In a world of online content proliferation, it’s not easy to stand out – what you are giving your audience has to be smart, fun, and relevant. Although Indian English media has numerous players catering to different genres, credible and intelligent content -especially for young millennials - is rare. Delhi-based entrepreneur Juhi Garg aims to fill this gap with her startup ED Times, an online platform targeting millennials.
Talking to MAKERS India in a Zoom chat, Juhi recollects why she launched the blogging platform a few years ago. “Millennials and college students spend around 75 to 80 percent of their time on video content. But is this content going to help you later in your life, say for a job interview? There was a gap for content that is smart, fun, and quirky. It has to be something that they can relate to.”
According to Juhi (35), the young generation is very politically aware, but they are also “headline readers” who write angry rants on Facebook. “They mostly just read the headlines and react like this; it would not just affect their psyche but also lot of people around them. And that's where the idea of responsible content came,” she tells MAKERS India.
A graduate in Journalism and Master Degree holder in Corporate Law from the prestigious National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Juhi has worked across sectors. In fact, ED Times was Juhi’s second entrepreneurial venture, as was the India partner for global law firm management consultancy Edge International. Although she was hardly 27 at the time, and dealing with the biggest corporate law firms in the country, she moved on to ED Times after two years at Edge as she wanted to do something different. And the journey with ED Times has been nothing but rewarding for Juhi.
While the young generation being socially and politically more aware than their predecessors is a welcome trend, Juhi is particular about the opinion pieces on ED Times being credible and unbiased.
“When you write your opinion on ED Times, there are many checks and balances you have to go through, so that you understand how to write that same piece of opinion in a more mature and responsible manner. So firstly, you're not just going to say your point of view; you have to read the entire side of the story - the other side of the coin. Once you've had a tolerance to listen to that, give me three justification for your opinion; you have to tell me where did you do your research from.”
At the end of every article on ED Times, three to four higher authority outlets are cited as source of information, which have been the research base for that article. “At ED Times, which now has 17 bloggers from across India, we don't call ourselves journalists or authors. We are bloggers,” Juhi adds. She also notes that ED Times’ articles have been cited on Wikipedia, The Print, and Change.org as sources, and prominent personalities like MP Shashi Tharoor and actor Kalki Koechlin have shared their articles on social media.
Generating revenue and credibility
Although ED Times, in its initial avatar as the blog ‘Economy Decoded’ aimed to demystify economy, once it became a revenue-oriented business, the content had to branch out into other categories. Juhi elaborates, “We could not restrict ourselves to branded content just in the finance space as that would be a little too niche for a new player then. (Branded content was the main source of revenue generation).” Their clients include the likes of HDFC Bank, Honda, Maruti, Toyota, and British Airways, besides numerous aggregator agencies.
Currently the topics covered in ED Times include “anything and everything which matters to young people,” Juhi says, including movies, politics, social issues, the Netflix culture, and more, in addition to Finance. “My idea was to be a generalist youth media – like how Grazia and Femina are generalist about women. I feel that millennials are very, very aware about what's happening in their country. And that's the kind of content that primarily rules, plus a lot of entertainment,” Juhi clarifies. (Branded content is specifically marked as sponsored content on the blog.)
To prevent the large issue of fake news from sneaking into her blog, Juhi has taken quite a few steps. “We verify how credible each news is, even if it's on a mainstream media. We have blacklisted a few media outlets; we never go to them for research. We have 7-8 sources too,” she says. Their efforts have got them recognition too. In 2019, ED Times won the BEST BLOG Award at the 13th India Digital Summit - Emerging Tech Awards of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
Asked about the experience of being a “woman entrepreneur,” Juhi says with a smile, “My family has been extremely supportive of my venture; thankfully, my gender has never been a cause of discouragement from my parents. so