spoken about AI-driven tools that can help advertisers generate a higher return on investment. "Those tools are ready, but before we go to the brands with them, we need to attain scale," he says, adding that these tools can redefine the way advertisers connect with their target audience.