In a 2019 Reuters study, 68% of Indian readers identified smartphones as their main source of news and 31% had identified mobile devices as their only mode of accessing news. The study also found that more people accessed news online (84%) than in print (49%). But in the case of The Hindu Group, more than 90% of revenue came from print; there was clearly an opportunity to grow mobile news penetration and drive new revenue with mobile-first storytelling, appealing to the new mobile-first consumer.
The Hindu Group’s strong print publishing legacy meant that journalists essentially repurposed print content for their websites (The Hindu, businessline, Sportstar and Frontline). However, digital consumer expectations have evolved well beyond plain text news content. The Hindu empowered its newsrooms to produce more high quality, visually rich content and supported them with the training, tools and workflows required to produce such content with efficiency.
Three major activities enabled this: The Hindu’s Editorial teams sought out industry expertise and were trained by renowned news design expert and a faculty at Columbia Journalism School, Dr. Mario Garcia, on mobile journalism. They were introduced to the needs and habits of mobile-first news consumers, as well as trained on a new creative process that enabled and enriched mobile storytelling. A second important thread was to improve cross-functional collaboration. While the digital and print editorial teams worked more or less independently in the past, they now had to work collaboratively to create mobile stories with new elements such as videos, graphics and podcasts. Both teams brought valuable skills - with digital teams contributing new skills in digital content formats and print teams contributing experts on their various beats. This collaboration enabled the creation of long-form multimedia stories.
Finally, the Editorial teams worked with the Product team to completely redesign The Hindu’s websites and apps. This ensured that visually rich content in their new multimedia stories rendered in a frictionless and elegant manner.