Buzzfeed is ready to hit India

Jun 16, 2014, 08:43 IST | Kanika Sharma

Entertainment and social news website Buzzfeed is ready to hit India. And with existing players, the scene seems ripe to embrace listicles

When this paper went to print, and in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a Buzzfeed India page that is 5,906-followers-strong. Founded in 2006, the popular social news and entertainment website is all set to open an office in Mumbai and begin operations later in the year owing to India’s huge population. Thanks to the viral content generator, listicle (a listed article) is a format that is taking the Internet and the mobile web world by storm.

A listicle by The NextMeme.
A listicle by The NextMeme. Pic courtesy/the next meme

“Listicles are a way of conveying depth — it tells you how long you are going to be distracted by a particular piece of content. I doubt there are any rules about writing them, except that the content should be engaging, relevant and sticky, and follow the rules of attribution,” says Sriram Sharma, editor of TheNextMeme.

A listicle by Storypick
A listicle by Storypick. Pic courtesy/storypick

Yet, there has been a strong critique on the format, as it encourages dissemination of knowledge without research. Tonmoy Goswami, owner of Storypick, gives his take on the viral form, “Listicles are catchy because our generation has a short attention span. We want something that can be quickly consumed, enjoyed and passed on to friends. They are short, crisp, and witty.”

Such websites, considered best to discover Indian Internet trends have proven highly popular along with Scoopwhoop. Short attention span is another of critics’ worries worldwide, but the behemoth Buzzfeed seems to be undeterred by the flak.
Citing his reaction on Buzzfeed entering the market, Sharma shares his strategy, “They’re like the 300-pound gorilla in the clickbait (an eyecatching link on a website which encourages people to read on) business, but everyone’s cloning their style in alternative and mainstream media. I am relying more on data driven, content automation aggregation strategies to make sure that there’s something new on the site everyday, and that our feeds are updated hourly, tapping directly into the wisdom of the crowd.” However, Goswami shares that they are their own competition.

Scoopwhoop has another take: “We’ve always maintained that although we have been dubbed the ‘Buzzfeed of India’, there is only one Buzzfeed for India — Buzzfeed itself. We feel that with higher Internet penetration and maturing of India’s Internet audience, there is enough room for Buzzfeed and Scoopwhoop to co-exist peacefully and thrive. We will pursue our editorial and content formula, and innovate,” maintains Suparn Pandey, managing editor at the website.

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