Connect with us

Tech News

India’s Times Internet isn’t ceding ground to US rivals Facebook and Google – TechCrunch

Published

on

The aggressive push by Silicon Valley companies and Chinese firms to win India, one of the last great growth markets, has decimated many local businesses in recent years. With each passing day, Amazon is closing in on Walmart-owned Flipkart’s lead on the e-commerce space. Uber is fighting with Ola for the tentpole position of the ride-hailing market; and Google and Facebook dominate the ads business, to name a few. But a handful of companies in India have not only survived the growing competition, but they have built businesses that are positively thriving.

Media conglomerate Times Internet, one such company, says that its properties now reach 110 million users each day and 450 million users each month. To put this in context: Facebook and Google have about 300 million monthly active users in India. Facebook, which is mired in controversy over the spread of misinformation on WhatsApp in India (and other regions), has not revealed its growth in the nation in last two years. But in a marketing pitch, the juggernaut says its family of apps (marquee Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram) reach 350 million users in the nation each month.

In a rare industry move, Satyan Gajwani, vice chairman of Times Internet, shared an overview of the conglomerate’s business on Tuesday, revealing the ever growing tentacles of its ambitions.

If the numbers are so huge, why self-publish? Gajwani declined to comment but his company is in a unique situation. For all its scale, Times Internet remains one of the least talked about conglomerates of its size in the country. Most news organizations in India compete with its media outlets, which may explain why it is under-reported in the press.

The ever-growing portfolio of Times Internet companies

The subsidiary of 181-year-old Bennett Coleman and Company Limited (popularly known as Times Group) operates more than three dozen properties, including newspaper Times of India, online outlet Indiatimes, advertisement business Colombia, venture arm Tventures, and streaming services Gaana and MX Player . And nearly all of these properties are growing, Gajwani said.

For instance, Times Internet’s news outlets have amassed 265 million monthly active users. The Times of India, the country’s most read newspaper and news website, alone has 212 million monthly active users, up by 44% since last year. Times Internet’s regional digital periodicals such as NewsPoint, Navbharat Times, Maharashtra Times, Vijay Karnataka now have 122 monthly active users, he said.

Music streaming service Gaana, which raised $115 million from Tencent and others last year, reached 100 monthly active users in March this year, the service announced last week. MX Player, a video playback app that doubles as a streaming service that Times Internet acquired for some $140 million last year, is one of the most popular Android apps in emerging markets.

During the first month of ongoing IPL cricket tournament, one of the hottest events in India, 118 million users tuned into Times Internet’s Cricbuzz, a news and entertainment service dedicated to sports. As the ecosystem of mobile gaming begins to gain major traction in India, Times Internet says it is building a portfolio of apps in this space, too.

Its lifestyle properties such as MenXP, iDiva, and Whats Hot have 40 million monthly active users and its videos clock more than 200 million views each month. These properties are exploring an additional revenue channel by selling products directly to customers, Gajwani told TechCrunch in an interview.

Times Internet vice chairman Satyan Gajwani

Moving beyond ads

Chasing that avenue illustrates Times Internet’s growing push to grow its business beyond ads. Most of Times Internet’s properties are built on top of ads and don’t cost users anything for access. Its own advertising business, called Colombia, now supplements some advertisement on its network and is used by more than a dozen outside brands including Ola, ABP News, and Hotstar.

But online advertising still can’t compete with those of TV and print in India, Satish Meena, an analyst with research firm Forrester told TechCrunch. So in recent years, Times Internet has announced a number of subscription services across many of its properties.

“Especially for premium publishers, an ads-only business model is not likely to last or sustain in the long run,” Gajwani said. Last year, Times Internet announced Times Prime, a subscription bundle that includes access to premium version of Gaana, an ad-free experience on Times of India, and discounts on a number of third-party services such as food delivery Swiggy, retailer BigBasket, and theatre chain PVR Cinemas. Gajwani said Times Internet has hit a million customers across its subscription services.

