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The Ken, an India-based tech publication that releases one reported story a day, launched its biggest offering yet on March 9th — a Southeast Asia-focused site and newsletter with a team of five reporters across the region.
It took a year to plan. In January, they flew their team from six countries into Bangalore. Two months ago, they began to plan their launch strategy. But a week after their Southeast Asia launch in March, their plan was derailed by country-level lockdowns, while the industries that they hoped to report on seemed paralysed.
The pandemic also presents opportunities
CEO Rohin Dharmakumar on Low-Res about how they’ve made peace with these shifts and used the pandemic as an opportunity to assert the need for paid, quality journalism. “As journalists, while we understand the chaos and disruption that Covid-19 will cause, we also realize as business journalists it’s going to remake entire economies and businesses,” he said.
“We don’t see it as something that will happen over weeks or months, we see it as something that will happen over 18 months,” Dharmakumar said.
Dharmakumar admits that many may question the paywall now, especially as budgets are tightening. But roughly 20% of stories — especially those that are public interest and, at the moment, pertinent to coronavirus — are offered for free.
He said The Ken will never discount because stable prices mark perceived value. Any changes in pricing have come from referral or loyalty-based programs. “Paywalls are how we fund our newsroom,” he emphasized.
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