Focus on Apps | TelecomDrive.com
Network18 has developed its new News18 app – keeping in mind the latest trends in the digital space. The app provides news, photos, videos and live TV in 11 languages, so that users from all over the country can consume content in the language of their choice.
Avinash Mudaliar, Chief Product Officer at Network18 speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s News18 App and how it is driving innovation.
How did the company initiate the development and execution of the News18 app?
At Network18, we have always looked closely at internal and external factors like user feedback, industry trends and best practices when it comes to product development. With affordable data prices, 40% of mobile traffic in India was from the consumption of video services in 2017, and we anticipate this figure to grow to over 70% in 2020.
We know that across the industry, over 90% of the time spent on videos is in Hindi and other regional languages. There are already over 200 Mn regional language internet users, which is far more than the number of English language users. The number of regional language users is also growing much faster.
The new News18 app has been developed keeping these trends in mind. The app provides news, photos, videos and live TV in 11 languages, so that users from all over the country can consume content in the language of their choice. Since many of these users are nascent users of smartphones, we have built an interface that is extremely easy to navigate.
What are some of the innovative features of News18 that make it unique?
Apart from offering 16 live television channels on the go, the app gives users the ability to switch effortlessly between reading the news and watching it. The app provides news, photo, video and live television, so that users can consume content in the format of their choice.
Given that network conditions are not always optimal, the app allows users to download content to consume later when they are offline. They can also bookmark the content they are interested in to come back to later.
How does this app bring value to its user base? Please share some USPs.
The News18 app makes News18’s high-quality and award-winning journalism extremely accessible to audiences across the country. News18 draws its strength from its unmatched network of thousands of journalists who bring in news as it happens from every nook and corner of the country.
This also makes News18 the default destination for any breaking news. With 16 live television channels, over 1.6 million articles, 3 lakh videos and 63 thousand photo galleries across 11 languages, the app is the one-stop destination for Indian users.
Moreover, the News18 app offers its users a very personalized news experience, based on their interests. Users can set their default language and television channel, and select the categories of news they are interested in.
The app then creates a personalized feed of curated news for that individual user, based on the categories they have selected. These categories span Politics, Technology, Business, Gadgets, Sports, Auto, Lifestyle, World, India, Health & Fitness, Football, Cricket, Opinion and Entertainment. Users have the ability to control their own experience by changing their preferences at any time.
How do you think this will drive digital enablement for the unconnected masses?
Given that the rural internet base will overtake the urban internet base by 2021, there will be an even greater demand for news in regional languages and more nascent users who are in search of authentic news in the language of their choice.
The News18 app’s recommendation engine will help them get personalized, relevant content and the content offlining feature will help them consume the content irrespective of network quality. The app has been designed to be accessible to even first time digital consumers: we have conducted a lot of user research and extensive iterative prototyping to ensure this. We have also kept the app relatively light to ensure that it works seamlessly across various types of smartphones.