Newshunt has 6.5 million monthly users: In talks with the founder

India has a significant population who consumes vernacular data when it comes to reading news. Keeping this in mind, Eterno developed a mobile application called NewsHunt, giving news in regional languages which is now among leading news aggregator mobile apps in India. It currently publishes in 11 languages and covers 80 + regional publications.

Competing with other international players like Flipboard and Pulse, NewsHunt has more than 6.5 million monthly unique users who browse more than 650 million pages each month. Launched in 2010, the app has more than 25 million downloads and counting.

Iamwire caught up with its founder Virendra Gupta for his expert views and experience about the app market in India and the best practices new app players should adopt.

What is NewsHunt? What did you decide to come up with this kind of product?

People in India love to consume content in vernacular and newshunt solves that problem. NewsHunt is an app which allows users to read the news from their favourite news brand in their own language. The app works beautifully on a small java phone to an android to or an iphone with a very minimal data consumption. NewsHunt is an app developed, in India for indians that is widely consumed by indians.

Apart from Indian market, the app is also targeting Bangladesh and Nigeria. Why these two international markets?

The app is doing really great in Bangladesh and we have recently launched it in Nigeria as well with top 5 Nigerian newspapers. Reason being, in these markets the consumers habits and market structure are very similar to that of India’s. So we were quite positive about its success in these markets and to be honest NewsHunt has attracted a decent number of downloads in these two countries.

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How do you see the market competition in the field of news aggregating apps?

There are several national and international players working in this field. But despite of other international players who have already acquired a large user base in this market, NewsHunt is doing impressively great. Compared to Pulse’s per day viewership of 10 million and Flipboard’s 3 million monthly visitors, newshunt has pretty impressive stats. We enjoy a total of 4 to 6.5 million users in a month and that too with a niche as we are targeting a community of vernacular users.

According to you, what is the scope for new players entering in the Indian app market ?

Well, I would say that the scope is huge. India has around 40-50 million real data users. In my opinion, the figures will rise to somewhere around 300 million in next 3 years, that is the target market where majority of people would still love to consume news in their own language. Mobile data consumption is growing, mobile devices and data plans are getting cheaper. The industry is booming with increasing potential of app consumption. But for any company making apps, it should focus on two main things – To solve real problems of consumers and providing great consumer experience.

Talking of app market in general, what key points a new player should keep in mind, before rolling out a new product ?

Its a free market. Before launching any app, we should understand the barriers first.  For example in case of NewsHunt, we have launched this app for every other phone available in the market. Realising that the target groups in this market cannot be defined in terms of the phone they can afford. So always understand your barriers and do a good market research.

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For NewsHunt another major barrier we came across was the large bandwidth of local newspaper and other digital content providers. So to win user’s trust over a traditional digital app, we are continuously adding new features and providing better experience to our customers. This is kind of industry where a company should keep on innovating and keeps on adding more value to its customers. In short the developers should -

  1. study the problems they are solving
  2. have a clear business model answering who will pay you and why.
  3. make an app that is tech centric and engineer centric
  4. keep looking for the data and the key metrics of your business.

Iamwire byte

According to a recent report by KPCB, there are around 67 million smartphone subscribers in 2013 and rising with an impressive rate of  52% YoY. Internet data consumption on mobile phones is also increasing continuously, which provides a clear picture of promising mobile app startups opportunity in India.