In 2007, The Hindu’s app went behind a paywall, and the reason was simple. The company needed spare cash to pay for their internet bills. Eleven years on, the company is doing a little more to expand digital revenue, starting with Briefcase. True to its name, the app provides a condensed briefing of important national and global news stories. The product is similar to Axios, an American news website whose stories are usually told in just a few bullet points. Veena Venugopal, Briefcase’s editor, indicated that more such subscription products will be coming out soon.
At launch, Briefcase is priced at ₹99 for three months, with discounts for longer-term plans. For context, the Hindu’s e-paper is priced at over ₹200 a month (again, with discounts for longer plans). Here’s what the app looks like:
The app is positioned as morning reading and is updated daily, as opposed to other news apps which update throughout the day. “The app is for someone who wants to be updated on what’s going on around the world,” Venugopal told MediaNama, “but doesn’t want to spend hours reading the newspaper and tracking the breaking news of the day.” Each story is around 250–300 words long, with a section dedicated to things like markets, weather, and fuel prices.
While the output itself is small by design — The Hindu has a team of four working on the editorial side of the project — the company doesn’t have any immediate plans to localize the app into other languages.
Meanwhile, the Economic Times has also started a subscription-only product, ET Prime, targeted at a well-off readership that is probably a few thousand strong. The product is similar to The Ken, which puts out one story a day, and costs ₹2,750 a year. ET Prime is priced similarly, at ₹2,499 a year.