We’ve created a user-friendly website, where people can find everything.
Fakaruddin Jewel’s career in journalism began through the Prothom Alo. During his 12 years of experience as journalist, Jewel has worked in various departments. In 2011, he took over the responsibilities of Prothom Alo’s online news section. In 2014 he joined NTV and initiated NTV Online. In February 2015, NTV Online was launched. In the first year, NTV gained 4th position among the Bangladeshi online portals. According to Socialbakers, the organization which investigates the mechanisms of social media, NTV’s page is the fastest growing page in Bangladesh. After 11 months of launching NTV Online, Google announced them as their executive partners.
How did you decide to make the transition from print media to electronic media?
During my 12 years at the Prothom Alo, I had worked in all the departments starting from being the Shift In-Charge, National Desk Chief and going through the reporter’s copies. I also looked after one of the most difficult tasks of designing the layouts for their first page which I did for one and half years. Those who had to work their way up to get the position of News Editor must also perform that duty at some point. After that, I was the second man of Prothom Alo’s online news section for three years. I was quite fond of that position because the medium of work was rather interactive. There are a lot of opportunities in this line of news, and while working for it, I got completely drawn in. You can accommodate everything through social media; as a result, I was able to introduce online journalism to NTV as well.
How did you help establish NTV’s online news system?
The trend of online news began with Prothom Alo back when social media or Facebook wasn’t used frequently by the masses. We would share the news via Facebook which resulted in a fan following of around 530,000 people. Now that we’ve joined NTV, we managed to form a web team here as well. Members of the team must share news on time, monitor the fan base (i.e. likes on Facebook) and keep tabs on the feedback we’re receiving. We always keep a record of all these activities in softcopies and hardcopies.
What major differences have you observed between the two forms of media?
There is a vast difference between online and print media. There are a lot of web portals in Bangladesh for electronic media which are replicas. Unlike replica based news media, we opt for legitimate portals which provide quality videos. Viewers should not have trouble believing the story we air particularly because it is substantiated with a video. That is why our viewers continue to follow us for the authenticity of our news. We also prioritize photography in this context. Hence, we’ve subscribed to ten international services for photographs. If you go through our photo catalogs, you will see that there isn’t a single celebrity who hasn’t done a shoot for us. They were enthusiastic enough to take out the time to be a part of these shoots. We also provide circulation of photos; so if you’re going through one particular segment of pictures, you’ll be able to view a reel of pictures. Our photograph and video quality are what sets us apart from basic online media.
What can you tell us about the content on your website?
We’ve created a user-friendly website, where people can find everything. Our content is such that it caters to everyone; be it religion, entertainment or lifestyle. We have videos to go along with our news, but that’s not the only thing that keeps it running. Same applies to the photograph and news section. Our content is interdependent on one another.
What changes can we expect in 2016?
We’ve had a lot of changes, such as the availability of Netflix in Bangladesh. There will come a time when TV and news will be available online. There are endless opportunities in the digital space considering that Facebook and internet users have increased drastically. I noticed that there 1.5 million users on Facebook, but on websites, there are only around 30 lac users. Most of these people use Facebook more than they read the news. There are 50 lac users who, despite having internet connections, refrain from visiting news websites. We have already established some free WiFi enabled areas such as Karwan Bazar, TSC and near Dhaka University. The introduction of 4G this year will have a massive impact as well.
How do you decide on the relevance of the content you display on your website or Facebook pages?
Over the years, you gain experience to understand what qualifies as news. We also look at the readers’ interests as well. Using Google Analytics helps us greatly in finding out what content our readers or viewers are most interested in. After a certain point, going through these analytics gives you the experience of knowing what content our followers will find most attractive.
The NTV Facebook page is nearing 4,000,000 followers. How have you maintained such a massive fan base?
We are present in Reddit, Viber, Pinterest, Linkedin, as well as Youtube. We are firmly connected to each and every social media that is part of the global trend. The more traffic we have in our sites, the more revenue we generate. 30% of this traffic depends on Facebook; however, on the days we didn’t get Facebook, we managed to keep our ranking intact as we are present in other social media outlets as well.
What kind of business model are you using?
We follow a global business model. It is impression based. We use CPM-cost per mille, CPC-cost per click and CPA-cost per acquisition. These models are running in Facebook. CPM determines revenue every time the audience views your content.