HT Media launches digital news in Marathi, Kannada, Telugu & Tamil

Mobile-first publications for the younger demographic now in five Indian languages

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Say hello to four new Hindustan Times platforms
Say hello to four new Hindustan Times platforms

The HT Media Group has launched four digital news platforms – HT Marathi, HT Kannada, HT Tamil, and HT Telugu. The launch marks the HT Media Group’s entry into the western and southern heartland of India where it has so far only had a presence with its English language financial daily Mint and FM radio station out of Bengaluru and Chennai. It recently started a similar platform in Bengali called HT Bangla. With its mobile-first digital news platforms, the target audience is the younger demographic in their own languages. 

The company says that its HT Marathi, HT Kannada, HT Telugu, and HT Tamil platforms will bring regional and local news, health, lifestyle, and entertainment stories along with national and international news. In short, everything – and all driven by what the company claims will be an extensive network of journalists and media professionals across the four new states in addition to West Bengal started earlier. Last November, we reported that HT Media comprehensively upgraded its digital workflow capabilities.

At a time when millions of Indians are looking to consume content in their native language, Hindustan Times aims to be the go-to, mobile-first publication for young Indians to get credible news and an authentic regional content experience without having to use translation capabilities, thus retaining the essence of regional news stories. For us, this journey started with the launch of HT Bangla, and within the last two months, we have launched four Indian language platforms, strengthening our regional presence even further in India,” said Puneet Jain, chief executive officer, Digital of HT Media.

“Going regional will add unique opportunities for advertisers and the new-age, hyperlocal brands to target specific region-based audience cohorts for local launches and activations, and to make a deeper brand connection by reaching out in the language their consumers speak. It would be exciting to see how localization will play a pivotal role in how brands communicate with linguistically diverse consumers,” added Jain.

“According to the Google Search 2020 India Report, there’s an 80% increase in local news searches on Google year-on-year. There’s a massive wave towards regional content across platforms, and as content creators, we understand the need of the audience to consume content in their mother tongue—both from the comfort and the sentiment perspectives—and this launch is a testimony to that,” said Prasad Sanyal, the chief content officer of HT Digital.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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