Part of Times Internet’s push to expand its revenue channels is its growing focus on Tventures, its VC fund that made early investments in a number of startups including edtech startup Byju’s and logistics startup Delhivery, two unicorns. It has also invested in ride-hailing service Shuttl, and cricket fantasy app MPL among others.

Gajwani said Tventures looks at “use cases that can benefit from its growing network.” And that’s one of the big advantages of Times Internet’s scale. The properties they own enjoy great advertisement benefits across its sprawling network. “There are very few companies — with exception of Google and Facebook — that have our level of scale,” Gajwani said.

Times Internet, which employs over 5,000 people, also operates Times Bridge, an investment firm that ties with international brands to help them launch in India. Some of its strategic partners include Uber, Airbnb, and Coursera. It also partnered with a number of news outlets including Business Insider, TechRadar, Huffington Post (which, like TechCrunch, is owned by Verizon Media Group), AdAge, PCMag, and Gizmodo Media properties Lifehacker and Gizmodo to launch them in India.

But it isn’t all success, there have been less successful ventures particularly in the media segment.

The Indian versions of Lifehacker, Gizmodo, TechRadar, and PCMag failed to attract significant audiences in the nation and have already closed shops. Huffington Post ended its partnership with Times Internet in 2017 and it now wholly controls Huffington Post India.

Gajwani admitted that Times Internet realized working with some niche publishers isn’t so sustainable. “We have some partnerships that we maintain that are doing well such as Business Insider,” he added. Today, Times Internet is no longer primarily looking at publishers for future partnerships, and instead focusing on “platforms and technologies.”

A couple of hiccups aside, the biggest challenge for Times Internet going forward is generating sufficient revenue from ads and convincing enough users to become paying customers. Times Internet generated $202 million in fiscal year 2018 at a loss of $23 million, according to regulatory filings. In an interview last week, Gaana CEO Prashan Agarwal said his music streaming service, which dominates the market but is not profitable, will introduce a number of premium plans across a wide range of price tiers to attract users.

Gajwani said he also hopes to build Colombia into one of the biggest ad networks in India and tap 20 million paying subscribers by 2023. He said some properties within Times Network could raise additional cash from outside investors in the coming future.  These are ambitious goals, but Times Internet is one of the few firms in India that realistically has a shot at co-existing with dominant overseas tech platforms.



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech News

Apple urges WatchOS update after “actively exploited” flaw

Published

on

Apple has released watchOS version 7.6.1, an update the company says is important as it addresses a potential security problem. The update is available for the Apple Watch 3 and later models, with the patch arriving only days after the big 7.6 update was released to the public. Users should update their watches as soon as possible.

READ: Apple Watch Series 6 Review: Six months of Pandemic Intervention

According to Apple, the update addresses “a memory corruption issue” by introducing “improved memory handling.” The problem, the watchOS update notes, could potentially allow an app to “execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges.”

The patch notes go on to explain, “Apple is aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.”

Overall, this is a minor update for watchOS 7, which first hit Apple Watch devices back in September. If you own a supported Apple Watch model, you can update it by launching the Apple Watch app on iOS and heading into the Software Update menu. You’ll need to charge your watch’s battery before the update will start.

A few days ago, Apple released the macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 update for Mac computers that addresses the same IOMobileFrameBuffer issue. If you own a Mac that runs Big Sur, be sure to intall this update, as well, to help ensure your device’s security.

Continue Reading

Tech News

Huawei P50 and P50 Pro pack Dual-Matrix cameras for high-end photography

Published

on

Following multiple leaks, Huawei has officially unveiled its P50 and P50 Pro smartphones. The new mobile series expands Huawei’s P Series lineup, offering consumers a high-end mobile photography experience in a sleek package. The new P50 offerings include the company’s XD Fusion Pro Image Engine alongside Huawei XD Optics and True-Chrome Shot.

