Big Data is driving UC News: Kenny Ye, GM, Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business Group

With a quirky tagline: ‘UC nhi to BC’  UC News is providing a platform that brings together news content from over 20 featured channels. UC News offers a platform that brings together both traditional and new media content creators in a single place, and introduces them to millions of Indian users who already enjoy a faster browsing experience on UC Bowser. What’s more in it for and Indian markets, Kenny Ye, General Manager, Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business Group here is highlighting strategies for UC News in a one-on-one with The DQ Channels.

How does UC News work? How is it different from other news aggregators?

UC News is a smart news product that brings together news content from over 20 featured channels, including cricket, technology, entertainment, movies, lifestyle, etc. UC News provides the most up-to-date and trending news, and the content YOU like.

With UC News, we have utilized our strength in data analytics and created a product which tracks the trending keywords of social media and suggest the recommended news instantly to the user. Secondly, you can customize the kind of content you can get in the product.

It is an easy-to-use app, and features a unique and highly user-friendly interface along with a pleasant and uncluttered reading experience.

 What technologies or platforms do you use to woo the customers?

UC News, powered by the company’s big data technology, tracks and matches the trending keywords on Facebook and Twitter and decides on the trending topics before recommending them to the user. By machine learning and big data analysis smart apps are able to deliver news that users care about.

How you are maximizing creativity, content, monetization and distribution strategies by using technology?

Content providers are facing difficulties in distributing content of different formats, while consumers are swamped by an information overload. The idea is to deliver content at the right time and on the right device to the right audience.

Every song heard, every video watched, every single search and every single page clicked is an insight into the user’s preferences and online habits – giving efficient news aggregators and online media companies a distinctive edge over traditional media and its competitors.

We also plan to partner with self-publishers and key opinion leaders for original content, making valuable opinions heard.

What is the future of news aggregation apps?

Although television remains the leading source of news, online channels (social media and news sites) have a large share of the market. In the US, 74% people use online sources to get their news. That number stands at 73% for UK, 91% in Brazil, 90% in Finland and 85% in Denmark, according to a Digital News Report Survey.

While major networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat have shaken up content delivery, the ‘social networking news’ doesn’t score for professional, trustworthy delivery.  Hence, there is an opportunity for traditional media houses to leverage multiple platforms so their trustworthy brands and news feeds reach a far wider audience. The faster media houses and users get assisted by tools like UC News, the better it will be.

 Traditional way of news consumption is now taking the digital way. What’s your opinion about this scenario?

According to Pew Research Center, “75% of online news consumers say they get news forwarded through email or posts on social networking sites while 52% say they share links to news with others via those means.” The days of loyalty to a particular news organization on a particular piece of technology in a particular form are gone. There are multiple examples of how smartphones and social media apps are now at the centre of action.

What challenges do you foresee in your expansion in India and overseas?

Smartphone penetration is expected to reach 520 million by 2020 (Ernst & Young) and millions of Indian users are exploring internet for the first time on their Mobile phones. Mobile Browser is now the gateway to internet and its potential is immense.

45% of all content consumed is expected to be on the small screen by 2020. Apart from limited bandwidth availability, content distribution and accessibility is the new challenge faced by the industry.

UCWeb is taking several steps to increase its appeal amongst the user base by offering localized content and services. We have some apps in place that help our users consume more entertainment content. For instance, we have UC Cricket, which resides in the browser but acts like an app. It can send you reminders for the matches and a scorecard in the notification bar.

Who are the vendors deploying technology solutions to UC News?

Digital content consumption is on the rise and the challenge for content creators is to be able to customize, curate and present diverse content to users to strengthen their engagement. The solution that UC Browser is offering is “Digitized Entertainment”. We have recently announced a partnership deal with Colors TV for exclusive content on the microsite of our browser. The strategic partnership is being built around 4 marquee shows of Colors – Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, 24, Big Boss and Comedy Nights Live. As part of the collaboration, the browser will have video clips, behind the scenes, news, games and more on these shows.

UCWeb will also create multiple engagement platforms around these shows for the users of UC Browser, 9Apps and UC News.

 What are your plans for India Market?

The UC News App was launched in June 2016. Recently, we launched the New UC Browser which includes news feeds from UC News. With UC News we intend to aggregate local content and offer a single window to the world for content creators as well as the consumers. Our goal is to provide more and better content to users. To achieve that, we will get more and more content providers, on board including KOLs, improve our product with more regional language supports.

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