The advent of digitisation has massively increased the amount of data we consume every day. If we draw a comparison between traditional media and digital media, it is needless to say that the former has almost overshadowed the latter given its swiftness, easy accessibility and better penetrating capacity. However, despite its established popularity, there’s one thing that digital content failed to achieve, that is, users’ concentration while consuming information.
According to Nelson Norman Group research, “People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.” People browse/scan on the internet, the flow of information in digital media has no barriers, it can be infinite, thus, sometimes leading readers to a deviate from what they actually want to read. They became less specific and more opinionated, instead of reading by the word they went on reading the sub headings, maybe a few lines to create to get the idea of it.
Now when scanning has become our habit, we need to know what’s happening around in a truly specific way without affecting our filters and comfort. Not only the populous wants content based on their language, geography, or beat but also in a very concise way. A brief news piece will attract more users than a detailed editorial these days, that has been the basis of success of short news aggregation apps like InShorts! To make the curation and summarising process even faster, in order to give readers an access to bite sized news pieces in real time, Awesummly came into being.
What is Awesummly?
Founded by Nitin Mishra, Deepak Mishra and Ankit Dhawan in July 2015, the startup uses summarising algorithm to summarise aggregated content from publications around the world. This content is aggregated from more than 500 publications around the world with custom news categories and languages to choose from.
Also having a parallel B2B model, the company is providing APIs to digital media companies. Automated news is much faster than manually generated news and news is all about timing. If one’s getting summary of every news around the world with multiple publications in its catalogue and not to forget we live in a diverse nation so language matters, this can prove to be useful for the busy digital population.
The ideation of company took place in a bar, when Nitin and Ankit were discussing about a Malaysian flight that went missing. The flight number was their concern as they were unable to recall it. They searched it on the internet, the data was huge, scanning was difficult. Eureka moment! The product is a news automating and summarising tool (API & App) that automatically aggregates news from different publications, uses NLP to sort out the relevant information and the content is uploaded. This all happens is a very rapid manner helping people consume relevant data fast.
There can be a question as how clean is this algorithm? NLP is a hard cent to spin due to emotions attached in the language. Nitin stated that they faced grammatical errors/formatting errors in their early days but then worked on improving it. He added, “We worked on improving our algorithm and now we have a product that works just fine.”
The Android app has a clean bright UI with stories shown in a card layout. While we found the app experience to be smooth, there were however slight grammatical & contextual issues in the summarised content. Like mentioned above, the team is woking on making the algorithm better. The app comes with a language selection option between English & Hindi, and also has Google Text to voice integration, these additional features might help them in improving user experience for a larger audience base.
Monetisation & Traction
The company monetises on a subscription-based model, where they provide API to digital news companies/agencies. Previously they wanted to go with the ad-based model but then they decided not to go with it as ads cause distraction and that counts on the bounce rate.
Awesummly is proving four basic plans: basic, silver, gold and premium, all with upgraded features as one moves a level up. Nitin added that the company is planning to work on a revenue sharing model with these news publications, where the news is aggregated from.
The App is rated 4.9+ on Google Play. It generates 15,000 short news daily from and across multiple countries reaching to daily visits of 26,000 unique users, page-views of 52,000 and most of all, 57 percent of this traffic comes from organic search.
Funding & Competitors
The company is currently being bootstrapped. However, it is looking to raise $250,000 in the seed round. These funds will further be deployed for technology expansion and product development, Nitin said.
Awesummly is competing in a market captured 60% by Google News, while publications like Huffington Post are also in queue as they act as a mix of manual and automated content. Noida-based Inshorts, is the immediate competitor to this app. Similarly, on the global level, Summly which was acquired by Yahoo in 2013, could be considered as Awesummly’s predecessor in summarising algorithm.
The market is huge specifically in a growing country like India where infrastructure is growing by the day.
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