Steadily subscription-based media plays are gaining grounds in India. Emerging digital media publications such as The Ken has been able to break the myth that Indian readers are unlikely to pay for content. Besides, traditional media houses like Business Standard has been experimenting with the model as it introduced paywall behind some of its content, including columns.
Sensing the demand for subscription-based premium content, Times Internet Group is launching ET Prime in the next four-six weeks. “Team of about 20 journalists has been set up to lead Times of India’s maiden digital content product with a paywall,” says one of the two sources aware of the details of the project.
ET Prime will primarily cover technology, emerging businesses, startups, and others. On the lines of The Ken, ET Prime’s articles would be deeply researched and in a long-form format.
Tanmay Goswami has joined ET Prime as one of the co-founders. The yet to be launched media publication has already hired journalists including Manu P Toms as editor (Internet economy and venture capital), ex-deputy editor of Forbes India – Shishir Prasad.
Anuj Gupta (ex EY manager) has joined ET Prime in the capacity of a lead analyst (pharma and life sciences) and manager.
“ET Prime is slated to invite select beta users in the next three weeks. For first couple of months, it would allow invite-only access,” mentions the second source. Both sources requested anonymity. The ET Prime team would be based out of Noida.
Entrackr’s email to Times Group didn’t receive any response till the publication of this story. We will update the post as the response comes in.
While it’s not clear that how many articles would be pushed by ET Prime on a daily basis, it’s likely to follow The Ken’s strategy. The Bengaluru-based publication writes one original narrative story every day (behind a paywall) for five days in a week with a free access on every Wednesday.
Founded by veteran journalists Seema Singh, Rohin Dharmakumar, Ashish Mishra, and Deck App founder Sumanth Raghavendra – The ken has secured little over $600K in funding from the likes of Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Aprameya Radhakrishna, Girish Mathrubhootham and Pallav Nadhani amongst others.
The sources also point out that the name ET Prime may be re-christened as Prime, which is a common term used by broadcasting media houses (i.e; NDTV Prime Time, CNBC Prime).
Subscription-led media business are poised to grow in coming time as Indian readers are gradually opening up to pay for premium content. Given the reach and dominance of Times Group in the media business, ET Prime will not have to struggle with driving subscription.
Meanwhile, it’s worth remembering that TOI had launched a premium weekly broadsheet ‘The Crest’ in 2008, however it pulled the plug from it in 2013 in the wake of low readership.