Five friends started a hobby website in 2013. You wouldn’t believe what happened next.
ScoopWhoop is today one of the most recognizable brands in the Indian internet space. With its India-centric, youth-friendly reporting, it’s amassed social media clout that can rival those of legacy media brands. And it’s making good money doing so.
ScoopWhoop’s revenues neared Rs. 10 crore in the financial year ending 2016, rising threefold from last year. Its expenses, though, rose as well, and the company registered a loss of Rs. 6.5 crore last year, up 150% from a year before. ScoopWhoop’s traffic has also surged to 3 crore uniques a month, registering a 100% growth over last year. ScoopWhoop now boasts of 380 million engagements each month – behind only Times of India and NDTV.
Advertisers, predictably, are eager to tap into this audience. ScoopWhoop has ad slots on its website, and also runs sponsored posts for advertisers. It charges in the lakhs for a post with the mention of a sponsor, and runs longer campaigns, which include videos and posts, for brands.
ScoopWhoop is expanding rapidly – its network now consists of ScoopWhoop.com, a Hindi portal called GazabPost, and woman-themed portal Vagabomb. It’s also investing heavily in video, and now has a 40 member video team, up from 3 members some time ago. The company is also experimenting with longer video formats, and released the 2nd season of Baked, its maiden webseries. It had also launched Chase, a series of Vice-style documentaries in partnership with NewsLaundry.
ScoopWhoop seems eager to shed its image of being a listicle site, and is now focussing on more serious content. Its now regularly publishing longform content, and also seems to be covering more news than it did in its initial years. This was a model followed with much success by Buzzfeed – it too had started off as a listicle site, but then grew a large newsroom, and now employs some big-name journalists.
It remains to be seen if ScoopWhoop will be able to replicate the success of its global competitor. Buzzfeed, incidentally, also has a growing India version, and ScoopWhoop still competes with its peers such as StoryPick and Being Indian. Large media houses have also started ScoopWhoop-like sites – Indiatimes, owned by the Times Group, creates content which is much like ScoopWhoop’s, and even companies like Indian Express have started “Trending” sections on their sites which deal with ScoopWhoop like content.
ScoopWhoop’s success will have much bearing on the exploding new media space. It was founded by twenty-somethings who weren’t veteran journalists, and managed to raise money from major VCs such as Kalaari Capital and Bharti Softbank. And within four years of being founded, it’s challenging legacy players, and at times, beating them at their own game. If it can break out and become a mainstream success, it’ll be the surest sign that the disruption in the media space has arrived.