Jagran New Media follows the data to develop new products, grow its audience

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, United States


Developing sustainable business models continues to be top of mind for publishers, and during this week’s Webinar, INMA members heard from Debosmita Bhattacharya, product head at Jagran New Media (JNM), about how the company has leveraged data insights to grow its business.

Although the Webinar was originally planned as a South Asia-focused conversation, it attracted members from beyond South Asia, explained Medhavi Sekhri, head of INMA’s South Asia division.

“I think publishers globally, regardless of region or size, have to move quickly and decisively to seek new sources of revenue to support their journalism,” Sekhri noted, explaining why the presentation attracted people from 39 companies and 16 countries. “The need to diversify has the same urgency as the need to survive and even to grow.”  

During the Webinar, Data insights and diversified products with Jagran New Media, Bhattacharya shared how the company has used data-driven insights to create new product offerings for both readers and advertisers. India is becoming increasingly digital-driven and is projected to reach 1.4 billion Internet users by 2029. About 65% of current users are under the age of 35 and 43% are female.

Analysing customer behaviour provided Jagran New Media with insights for moving forward.
Analysing customer behaviour provided Jagran New Media with insights for moving forward.

With its audience — both present and future — in mind, Jagran took a closer look at their behaviours. It identified four vital segments and their preferences:

  • Gen Z and Gen Alpha, who prefer short, bite-sized content.
  • Local communities, who are looking for local-first content in their preferred languages.
  • Millennials, who “love interacting with the content and are looking for personalised content.”
  • Gen X and older, who prefer in-depth and opinion-based reading.

Using data to drive decisions

Jagran decided to create product and content offerings strategically designed for each of those segments. But because each group has such specific needs — and the company doesn’t have an infinite supply of content and resources — it relied heavily on data-driven insights, with AI and machine learning (ML) playing a key role.

“The key challenge initially was to introduce a data-driven environment newsroom, but we realised once done the benefits were immense — like monitoring content in real time, understanding content performance across audience segments, and using these insights for future content planning,” Bhattacharya said.

“Once implemented, this would also help us garner better engagement on our Web sites as users would find content that they are interested in and looking forward to consuming.”


Data was used to provide insights to understand content performance and learn how to improve engagement.
Data was used to provide insights to understand content performance and learn how to improve engagement.

Jagran created two newsroom dashboards. The first focuses on keyword and topic clusters being searched on the Internet and shares what content ranked and performed best. The second dashboard provided a content planning solution using reader data to make editorial decisions faster and more relevant to the newsroom.

“We zeroed in on certain critical metrics like the recirculation rate and the completion rate, which were critical for us, along with identifying and defining three key audience segments — namely the casual, the loyal users, and the brand lovers,” Bhattacharya said.

The dashboards provided journalists with insights on the performance of their individual content, allowing them to make informed decisions using the ROSA framework: It tells them which topics to replicate, which ones to optimise, which ones to stop creating, and which ones to amplify.

How the data changed content

Just three months into using the new content planning option, Jagran saw increased engagement. Completion rates increased by 20%, and recirculation rates for brand lovers went up by 15%. 

The company enjoyed a good year-on-year growth among Gen Z and Millennial users, with its news portals capturing  29% of the audience and Jagran Josh, its education portal, claiming a 35% share of Gen Z and Millennial audiences.

Using a data-driven content planning solution dramatically improved results for Jagran.
Using a data-driven content planning solution dramatically improved results for Jagran.

That led to a new realisation: “Now that the shift in audience was happening, we realised that we need to have diversified product offerings catering to this shift,” Bhattacharya said.  

“So, we created relevant product offerings [for each segment].”

For Gen Z, it created short, bite-sized news options with the Jagran Fatafat app. Millennials who looking to interact with the content found chat, search bot, and text-to-speech features. Jagran Prime and JZ Prime provided in-depth articles for the Gen X and older crowd, and Jagra expanded language options to appeal to local communities with the hyperlocal Jagran Local app.

Catering to multiple audience segments paid off; Jagran now has an average reach of 135 million monthly users across all its formats and languages.

The new approach has paid off by expanding the audience.
The new approach has paid off by expanding the audience.

While content diversification and segmenting were critical, Bhattacharya said a great user experience underpinning those changes was essential to the success of their changes.

Continuous change and improvements over time, backed by user feedback, allowed Jagran to create an engaging, user-friendly experience. This resulted in a more segmented and less cluttered homepage with a “trending” section featuring the latest news, personalised recommendations, a 24/7 video component, and a chat and search bot for greater interactivity.

“We are also currently in the process of making our homepage more dynamic and personalised,” she added.

More recently, Jagran has turned its attention to toward making its sites video-first, despite being a legacy print company: “We have been continuously playing with our video strategy, and now we have our in-house studios, production house, et cetera. And we also have been streaming live news from our studios for which we have incorporated proper placements on our Web sites as well.”

Given the next generation’s interest in audio, Jagran also launched a podcast section that is still in the process of being optimised. Other features it has introduced include:

  • A fact-checking portal for ensuring the news is credible and verified, regardless of what format or language it is in.A career counselling category within its education vertical.
  • Offline communities for specific categories such as women, health, and education.
  • An e-commerce portal launched in partnership with Amazon.
  • Automated quizzes, polls, and other AI-driven features that increase time spent online.

A measurable impact

For Jagran, following through on the data-driven insights has paid off. As of December, it was amongst the top 31 global news and information publishers and ranked 8th in the top 10 India news and info publishers.

“We started as a Hindi-first online news publication, and we have now diversified to varied product offerings and languages,” Bhattacharya said. “We have emerged as a leader with strong positioning across 16 states.”

INMA members can watch the recording of this or any other past Webinar here.

About Paula Felps

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