Alibaba Group owned news aggregation app UCNews has hired veteran journalists Padampati Sharma and Vivek Shukla as ‘official commentators’ for the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy 2017, reports Exchange4Media. Sharma and Shukla will provide opinions, insights and analysis of all remaining matches to be held on 14th, 15th and 18th June 2017. Both authors have more than 20 years of experience with various media outlets including Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Times of India among others.

The development comes after the company said it will pay bloggers, authors, and self-publishers to contribute content on its ‘We-Media’ blogger platform hosted on UCNews. The company had said that it aims to hit 1000 writers in India and Indonesia markets, and these writers can earn up to Rs 50,000 a month as per its claims. Alibaba Group said in January that it would invest close to Rs 200 crore over the next 2 years into India and Indonesia operations, especially in its content and media businesses.

It decided to start paying writers for content after the company noticed a shift in what Indian users were consuming. UCnews said that the WE-media platform witnessed a growth in non-news news related content like blog posts, independent write-ups, imagery feeds, video logs, etc.  UCNews app features news content in 20 different categories including news, cricket, technology, entertainment, lifestyle and movies.

UCNews borrowed paid content strategy from its competitors

The strategy employed by UCNews—pay writers to generate content, providing them with an incentive to write more—is taken from portals like Wattpad which allow writers to make money out of their content via ads. Every time a reader views an ad on a Wattpad story, the writer earns money. Publishing platform Medium also said that it will start rewarding writers and content creators. The platform’s founder Evan Willams said that Medium altered its business model and decided to pay writers after its monetization strategy became an “extension of a broken system”.