Indian Express Group launches Techook, plans five new language portals

Jayadevan PK January 23, 2017 3 min

Indian Express Digital has just launched Techook.com, a new site focussed on gadget reviews. The site, built on a stack based design, is likely to take on NDTV’s Gadgets 360. It wants to simplify smartphone buying for the user.

With Techook, the company is promising rigorous reviews and performance reviews and a rating based on seven days of testing. Techook will also curate news and also publish how-to videos.

Techook will be an ad-free site for now. One likely path to monetise the site could be to build in commerce into the property. Given how publishers aren’t excited by the prospects of ad-driven growth, it only makes sense to try new models but Express isn’t talking about it as yet. (Also read: Turn off ad-blockers or don’t read us, say top Indian publishers)

With Techook, Indian Express is promising rigorous reviews and performance reviews and a rating based on seven days of testing. Techook will also curate news and also publish how-to videos  

Most of the ad dollars go to Google and Facebook and it is hard for publishers to compete with them. One of the few companies that built a small yet sustainable business on a commerce-driven model and eventually was bought over by The New York Times for $30 million is Wirecutter.

The Indian Express group is one of the few traditional media houses investing heavily into the digital space. The company recently launched InUth.com, a millennial focussed site, and has beefed up its digital media arm over the last year or so. In total, the company garners 80 million monthly unique users through multiple properties. Here are edited excerpts of a quick Q&A with Sandeep Amar, CEO of Indian Express Digital.

What’s the long-term plan for Techook?

In long term, we will cover all electronics and consumer durables as well. We plan to keep Techook ad-free, to make sure users get a great experience and best guidance.

What are the ambitions of Indian Express Digital?

Internet business changes very fast. Right now, the vision is to grow traffic and revenue 100% year on year. We have already done that in last eight months — we will continue this surge. We are the fastest growing digital publisher company in India and we want to continue doing the same. The next steps are to launch in five languages and offer most innovative products for all Indian markets. We are working on products on lifestyle, health, specialised product for women, international products and some stealth e-commerce and services projects. We think like an independent digital company, that is the only way to succeed — we do not think like an extension of a media company. Commerce and services are the future revenue projects for us and we are getting into those areas very seriously.

“The next steps are to launch in five languages and offer most innovative products for all Indian markets… We think like an independent digital company, that is the only way to succeed” — Sandeep Amar, CEO of Indian Express Digital  

Tech is cluttered with multiple blogs and sites. Your strategy to win?

I think most of the content on the gadget space is relatively weak in India. I am a gadget freak myself and have all kinds of gadgets, but the advice which comes from India is subpar. For many products, user reviews are actually better than some of the editorial reviews. We really need not just one, but many quality sites with quality content and great UI — most of the current sites are all SEO keyword-driven sites with low quality content and pathetic UI. I am really confident that Techook will beat all the competition, as soon as threshold user discovery happens — which generally takes three-six months — the product will be miles ahead of the competition in India.


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