indiatimesBCCL owned Times Internet Ltd (Indiatimes) is planning to launch a Weblogs Inc like unit, essentially an group of blogs on the lines of Gawker Media or Weblogs Inc/MediaGlow focused on specific domains. Our sources had indicated that Abhimanyu Radhakrishnan, Deputy Editor at the groups business channel ET Now will be coming on board to lead the effort. Radhakrishnan, who declined to comment for this story when contacted, is familiar with the blogs space and has worked with Indiatimes CEO Rishi Khiani in the past, having run Web18s tech verticals Tech 2.0 and BizTech 2.0 as Editor At Large.

Confirming the developments to MediaNama, Khiani said that they’ll launch a blog nework within the next month and a half and 10-15 blogs will be launched over the next six months. Depending on their success, it will be extend to 20-25 blogs. The blogs will be niche, vertical blogs, and focus on segments like Consumer Technology, Enterprise Technology, Men’s Lifestyle, Personal Finance. Nothing has, as yet, been planned for the Media and Private Equity domains. Khiani declined to comment on the name for the initiative.

That tech will be a part of the mix was a given: Radhakrishnan used to write a tech blog called TechTonic which is now defunct (update: Radhakrishnan informs us that Tech Tonic was a repository of his tech columns, which has now been moved here). He now writes the blog Tech Now at Economic Times and Times of India. He also hosts a show on ET Now and writes a column in Economic Times’ supplement Corporate Dossier called Technoholik. Competitor HT Media has two blog related initiatives: HT Blogs.com for Hindustan Times and Livemint Blogs.

Our Take

It’s good to see another media company launch blogs: the more the credible opinions in this space from journalists or specialists who have depth in their domains, the better. At the same time, we’d like to see each segment receive a concentrated individual focus, as separate publications, instead of as a group of publications. Each needs to have its own character, and hence needs a different treatment. Niche publications can’t be measured on pageviews alone.

It will also have to be seen whether the blogs are able to operate entirely independently, or operate under constraints that come with being a part of a larger media entity: do they have the freedom to be snarky? At the same time, a larger media entity does offer some advantages: it provides more means of distribution (TV and Print). The leverage that a known media brand provides may also mean that one has easier access to companies (one of our challenges), and may not need to fight for each story that one breaks.

I think launching blogs should be just one of the initiatives from Indiatimes: it’s time that media sites stopped being facsimiles of print: if the medium allows it, what stops Hindustan Times, Times of India, the Indian Express, The Hindu and others from offering more information and analysis, better linkages with historical coxtent than what the copy-desk at a print setup allows?

Disclosure: MediaNama is a niche publication/blog, and there may be areas of overlap between our content and the Indiatimes blogs unit.

(Updates: corrected Techtonic and Technoholik references. Thanks for the update @abhi2point0)

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