Times Internet, the digital venture from the Times of India group, has inked a strategic partnership with the US digital media company Ziff Davis to launch Indian editions of Ziff Davis’s gaming site IGN and men’s lifestyle site AskMen.
Times Internet told this deal is part of its Times Local Partners (TLP) initiative, through which the company partners with global digital companies to build and launch their Indian editions. Earlier this year, Times Internet had partnered with Gawker Media to launch Indian versions of Gawker’s technology focused sites Gizmodo and Lifehacker. It had also partnered with US business and technology news publication Business Insider to launch Business Insider India last month.
Similar to the Gawker and Business Insider deals, Times Internet will have exclusive rights to IGN and AskMen brands and their content in India and the company intends to use The Times Group’s multimedia resources to help develop these brand locally. Its not clear as to when the company plans to roll out these properties, although these sites will probably be launched on their respective ‘.in’ domains and redirect visitors from India to these Indian editions, similar to how Gizmodo India, Lifehacker India and Business Insider India works.
IGN will be key here for Times Internet since the gaming segment is still relatively less explored in India, as compared to other segments like Technology, Gadgets, Health, Lifestyle and others, but it brings in a significant advertising potential for Times Internet.
Avinash Bali To Head IGN India: Times Internet has also appointed Avinash Bali to head IGN India (Hat tip – @MCVIndia). The company has confirmed this appointment to Medianama. Prior to this role, Bali was the editor of IndianVideoGamer.com for almost 1.5 years. He was also the Channel Editor (Gaming) for Web18, where he led the gaming section for Tech2.com and co-created the monthly gaming supplement CHIP Insider. He’s also had stints at IT Nation and SKOAR.
Two properties in same space? What’s also worth noting is that Times Internet will now operate two prominent content properties in the men’s lifestyle space – MensXP and AskMen.
Times Internet recently acquired men’s lifestyle focused content property MensXP and merged its own property Guylife.com with the site. Interestingly, MensXP business head Angad Bhatia had recently claimed that MensXP had surpassed AskMen in terms of unique visitors, pageviews and total time spent.
The current partnership leads to an interesting situation where Times Internet will be operating both the top two players in men’s lifestyle space, which can provide them significant leverage with advertisers looking for men’s audience. However, one is owned and the other is licensed, so it will be worth watching out to see how Times Internet builds both the properties and if there will be a conflict of interest going forward, although Times Internet CEO Satyan Gajwani claims that both the properties have different positioning and value.