Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s South Indian media conglomerate Asianet Communications has acquired Newsfast, a Tamil news website that was founded last year, reports Exchange4Media. Newsfast was founded by Mathivanan M, a television journalist. This acquisition marks the fourth — and final — South Indian language that Asianet runs news websites in. Asianet has been running asianetnews.tv and suvarnanews.tv, and also launched a Telugu news website recently.
Newsfast claims to have over a million unique monthly visitors, which it says was bolstered by its coverage of “recent volatility” in Tamil Nadu’s politics. In a statement, Asianet said that it had gotten a ‘head start’ in the ‘intensely competitive’ online Tamil news space, and would leverage Newsfast to augment Newsable’s content, a video news website owned by Asianet. It’s worth noting, Lakshmi Chaudhry, a co-founder and former executive editor of Firstpost, was recently named an editorial advisor at Newsable,
According to a recent industry report quoted by Asianet, Tamil has the highest internet adoption amongst vernacular languages, and Tamil-language audiences are also the most engaged on content with over one-third of them accessing news content online and most of them doing so on mobile devices.
The Express Media Group, which publishes the Indian Express, also recently launched a Tamil website, ieTamil. While Asianet faces off against established giants like Manorama and Mathrubhoomi in Kerala, it will primarily compete with the new media wings of established traditional media organizations in Tamil Nadu. These include newspapers like the Daily Thanthi, Dinakaran, and Dinamalar. Online Tamil news as a standalone business is still at a nascent stage.
There is also Newshunt, a local language news and content aggregator. The company has so far made content from 100 news publishers across 15 languages including Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, and Marathi available to its users. It also provides news from Bangladesh and some African countries. 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.