PublicNext has been selected as a recipient of the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge (Asia Pacific) along with funding from Google

PublicNext has been selected as a recipient of the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge (Asia Pacific) along with funding from Google

New Delhi (India), January 5: The GNI Innovation Challenges ’empower news organizations from around the world that pioneer new thinking in digital journalism, develop new paths to sustainability and better understand their communities.’

PublicNext is a Local News networking platform that connects people in the neighbourhood in the local language, recognized and certified by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (GOI) and has offices at Bangalore & Hubli. They are also the winner of Elevate 2019 event organized by the Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka. They are the only non-Hindi news platform to win the Google News innovation challenge and funding. The Founders have decades of experience in conceptualizing products & solutions, Product Building and Scaling up of operations across the globe and they have worked for Fortune 500 companies. The company is backed by Deshpande Start-ups, Google MD (India & Asia Pacific & Japan), Microsoft Director (Education Modern workplace, Asia), Swarnaa Group Chairman, IBM Director (Workforce) & Co-founder & CEO of YourStory

PublicNext will have a Network recommendation engine to encourage people’s participation. “Discussion module” will enable readers to start discussing, dissenting, and debating on the local editorial content. A new “AI engine” will enable readers to block and report unsuitable discussions.” They are scaling the tech team to implement this and scale PublicNext.

This is also a win to the entire news industry, which lacked content, product and distribution innovation for a very long period. 

After spending decades in product management, IT, and Operations across the globe, they found our calling, or so it seems. Vishal Sheth, CTO, has developed the product’s first versiont in startup and established product companies. Manjunath Rao, the CEO, has Conceptualized ideas into solutions for fortune 500 companies. Raghavendra K G, COO, has hands-on experience in Piloting expansion activities of CRO from initiation to completion

9 out of 10 smartphones in India are used by people who prefer the local language. 90% of their time is spent in the neighbourhood so what happens in the community impacts their life with everything from local infrastructure, law, and order, human stories, or politics. PublicNext is a confluence of authenticated local news in a digital world and a new way to encourage local people to network, and participate in debate, discussions, and dissent around the editorial content.

The main source of authentic local content is print media which reaches 660 million people in India. But the print media has a massive distribution challenge, no video format content and is one-way communication. All news platforms are one-way of communication without giving any importance to people’s opinions on the editorial content. 

And this is how the PublicNext platform works today. Local reporters and freelance reporters source content at local level. Content goes through the editing team before publishing. Content authentication happens at the source and while curating. 70% of the content will be in the form of videos for ease of access.

Innovation: PublicNext “Network recommendation engine” will be built to encourage people’s participation. Readers will use the platform to consume local content in local language. They find their local network in the platform and start connecting with them. “Discussion module” will enable Reader’s to start discussing, dissenting, and debating on the local editorial content. Editor participation will be enabled for such discussions. And the new “AI engine” will enable readers to block, and report the discussions and the engine starts marking the content not meeting the standard.

As per Reuter’s institute “India Digital News Report” report, 80% of traffic to news happens from social media. Digital news platform is not the main gateway to the news. It is social media. By building a network within the platform, PublicNext will build FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) around network activity and becomes the main gateway. 

This shall result in higher stickiness of the user, better retention and more engagement. Local level engagement of the user will result in impact on the ground. Local marketers shall use the platform to sell products and services. They don’t get a high engagement, credible video platform at a local level to reach local people. PublicNext readers and video distribution capability will be used by local marketers to reach local masses.

They intend to replicate user adoption, unit economics across 28 states and 8 union territories in the next 4 to 5 years. Looking at the demand for local content and community, the future looks bright with audio interaction like clubhouse being built for authorities to interact with local people, Local question and answer platform, and even local commerce leveraging ONDC (Open Network for Digital Commerce).

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