Social news and entertainment site BuzzFeed is opening an office in Mumbai and launching an India edition later this year, reports New York Times’ India Ink. This will be the sixth International edition for BuzzFeed which has previously launched dedicated editions for UK, Australia, Brazil, Spain and France. Besides India, the company also plans to expand to Germany, Mexico and Japan in the near future.
The report says BuzzFeed will setup a team of about four to five local journalists in India, led by Rega Jha who is currently a staff writer at the website. A BuzzFeed representative told the publication that this Indian edition will be focusing on original reporting and they believe that content generated in India would appeal to the global audience as well.
It’s worth noting that BuzzFeed has been publishing articles on Indian general interest topics for quite some time now, although it seems to have gained pace over the last month or so. The company’s vice president for international operations Scott Lamb mentioned that they will be focusing on general interest topics until they have a team on the ground in India.
However, Lamb hasn’t disclosed on what other verticals would they be focusing in India once they set up a team. In the US, BuzzFeed covers topics like Politics, Business, Technology, Sports and DIY Ideas besides life and entertainment topics.
Besides the regular articles, BuzzFeed is primarily known for its quizzes and Listicles i.e. articles in form of lists which are usually link-baity in nature. The company however had setup a new Investigative reporting unit last October and had roped in ProPublica’s Mark Schoofs to lead it.
Local partner or going solo?
The problem that International publications face in Indian market is local expertise, which is why many of them have launched their Indian editions in association with media companies here. While BGR launched its Indian edition with Mail.com-Zee Group joint venture, IGN, Gizmodo India, Lifehacker India, Pursuitist, Business Insider and AskMen launched their respective Indian editions in association with Times Internet. Atlantic Media’s mobile-first digital publication Quartz is also launching its Indian edition in partnership with Scroll.in.
Huffington Post was also expected to launch its Indian edition this month and was apparently is in negotiation with two companies for this, however it seems to have been delayed now.
That being said, it’s worth noting that The New York Times had launched India Ink and ZDNet launched its India edition on their own. We wonder if BuzzFeed is also taking the partner route or launching on its own, but its plans to hire dedicated journalists and setup an office in India indicates the latter.