jagraninextgoogleEven as Murdoch caused a stir in the online media universe by announcing Internet users might have to pay to read news from News Corp publications online (via Reuters), Indian publisher Jagran Prakashan has joined Google’s News Archive Partner Programme to digitise and offer archives of iNext, its bilingual daily, Exchange4Media reports. At present, Jagran only has an e-paper online for iNext.

Inext is circulated in 9 cities – Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra, Meerut, Dehradun, Patna and Ranchi. Google’s previous experience in digitising archives includes scanning and indexing old dailies such as Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, and Google News offers archived newspaper content as well. The company says that it will “simply point our crawlers at it and include it in News archive search” and that their content is safe behind subscriptions and payment gateways. It only displays a line or two of the news while aggregating from various publishers and sends readers back to the original publisher’s website for more.

Some newspapers in the US have even closed down due to dipping ad revenues and news wires such as Associated Press have had to adopt new strategies to keep up (via Forbes). Murdoch has already said that News Corp publications would go paid, and often vented about Google and require users to pay to read and access articles, which would sustain their online business.

Whether Jagran should have partnered with Google to upload its archives, however, is a different matter. Though Jagran has various divisions (collated below) that have an Internet presence, digitisation itself is a costly affair. So it is able to conserve its resources by outsourcing to Google, and benefits from the increased reach the search engine provides. This, in the context of regional content, acquires more significance – regional media may see it as a platform to a wider audience, which is what is required. But on the flip side, Jagran does end up being dependent on Google.  Jagran also hosts its e-paper at an unusual URL: http://www4.jagran.com/ , with Google ads on the page. Perhaps Google ads will be used to monetize iNext archives?

Note that Jagran group has already given the Internet mandate of Jagran.com to Yahoo in 2007, which now claims an online readership of 1.5 million per month.

Other Jagran Properties

  • Flowers.JagranShop.com was set up in partnership with FlowersnPetals
  • J9 Ventures – Web, WAP, Voice and VAS (J9 Mobile). Why did Jagran have to go to Rediff-funded Eterno Infotech to offer the mobile application for Nokia N97 instead of developing its own?
  • J9 Brandz develops solutions for corporate customers – keywords, shortcodes, branded content and micro-WAP portals in association with J9Mobile.
  • J9 Shop was set up in 2007 for electronic gizmos and household appliances
  • Khojle.in – an online classifieds site was set up in February, 2008 and has not been updated since March this year.
  • online reverse auction portal Jeetle.in created in April, 2008 but not updated after September, 2008
  • MMI Online: set up in October, 2008 to test businesses in the Web 2.0 space. MMI Online serves as an incubation centre to launch new web properties.
  • Jagran Solutions – marketing and branding agency
  • Social welfare portal Pehel
  • Jagran Engage, another marketing division for out-of-home media. Engage is present in 27 states.

Besides these, it also publishes Sakhi, a women’s magazine in Hindi, City Plus an English tabloid and runs Radio Mantra.

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