Gadgets 360°, a company which houses NDTV Gadgets, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from mobile commerce and payments venture Paytm, Inflexionpoint (which owns the handset company Obi Mobiles), Pramod Bhasin (Founder, Genpact), Sixth Sense Ventures (Founded by Nikhil Vora), Vindi Banga (Former Chairman, Unilever), Hiro Mashita (Founder and Director of M&S Partners).
NDTVGadgets.com claims to be India’s “largest technology website with over 20 million monthly unique visitors” (as per Google Analytics). Gadgets 360° claims to have a valuation of $50 million. Kawaljit Singh Bedi is the Managing Director of Gadgets 360°, while former Seventymm CEO Bhawna Agarwal has been appointed CEO. Agarwal has previously also worked with Yatra.com, and is on the advisory boards of OYO Rooms, VentureFund, among others.
Not just a news site anymore
NDTV Gadgets appears to have learnt a few tricks from PhoneArena, The Mobile Indian (an Afaqs owned business; backed by SeedFund), and 91Mobiles (raised $1M from IndiaQuotient and others last year): these sites have gone beyond mere content to providing tools that help the audience select handsets. For some of them, monetizing traffic comes via affiliate sales (in case of NDTV, via BuyT). As Paytm and One97 founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma put it in the NDTV Gadgets 360° press release, this appears to be a “a compelling market-place experience which marries content, curation and commerce.”
The Marriage of Content, Curation and Commerce
We’re likely to see more of the marriage of content, curation and commerce, especially with businesses that operate at large scale: at that scale, advertising inventory sells at very low yields – maybe a little higher if you’re leading in a vertical – but it isn’t always easy to cover the cost of generating that traffic via advertising only. Hence, the emergence of content businesses that rely on affiliate sales. NDTVGadgets has tools for comparing mobiles, as well as choosing tablets and handsets.
Another example of monetizing content with commerce is if a site like ours surfaces contextually relevant ecommerce links alongside stories.
In case of NDTVGadgets.com and Obi Mobiles, ideally, disclosures regarding Obi Mobiles parent Inflexionpoint should be provided to readers, just as they may have done when their Managing Editor was on the board of a handset company. Of course, that won’t be necessary if NDTV Gadgets 360° decides it isn’t a news business anymore, and it becomes a marketplace with reviews, instead of a review site with a marketplace. It may soon become hard to tell the difference between the two.
Disclosures: Paytm and NDTV’s Indiaroots are advertisers with MediaNama