Tencent-backed Chinese content aggregator NewsDog has announced the beta launch of blockchain technology on its app for android users, aimed at steering the news reading experience towards usage of cryptocurrency. It has partnered with a Singapore-based blockchain company, CNN (Content Neutrality Network), for migrating features that enable users to receive ‘cryptocurrency’ by engaging with different types of content on the app.
The mobile-based news app generates a cryptocurrency called CNN tokens for users that can be cultivated by interacting with the app content — upvotes, sharing, commenting, etc. NewsDog believes these features will add more engagement to the platform and cultivate user habits.
About the benefits of open ledger and decentralised peer-to-peer communication blockchain installed on its app, CEO and founder of NewsDog Forest Chen Yukun said, “An existing user can share the app and invite his/her friends to join the app in exchange of CNN tokens; this would incentivize the user to share the app extensively across various communities.”
It is perhaps for the first time that any content aggregator catering India-based news has introduced blockchain technology on its app.
Rundown Of Blockchain Feature On NewsDog
CNN and NewsDog teamed up to brainstorm the blockchain idea in December last year. After six months, they have launched their first prototype in the market. The new features include:
- The first phase of the blockchain beta app invites rewards and active rewards
- NewsDog will give CNN tokens to users who log in every day
- The app will introduce advertising revenue sharing, cricket, and payment quizzes
- NewsDog expects users to deeply participate and build a new content community
NewsDog was founded in 2016 by Chinese entrepreneurs Forest Chen Yukun and Yi Ma and is owned by Hong Kong-based Hacker Interstellar. The app currently offers news in 10 Indian languages across categories including politics, entertainment, cricket, technology, and horoscopes. It boasts of 40 Mn users across iOS and Android mobile platforms.
NewsDog recently raised $50 Mn (INR 341 Cr) Series C funding in a round led by Tencent, and plans to utilise the funds to add more regional languages to increase its user base, among others. It has offices in Pune and Gurugram with over 40 employees. It recently launched a content platform called WeMedia allowing users to submit content. Till now, there are over 30K writers contributing content regularly, the firm said.
Emerging Chinese Players In India’s M&E Sector
It is for the first time that Chinese behemoth Tencent, who owns social media platforms WeChat and QQ, has forayed into the news business. Its sights set on India’s booming startup industry, Tencent has previously invested inon ecommerce firm Flipkart, cab aggregator Ola, and Times Internet-owned music streaming site Gaana, among others. It further plans to invest more in early-stage startups.
Even as India’s adoption towards smartphones is witnessing a rapid increase, several Chinese players looking to cash in on digital content have entered India’s app-based media and entertainment (M&E) industry. This includes the Alibaba Group-owned UC News which made its entry in India in June 2016. On the other hand, Bengaluru-based DailyHunt had recently raised $25 Mn funding from ByteDance in 2016.
India’s M&E sector is poised to touch $45.1 Bn by 2021, expanding at a CAGR of over 10.5%, a PwC report revealed, adding that the segment has undergone substantial progress since 2016, when its valuation stood at $27.3 Bn.
Commenting on emerging Chinese players on the Indian M&E market, South China Morning Post cited Yukun as stating, “Competition in India is heating up as more Chinese companies enter the market, and we want to seize the opportunity to promote our products… The biggest difficulty now is to hire more competent local talent, who still view us as a stranger to the market.”
Other content aggregators include Inshorts, PIPES, theGSF-backed Newsbytes, Way2News, and The Quint.
CNN-NewsDog believes that its blockchain introduction will revolutionise the content industry in India and worldwide. This might well be true with the blockchain market is all set to scale new heights. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been advocating the use of the technology, particularly by Indian startups. According to a report by 6Wresearch, India’s blockchain market will grow at a CAGR of 58% during 2018-24.