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Dishing out news differently

Dishing out news differently
Highlights

The development in the presentation of content and changing pattern in the consumption of content through new technology like the artificial...

The development in the presentation of content and changing pattern in the consumption of content through new technology like the artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, big data etc, are reshaping the face of media industry. Some of the innovations to look forward are the news agency Chatbots, VR App, Automated Journalism, Social Outreach App, Interactive Data Journalism, and Text-to-Video creation among others.

One such best usage of technology having gained momentum is for the accumulation and dissemination of news. Providing news on the go from different news sources, for the convenience of a reader has brought news aggregation platforms into prominence. Dailyhunt, Inshorts, Google News, Flipboard etc are some of the names known. Adding further traction to the platform is the personalisation feature and the algorithm to filter fake news. Working on these lines is NewsPlus, a startup from Hyderabad. NewsPlus from Veeoz Labs Pvt Ltd, earlier known as Setu software, is an idea that germinated at IIIT-H in 2014.

Founded by Srini Koppolu, the platform was initially into online educational video aggregation. Identifying an opportunity, Koppolu with Dr Vasudeva Varma the Dean(Research) of IIIT-H, introduced Newsplus, a global news app. “The algorithm developed using natural language processing, provided an opportunity to not only curate education video but other content too. Hence tapping on this opportunity, in 2016, Veeoz was rebranded as NewsPlus,” says C ChittiPantulu, Editor-in-Chief, NewsPlus.

Speaking about how different NewsPlus is from other aggregators, Pantulu says that they have a sophisticated algorithm which can fetch content from the internet and filter fake news from getting into the app. Besides, the content is arranged to make it more personalised for the reader.

Moreover, to increase the attention span of a reader from eight seconds, NewsPlus provides the potential for engagement with the content. “We are passing the power of aggregating content on to the individual reader. With the magazine feature, a reader can engage with the content, by curating a single headline on a specific topic of special interest.”

Working on the celebrity connect with their followers, the startup is introducing a premium feature magazine. Celebrities like actors or politicians can aggregate content about themselves available onthe social media, website, blogs and other media impressions. In this regard, NewsPlus recently launched Tollywood actor, Rana Daggubati’s magazine. The premium magazine assists the actor to keep a tab about his media impressions and an easy access for his followers to read all about their favourite actor.

A startup which cannot make profits or scale to an enterprise will apparently fade off. Banking on a flexible platform and sophisticated algorithm, the startup has branched into the enterprise space. “As our platform can aggregate various types of content from different mediums, we did a pivot in our business model and got into the enterprise space. We are offering our platform to institutions and publishing houses to develop their own customised white label app,” the official added.

Available in English, eight Indian languages and Indonesian Bahasa, NewsPlus has over one million downloads with users in Indonesia, Philippines and other South East Asian countries. The 15-member team startup was bootstrapped initially with minimal angel funding raised. Going ahead, to meet their marketing and engineering needs, they are looking to raise about $1-5 million through venture capitalists.

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