Interview: Can the India-based HubHopper help declutter the Internet?
A daily dose of your interests, as bite-sized summaries of news, magazines articles and blogs personalized to your interests Photograph: (WION)
While social media has led to increased access to a range of content, sifting through the thousands of pieces of information to sort out material that one would want to read can be a cumbersome task.
To address this issue, Delhi-based start-up, HubHopper has developed a personalized social news magazine that gives you a daily dose of your interests.
It is a gateway to just about everything with a one-of-a-kind digital remote that helps users tailor-make their experience in real time.
What was the inspiration behind launching HubHopper?
The inspiration behind launching HubHopper was this need of getting relevant content according to one’s mood. It was born out of the frustration of seeing spam and irrelevant posts on mainstream social and content platforms. These platforms don’t take into account how dynamic a person’s interests might be and that was a problem I had to solve. There just had to be a better way to discover content, people and trends that are most relevant to you.
If you had to mention the best feature of your product, which one would it be?
The best feature of our product would be the remote that allows you to control of your feed in real time.
The next stage of growth?
We plan on adding more varied interests, languages and opening up the platform to content publishers and creators.
What is your opinion about the digital revolution in the news industry?
Reading attitudes have changed; people have a limited attention span and no time for anything that doesn’t interest them. The content has shifted from lengthy opinion pieces to listicles and short-form articles.
The newspaper industry as a whole still hasn’t quite figured out how to cope with this migration from offline to online and how to make a substantial profit from it. Paywalls and subscriptions only work with original, high-quality content. Publishers are struggling to reach the right people for their content and consistent visibility.
Monetizing digital content in any form will only work if the content is relevant and offers great value to users.
How has the digitisation of news impacted youth participation in current affairs and helped in them making an impact?
Trends on social media platforms are influenced by the youth, as the largest proportion of users is below the age of 30. Youth participation in news affairs establishes which story gets maximum reach; they are actually playing a part in setting trends as never before. What happens on digital platforms is now the news. For example – the ‘Sehwag vs Piers Morgan Fight on Twitter.’
A lot of publishers focus their content strategy according to what’s trending online, and the youth have a loud voice in deciding what that is.
With the plethora of content flowing over the Internet, how are you able to differentiate your content?
To quote Mitchell Kapor - ‘Getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.’
Firstly, our content is interest based and appears as bite-sized summaries of detailed web articles. Secondly, the articles or ‘doses’ as we like to call them, disappear in 7 seconds unless you show interest by tapping them.
A user saves times, stays informed and has a fun experience in consuming this form of content.
What is the future of the news industry?
Digital and traditional publishers will need to have fast paced omni-channel content with a robust technological infrastructure. News is going to be consumed in new formats and platforms. The challenge for publishers will be to figure out how much to invest in these channels and whether the return on investment is promising enough. Publishers that embrace the continuously advancing technology and adapt to changing user behaviour will continue to thrive.
(Contributions by Tanmai Relwani and Devanshi Verma)