Times internet TechRadar

Times of India group’s digital venture Times Internet has inked a strategic partnership with the UK-based media group Future Plc to launch the Indian edition of its technology news and reviews site TechRadar.

This deal is part of the company’s Times Local Partners (TLP) initiative, through which Times Internet partners global digital companies to build and launch their Indian editions. Previous partnerships include Gawker MediaBusiness InsiderZiff Davis and Pursuitist. Times Internet’s website suggests that its international investments Fab.com and Skift are also part of this initiative.

TechRadar will be a part of TLP’s tech vertical which includes properties like Gizmodo, Lifehacker and IGN and Times Internet will be an exclusive partner in India for content development, events, monetization and syndication. The deal period or the terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

There is currently no information when and how the company plans to roll out this property. For context, Gizmodo India and Business Insider India were launched on its respective ‘.in’ domain while IGN India was rolled out as a subdomain of the original IGN site. However, like all the previous deals, the company will probably redirect visitors from India to its localized India edition.

Future Plc claims that TechRadar is UK’s biggest technology news & reviews site, registering 20 million unique visitors every month. It offers news, opinion and reviews for mobile phones, tablets and other electronic products like cameras, laptops and television among others. TechRadar had launched a localized US edition in April 2012 and rolled out an Australia edition in October 2012.

T3 Magazine

What’s also worth noting here is Network18 group’s Infomedia18 had previously launched T3 India, the Indian edition of Future Plc group’s tech property T3 as a print magazine, although we had heard from sources that the magazine’s operations was significantly affected following layoffs in August last year and the license of T3 will not be renewed in the future.

More Confusion or Advertiser Leverage?

Times Internet is continuing to license brands which competes with its own brands and with the TechRadar deal, it will operate four sites with overlapping technology coverage – two licensed (Gizmodo India and TechRadar India) and two owned (Times Of India and The Economic Times, both do technology news and reviews). There was also Technoholik which was shut last May after the launch of Gizmodo India.

On one end, these four large properties could provide significant leverage to Times Internet with advertisers looking for tech audience because of the sheer size, however we are curious to see if there will be any conflict of interest for the company going forward, since two of them are licensed brands and the remaining two are owned.

Times Local Partners Rollout Till Now

Gawker Media for the Indian editions of Gizmodo and Lifehacker which went live in May 2013.

Business Insider for its Indian edition which went live in September 2013.

– Ziff Davis for Indian editions of its gaming site IGN and men’s lifestyle site AskMen. IGN India went live in December 2013 while AskMen is yet to go live.

– Luxury blog Pursuitist to launch and manage its Indian edition at pursuitist.in. The site is live but is currently a placeholder page with links to Pursuitist.com.

Medianama Take

The idea behind Times Local partners seems to be acting as platform for foreign media companies who want to expand to India but are not familiar with the market.

While the concept is quite similar to the Zee Group and Mail.com partnership which rolled out Indian editions of BGR and OnCars, what’s different here is that Times Internet is redirecting users from India to the respective India editions, enabling them to monetize an existing base and invest in growing the audience and brand relevance locally, instead building the traffic from ground up like in the case of BGR.in and OnCars.in.

This is also reminiscent of the Web18 rollout few years ago wherein it rolled out far too many properties in a very short period of time and is still struggling with its Internet business, which has led to a regular changes in its strategy. However, Web18 had rolled out its own products while Times Internet is bringing in established brands to India, after trying to build its own properties like Technoholik, Luxpresso, GuyLife and others, which doesn’t seem to have fared that well.

This could be for two reasons – one is that Times Internet is choosing only established brands as partners, which reduces its efforts to build consumer awareness around a product and allows them to experiment with which site works and which doesn’t.

Another reason is the company is probably stacking up these popular International media brands to showcase and get a massive valuation, if and when it goes for an IPO offering.

We are curious to see how the company scales each of these properties and whether it can convert these licensing agreements into a profitable business. Note that Times Internet doesn’t own these brands and it’s possible that these companies might not renew licenses once they get a foothold of the Indian market and instead manage them in-house.

Disclosure: In terms of content, there may be areas of overlap (and hence competition) between TechRadar India and MediaNama.