Huawei puts the emphasis on the P50 Series phones’ camera capabilities, noting that the new lineup ushers in its new Dual-Matrix Camera design boasting “true to life” image quality. This is the first P Series model to feature “computational capabilities,” according to Huawei, which work at the software level to fix any optical errors introduced into the images.

Huawei claims this computational system can exceed what is possible from optical design alone, offering up to 25-percent more image detail compared to a similar setup lacking the restoration tech. Beyond that, the P50 models build upon the photo engine introduced with the P40 series, instead offering the XD Fusion Pro Image Engine with new Super HDR tech, a Super Color Filter system, and the True-Chroma Image Engine.

Among other things, Huawei boasts the P50 Pro’s camera offers what it claims is unprecedented zoom capability with a 200x range. The company says that images captured at up to 100x are “incredibly clear,” while images up to 200x still retain ample detail. Users also get ultra-wide-angle shots with a lens equivalent of 13mm, plus a macro photography capability that can focus as close as 2.5cm to an object.

As far as image recording is concerned, the P50 smartphones support up to 4K capture with full focal range support. The phones pack a new AIS Pro image stabilization system that helps keep videos clear, particularly when the user has zoomed in on a subject.

As expected, the new phones feature Huawei’s HarmonyOS 2 software launched in early June. The P50 Pro model, the most notable of the two handsets, features a 6.6-inch OLED display with up to a 120Hz refresh rate, 2700 x 1228 resolution, and 450ppi. Other features include the Snapdragon 888 4G, 8GB of memory, 256GB storage, a 13MP front-facing camera, 4360mAh battery, SuperCharge support, and an IP68 rating.

The P50 series marks Huawei’s first flagship launch featuring its HarmonyOS mobile operating system. Because of US sanctions against the company, the P50 and P50 Pro lack Google services and apps. Likewise, Huawei doesn’t include 5G support for either model, with the company’s CEO Richard Yu citing the US sanctions as the reason for this decision.

Huawei will begin selling the P50 Series in China with a starting price of around $900. It’s unclear whether the company will ever launch the phones in other markets, however.

Continue Reading

Tech News

New Galaxy Z Flip 3 case leak shows wild, wonderful foldable future

Published

on

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 leaked today in the form of a set of official Samsung protective cases. Normally this would not be a major news event, but the style and color schemes delivered with these bits of hardware have caught our attention in ways that achieve more than the average case. What better way to accentuate the unique nature of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, with its foldable display panel, than to deliver cases that wouldn’t otherwise function on a device with a more traditional form?

With the cases leaked by 91mobiles today, we see leather, clear, and silicone cases. We see spaces left open for the back or out-facing cameras, LED flash, and touchscreen. We see a keychain style hook, a fabric pull with a euro punch style hook, and we see colors that should match the first wave of Galaxy Z Flip 3 devices very nicely.

Samsung’s not one to shy away from bright colors and deep contrast in device casings or official protective cases for devices. If you’re going to pay hundreds of dollars for a smart device you’ll use every day of your life for the next several years, you’re going to want that device to be distinctive in its outward appearance, yes?

The cases shown in leaks today cover Blue, Purple, Yellow (dark yellow, almost mustard yellow), black, and possibly gold. There’s also the clear (transparent) option – as is generally the case with cases.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is expected to be fitted with a 1.9-inch display on its back (near the back-facing or out-facing camera array). It’s expected to have a 6.7-inch display inside that folds in the middle. The external camera are both tipped to be 12MP, while the inside (front-facing) camera is tipped to be 10MP.

These specifications are very similar to what’s expected of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, with its 3x 12MP cameras on the back side and 10MP front-facing camera (with another 4MP camera inside). Both devices are rumored to be released with IPX8 resistance to water.

These devices and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch 4 will likely appear at the next Samsung event. The Samsung Unpacked event of which we speak is set to take place on August 11, 2021. The release date for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 will very likely be mid to late August, 2021.

Continue Reading

Trending