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Exclusive: NewsHunt Acquired By Ver Se; Rediff Exits

Eterno Infotech, the Bangalore based company behind the popular mobile news application NewsHunt, has been acquired by Ver Se Innovation, Eterno Founder Chandrashekhar Sohoni has confirmed to MediaNama. With this, Rediff has exited the business, having initially acquired an undisclosed stake in Eterno in 2008.

It’s interesting that Ver Se Innovation should acquire NewsHunt: Ver Se’s primary business is job classifieds alerts on the mobile, for which consumers pay a subscription fee of around Rs 30 per month, through their telecom operator partners.

Subscription businesses in India are currently in a state of flux since the TRAI’s mandate of asking for user consent for renewals on subscriptions, and with SMS spam guidelines impacting marketing and fresh user activations. Telecom operators are looking more at the moble web now, and perhaps this is where NewsHunt provides Ver Se with an entry into the mobile web space. NewsHunt already has job classifieds, so we don’t really know what’s in it for them, apart from an exit for investors and founders.

NewsHunt, Sohoni claimed, has over 10 million downloads from the web, including around 5.5 million from GetJar, and has pre-embedding partnerships with Nokia and Micromax. NewsHunt aggregates Indian newspapers in 10 different languages. Newspapers they’ve tied up with include Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Eenadu, Prajavani, Deccan Herald, Dainik NavaJyoti, Dinamalar, The New Indian Express, Andhara Prabha, Indian Express, Lok Satta, Kannada Prabha, Divya Bhaskar, Mathrubhoomi and Malayala Manorama.

It monetizes through advertising on the application, through “Click to Call”, “Click to SMS” and “Click to Open Website”, as well Text Ads, but monetization has been difficult, Sohoni said.

We’ll have more on the deal later.

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