With retail e-commerce in India rapidly turning into a winner-takes-all game, Paytm investor and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has set its sights on the digital entertainment space in the country.
With an investment of Rs 100 crore in big data development and service, the group’s UCWeb Inc. has refurbished its web traffic distribution browser UC Browser and launched UC News, a customisable content aggregator.
At a press conference in Mumbai to announce a partnership between UC News and the Viacom18-owned television channel Colors, Jack Huang, president, Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business Group, said the news aggregator had garnered 10 million monthly active users since its launch in June. It is driven completely by big data, he said, adding that big data will be used to optimise the distribution of content and UC Browser will aid the process. “The right content has to be made available to the right user. This is what we want to do in India next”.
UC News will offer curated content on more than 20 different subjects as well as materials from independent bloggers and opinion makers. “We have created a product for our users that can track all keywords from social media and relate it to the content and show you trending content on social media,” said Abhishek, senior manager at UC Web India. “We will monitor your reading habits and usage and analyse it to show you content according to your reading habits”.
Live in English and Hindi now, the service will be available in regional languages in the future.
The collaboration with Colors will entail the availability of unseen footage, exclusive plot spoilers, mobile games and exclusive bloggers’ commentaries related to four of the broadcaster’s shows—Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, 24, Big Boss and Comedy Nights Live—on UC News and UC Browser.
Abhishek told THE WEEK that there are plans to eventually monetise the platform using advertisements, but the company’s focus for now will remain user acquisition. He refused to divulge details on targets for user acquisition for the year.