Startup Sunday Season 1 Episode 2 (ScoopWhoop)

“We don’t do cat videos, but if we find a video of a cat doing Backflips in Lajpat Nagar (or Parel) we’ll most definitely run with it” appearing on the official ScoopWhoop page, is perhaps a jocose way to present the theme of the company.

swScoopWhoop is an internet media and news company from India, which claims to create and curate India specific stories with the sole intent of helping it reach as many people as possible. The website initially started as a viral content generating and sharing website but now the company has also begun serving as a news portal and also acts as a channel for sharing and remedying social concerns. It is a one-stop destination to discover and share everything Indian happening on the Internet. They do videos, fun lists, picture compilations, parodies, stand up acts, etc. on content ranging from news, life, humor, women, travel, sports, food, “Firangi”, videos, entertainment and culture. sort, and decided to start a similar website for the Indian audience. The early days weren’t easy. They hired a freelancer to build the website, while working till two in the morning to put up posts. They initially thought ScoopWhoop could run as a side project alongwith their day jobs. But soon, things changed. A month into ScoopWhoop’s existence, Ben Smith, editorin-chief of BuzzFeed, called Mishra and Mukherjee to congratulate them. “I think you guys are doing a really good job. I just thought I should know who you guys are,” Mishra, CEO of ScoopWhoop, recalls Smith telling him. “That was when we thought about doing it full time,” says Mukherjee. So, they quickly shed their WebChutney jackets and began building ScoopWhoop from November 2013. The cardinal motif being to tap the “Bored-at-Work Network”—essentially bored office workers looking for fun posts that are easy to understand and shareable, but have a social imperative; it took just one month and less than $2,000 to launch ScoopWhoop. The first viral post, though, had a more international flavor: ‘14 Indian politicians who will find their counterparts in Game of Thrones”, which was posted in April, as India’s national elections loomed. It was shared nearly ScoopWhoop began in August 2013 as a secret side project by Sattvik Mishra, Sriparna Tikekar, Rishi Pratim Mukherjee, Debarshi Banerjee, Saransh Singh and Suparn Pandey. All of them are alumni of Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At the time of starting ScoopWhoop, Sattvik, Rishi, Saransh and Suparn were colleagues at Webchutney, one of India’s top webdesign and online marketing companies, and Sriparna was a copywriter at the advertising firm McCann Erickson. All of them were fans of BuzzFeed, the British counterpart of ScoopWhoop which is the first and most successful site of this “We don’t do cat videos, but if we find a video of a cat doing Backflips in Lajpat Nagar (or Parel) we’ll most definitely run with it” appearing on the official ScoopWhoop page, is perhaps a jocose way to present the theme of the company.

Scoopwhoop founders (left to right) : Saransh Singh, Sriparna Tikekar, Sattvik Mishra, Rishi Pratim Mukherjee, Suparn Pandey, Debarshi Banerjee

40,000 times and got ScoopWhoop noticed. Their most-viewed post is a video on sexual abuse—a subject that has been a talking point in India over the last two years. After just a year in business, it is already giving established Indian media companies a run for their money with its witty listicles, videos and GIFs. In March 2015, apart from the 21 million unique, the site also garnered 45 million page views and has been consistently getting over 1 million social shares monthly across articles. ScoopWhoop gets 98 million digital engagements across platforms – likes, shares, views and so on. ScoopWhoop witnesses 20 million unique users per month, with an average of 2.5 minutes spent on the site, making it India’s most popular digital media house amongst the millennials. The revenue model of ScoopWhoop consists of native advertising, networking, direct campaigns and sponsored stories. A little more than 80 per cent of ScoopWhoop’s revenue comes from native advertising. Sponsored posts or advertorials account for roughly five per cent of all content. Mukherjee also informs that the site charges a premium from the advertisers for its content. “We have a simple pricing model. For contents with more than three articles, the per article cost is Rs. 1.25 lakh per article excluding taxes whereas it costs Rs. 1.5 lakh per article for contents with less than three articles. This pricing enabled us to clock Rs. 1 crore in revenues for Q4 of 2015. And this was all from native content,” he states. ScoopWhoop has also executed more than 100 campaigns with various brands in India. Some of the website’s brand partners include PepsiCo, Asus and Nestle, and agencies like Mindshare and WATConsult. Advertisers pay for creating sponsored content native as the editorial content readers are used to on ScoopWhoop. All these wouldn’t have been possible if they didn’t have the content in place. “The Editorial strategy changes with audience preference,” says Sriparna Tikekar, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, ScoopWhoop, “The content direction/strategy is all about being aware of your audience, what they like to talk about, what they wish to see and then building content over it. We try keeping the content fun and easy to consume.” The Economic Times reads, “ScoopWhoop is well on its way to becoming a highly influential new media company for India’s 200 million-plus internet and social media-savvy youth population. By combining strong editorial capabilities with technology and smart analytics, ScoopWhoop is in a position to leverage the massive shift from traditional media to digital advertising.”




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