TIL to Bring Business Insider To India [Interview with Satyan Gajwani]

Satyan Gajwani
Satyan Gajwani

Times Internet Limited announced today that it is bringing Business Insider to India in a partnership similar to its deal with Gawker Media earlier this year. The idea is to help global brands establish a presence in India, the company said on Wednesday.

The Internet company will be Business Insider’s exclusive partner in India for content development, events, monetization, and syndication. Two months ago, Times Internet partnered with Gawker Media to bring Gizmodo and Lifehacker to India. Local versions of the two sites will be launched in April, the company said.

Under its new chief executive officer Satyan Gajwani, Times Internet Limited has been making a few bold moves. The digital arm of one of India’s largest media group, which killed its mailing services some four months ago, also made investments in companies like Fab, ZopNow, Delhivery, ZipDial, MenXP and others recently. In an interview with NextBigWhat, Gajwani talks about the new Times Internet Limited. Edited excerpts:

Q: Since taking over at Times Internet, you’ve made investments in companies like Fab and also killed product like Indiatimes mailing service? Was it too little too late?

My focus from day one to position Times Internet Limited as a product focused company as opposed to what people perceive us – content centric company. Fab investment was a part of global strategy of Times Internet, and moreover I know Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer from quite some time, and fab has been performing awesome over the past year and so.

Certainly, we will be helping Fab to roll out its Indian operation, however it is still at least 12-14 months away from now.

We decided to kill Indiatimes mailing service as we were not able to compete with players like Gmail and Yahoo. Yeah, we have been bit late to kill it, but you know sometimes it takes time to arrive on decisions:)

Q: How does Times Internet leverage data?

Capturing data would be a top priority for us, and big data is very much important for group like Times Internet. We are sitting on a huge database, and content personalization across our properties is one of our steps towards leveraging data. Meanwhile, how you make big data navigable is a big challenge, and we are spending considerable amount of money and energy to cut through the clutter of data.

Q: How are things with Indiatimes.com? Any signs of profitability in next 18-20 months.

Things have been really improving. At Indiatimes Shopping, we have been able to minimize our burn rate, although I won’t be able to share numbers, but we are amongst top 5 etailers in the country. This fiscal we aim to do business of Rs. 500 crore and hopefully Rs. 1000 crore by the end of 2014.

Q: Are you going to acquire some more companies under TIL this year?

Yeah, at least 4 acquisitions on the card in next 6 months. You would be hearing soon about one of them sometime next week. I can’t reveal much about it at this moment, but it would be a US based firm.

Q: Tell us about the partnership (in terms of nature, content and revenue sharing) with US based online media company – Gawker..

Partnership with Gawker media is more like a strategic alliance. Through this partnership, we will manage and drive local Indian destinations for Gizmodo and Lifehacker. In terms of nature, we will have exclusive rights to the brands such as monetization, content, syndication and sub-licensing of both sites in India. We will be leveraging Times Group’s multimedia resources to help develop and drive the brands locally.

On content front, we will work closely with Gawker Media to define the editorial team and its fabric. Given that both sites would be now run by an Indian operation which we will manage, but it’s in our mutual interest to align its editorial guidelines.

What do you think?