Times Internet*, the digital arm of the Times Group, has inked a strategic partnership with Business Insider, an American business news site, to launch Business Insider India Edition. Times Internet expects to launch the India edition in 8-10 weeks.
As a part of the collaboration, Times Internet will have exclusive rights to Business Insider’s content, events, monetization, and syndication within India. Times Internet intends to use The Times Group’s multimedia resources to develop the Business Insider brand locally.
Times Internet has not disclosed the financial details of the partnership. It’s also not clear whether Business Insider would launch its India site on a separate URL or redirect users coming from India to India related content on the same URL, however, Times Internet has informed MediaNama that those details still need to be worked out. Apart from that, Times Internet would also look after creating local content for the Business Insider India edition, which means that partnership is just an extension of BI’s brand name in India. Update: Times Internet informs us that it would be getting a proper editorial team and won’t be just an extension of BI’s brand.
The collaboration is the part of Times Local Partners (TLP), a recently launched initiative by Times Internet, to partner with global digital companies to launch and build in India. In January 2013, TLP partnered with Gawker Media to bring Gizmodo and Lifehacker to India. It claims that it intends to launch the local versions of those site by April 2013 with a similar hybrid model of local and global content curated for Indian audience.
Founded in 2007 by Henry Blodget, Business Insider is an American business news site and claims to have 15 million monthly visitors worldwide and 9 million unique monthly visitors (ComScore data). It also offers a subscription research service, Business Insider Intelligence, that provides in-depth insight, data and analysis of the mobile industry. Earlier this month, the site had launched its Australian edition.
It’s also worth noting that Times Internet has been on an acquisition spree for building its content portfolio. It had acquired MensXP, a men’s lifestyle focused content property, recently, merging its own property, Guylife.com with the site. With the introduction of Gawker’s sites, will Times Internet shut down its tech focused content site, Technoholik? This kind of indicates that Times Internet’s home grown niche content brands have not been able to create an impact as Indian equivalents of popular International content sites.
Nikhil adds: Times Internet is bringing external, well established brands to India, but from a sales perspective, media planners aren’t exactly familiar with these brands. With this, Times Internet will be pitching multiple new properties to advertisers in India, and I wonder whether they’ll set up a separate sales team for TLP. The problem that Web18 had a few years ago was that it had rolled out far too many properties in a very short period of time, and to both build consumer awareness and sales for those brands was difficult, which made those businesses unviable. Times Internet appears to have tried something similar with the rollout of Luxpresso, GuyLife and a few other properties, and my guess is that they would have faced a similar problem with these. By bringing in established brands, they’ve addressed a part of the problem. Perhaps, if they use a single sales team, they’ll be able to add pageviews to the Times Internet portfolio to pitch to media planners, and the sheer size of their reach might tilt things in their favor. But I see these as short term measures. Times Internet doesn’t own these brands, and as I’ve mentioned before, I think they would have been better off building a few key brands over a period of time, across print, web and mobile. We’ll find out what works after the first of their Gawker Media properties launch.
Note that Business Insider turned in a small profit in the last quarter, and is apparently growing. they claim to have a significant non-US reader base.
Disclosure: Times Internet is an advertiser with MediaNama
Updates: added disclosures and Nikhil’s take