What has 19 billion pageviews, 100 million downloads, 2,000 publishers, 50,000 stringers, and 20,000 regular news contributors?
The answer is Bengaluru-based Dailyhunt.
In eight years, this startup has aggregated news for millions of information-starved Indians. Since 2016, it has acquired four companies, beginning with OneIndia in July 2016. Now, it is readying its platform for video, which it believes will become the primary driver of information. At present, the company has 400 hyperlocal channels on its video platform.
In a conversation with YourStory,Dailyhunt Founder and CEO Virendra Gupta tells us how he built his business, the opportunity of content for new India, and the new business models the company is exploring.
“Integration of local news and video is going to be our play. We see a lot of interest from brands in understanding local advertising,” says Virendra, famously known as Viru.
The company recently acquired LocalPlay, which will enable it to open up video content in smaller towns. This deal will also allow local businessmen to advertise on the Dailyhunt platform to target consumers in their area.
The company is looking at interesting business models with handset companies where it can work on a revenue-share model with advertising and data. For example, if a user shares a news piece with a friend who then opens the link, that friend becomes a potential new customer.
While digital advertising spends in India is only worth $2.5 billion today, it is predicted to be growing faster than TV and Print. This will allow Dailyhunt to gun for $100 million ARR – its current ARR is $51 million.
It also plans to reach 600 districts across the country from its current presence in 400 – India has a total of 725 districts. “For the next 10 years, we are going to be all about Bharat or the India that does not speak English to take to consumption in a big way with smartphones,” says the CEO. This Bharat includes about 400 million people.
At some point in the near future, Dailyhunt plans to revive content commerce, and with the acquisition of LocalPlay, it believes it can power local videos to drive local advertising. “We have built our own real-time bidding engine for ads. Our tech stack is using machine learning to help our readers, advertisers, and content creators,” says Viru.
It is no wonder then that the average time spent on the platform per user is 27 minutes a day, while it is
just a bit higher for a global giant like Facebook at 41 minutes. He says,
“India is addicted to content. It is a land of stories and that means a business like ours is only going to grow.”
Since inception, Dailyhunt has raised close to $150 million from investors like Sequoia Capital, Falcon Edge Capital, Omidyar Networks, and Matrix Partners.
Viru believes that content creators can make money on the platform with an increase in ad revenue. “We are not just an aggregator anymore. We are creating a community and want people to scale their content,” he says.
With three billion video views today, Dailyhunt believes that the growth of smartphones and communication technologies will make videos the content of choice.
The company competes with the likes of InShorts and Glance. But that does not perturb Viru, who says that one must watch India’s purchasing power and the amount of money people from Bharat will spend.
According to him, Indians will spend $2,000 every year in the coming decade and he believes there is an $800 billion market for the digital world.
Zenith, a Publicis Groupe media company, says the digital advertising market will be worth Rs 20,193 crore by 2021 from the current Rs 9,572 crore – clearly showing how digital is going to be a major business for brands.
The platform aims to help content creators become influencers brands would want to work with. Eventually, Dailyhunt plans to directly work with these brands. At present, it is creating a platform that will have an editorial workflow for content creators, staying true to its origins of being a curator.
When asked what books he likes, the illustrious founder laughs. “There is a lot of time spent solving for the next set of customers. This is how I have been since childhood – it was always about work and being practical. I get inspired by people more than books,” says Viru.
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