India’s ABP Digital focuses on engagement as it ramps up reader revenue journey

2022-04-29. In 2021, executives at India’s ABP Digital, publishers of among others, decided to begin moving the company towards a business model based on reader revenue.

by Brian Veseling | April 29, 2022

“Luckily that’s when the subscription bootcamp came in,” said Dipanjan Dutta, Head of Business Operations, ABP Digital, who credited this programme, organised by WAN-IFRA and supported by the Meta Journalism Project India, in helping them accelerate the pace of their plans.

For ABP Digital, “the idea was very clear,” Dutta said during a presentation at WAN-IFRA's recent Digital Media India event. “How do we move from the volume metrics to the content quality metrics and embark upon a reader revenue journey?”

To do this, he said they realised they had to focus on engagement, and to improve it, they decided to concentrate on two key metrics: The amount of time readers spent on a page and the number of pages they looked at per session.

As part of their process, Dutta said ABP Digital undertook experiments to improve engagement at three levels by using:

Story-level experiments: such as modifying print headlines for online, and including sub-lines with all articles
Site-wide experiments: including the production of premium content and deepening their multi-media content, such as videos. Dutta added that, as was stressed in the bootcamp, premium content does not mean that a story is "exclusive," but rather that it has a unique angle or distinct perspective for a publisher’s audience. 
Cultural alignment: Getting everyone to focus on not only reach but also engagement.

Going forward, he said they are aiming to do a broader redesign of the article page to inclu...

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