One of the biggest regional language news publisher Malayala Manorama has decided to pull out its content from DailyHunt, an Indian-language news aggregator. This ends an association between the two that began in 2005, around the time when DailyHunt (then called NewsHunt) first launched.

Malayala Manorama’s head of national marketing, Boby Paul told MediaNama that the attempt is to bring back the audience to the publisher’s website instead of directing them to third-party apps and websites. “Our internal research suggests that our content is being funneled from such stand-alone aggregators apps to a lot of long-tail websites. We don’t want to risk losing our audience to other websites,” he said. DailyHunt was the only aggregator that Manorama was working with, he added.

Malayala Manorama claims 12.5 million monthly unique visitors. “We have a comfortable traffic presently and can pull out of DailyHunt,” Paul said. Stand alone aggregator apps often don’t send referral traffic to websites. “On aggregation platforms content is lost. We are the market leader, but smaller brands too, get the same display as us. As a result, our brand value gets diluted on such apps,” he added. He said that the publisher plans to optimize its existing distribution channels for bigger referral traffic. Earlier this month, the publisher added OnManorama to its portfolio to target younger audiences.

DailyHunt currently aggregates content from over 100 publishers across 15 Indian languages. The aggregator claims to have over 28 million monthly active users (with an install base of 120 million phones) and over 4.5 billion page views monthly. According to the company, it updates with “35,000 items published daily”, offering users aggregated news content, and has paid ebooks, short stories and paid-to-read magazine articles, comics and video. Its competitors include apps like InShorts and Magzter.

Impact on revenues

News aggregators typically give a share of advertising revenues to the publishers they source content from. “DailyHunt paid us for content views. We had also agreed on a minimum payment, in case our content did not meet a certain number of views every month,” Paul said. When we asked Paul about how this might impact their revenues, he said that the decision will have a small impact on the company’s digital revenue for a short period of time and that the company is making necessary changes to its digital strategy to offset the impact.

Malayalam is one of the biggest regional language publishing markets in India and the move is likely to affect DailyHunt more than Malayala Manorama. Recently, Indian Express Digital made a foray into the market with ieMalayalam.

On platforms 

Malayala Manorama’s move may trigger other bigger websites to pull out their content from such aggregator platforms, especially considering that news publishers stand to gain little in terms both revenue and traffic from such apps. Asked about Facebook instant articles, Paul said, “We have a skeletal presence on Instant Articles, but aren’t investing much.”