“History touches everybody in distinct approaches and there may be this deep connection that Indians have with its records even though they don’t recognise approximately it,” says eminent journalist and founding father of digital media Live History India (LHI), Mini Menon.
It is that this join which drew Mini Menon to history after a a hit 18-year-antique profession in journalism to start her new virtual media undertaking along with co-founder Akshay Chavan lately.
For the duo, Live History brings together their interest in records, media, and generation. Mini believes that, in India, there is nobody platform that brings collectively the satisfactory minds or the excellent works in records. Even although a number of extraordinary paintings has already been done in India via conventional mediums such as educational journals, studies papers and many others.
What LHI attempts to do is get collectively the finest history minds in this platform to showcase testimonies that make up the rich records of India. The concept is to construct a repository of research-based totally stories with India’s finest authors and historians. No different virtual medium has tried this so far.
The duo believes that even though one won't have studied history, it’s everywhere and by using innovative digital programmes and creating conversations, it is able to be added alive to attain each Indian. In short, LHI pursuits to help each Indian lover rediscover history. And there are solid motives at the back of this line of reasoning.
Says Mini Menon, “We work with the finest minds to revive the exceptional works on history and all this leads to a public cognizance programme, that sincerely allows us repair our history. Because we are dropping it unexpectedly. And it's miles due to lack of know-how and the lack of a need to defend it, that we're at the degree we are.”
Live History India, which formally went live on May 15 2017, is sponsored by using distinguished enterprise stalwarts and mentors consisting of Ganesh Natarajan, former CEO of Zensar Technologies and Chairman of Nasscom Foundation, and Cyrus Guzder, former promoter of AFL which turned into received via FedEx in 2011. Prior to this, the founders released the digital media platform on social media in January this 12 months. According to the founders, LHI’s Facebook page managed to garner 500,000 likes cumulatively on man or woman posts within the first three months. Till date, LHI has completed extra than in-house one hundred seventy stories on numerous aspects of Indian records.
Live History India: The Founders’ Journey
Mini says, “Both Akshay and I are obsessed on history. I studied history and set out to grow to be an archaeologist which I by no means controlled to do. Akshay became a closet historian driven into generation – the tale of every Indian. So we went both our ways regardless of our hobby in records.”
For Mini, the foray into LHI comes after a totally exciting and a success broadcast profession in political and economic journalism. In 2013, she additionally wrote a book on submit-liberalisation enterprise records. Even in business, records was what excited Mini Menon most – the evolution of companies and corporations.
This exhilaration inevitably led her toward her actual hobby, history, in 2015 – when she took a ruin from her Executive Editor gig at Bloomberg to analyze her subsequent e-book. During the research, she also chanced upon a weekend direction on art records in Mumbai.
As it grew to become out, it changed into now not a weekender route but a one-yr programme. Says Mini enthusiastically, “When I got all the way down to it, I loved it a lot, I realised I did no longer want to do anything else. It’s in which I met Akshay and so we spent three hundred and sixty five days speakme approximately records. It’s then we determined – why not use our ardour and experience to create Live History India?”
That identical ardour become Akshay’s calling too. After completing his IT control route from Lancaster Business School, he spent a decade running in digital marketing. But he had constantly been a records buff for the reason that faculty, gobbling up each new e-book on records. He became additionally aching to get again to something he cherished.
“At that time, I was also running a weblog on the princely states of India and it changed into quite a hit. I became very interested in telling unseen stories. When we joined the course and I met Mini, I felt it became an possibility to create something bigger, going beyond the man or woman and growing a bigger movement. And that’s what we are looking to do with Live History India – make a difference.”
To illustrate this, she cites the instance of Europe – in which each nook and corner is steeped in records and is one of these huge engine of financial growth due to tourism. On the opposite hand, though India has over 5,000 years of history, people infrequently understand the nuances of various durations and eras and their ancient, cultural, and social significance.
“So someone has to curate it and make it exciting and tasty,” she provides definitively.
And that’s wherein LHI’s vision lies – to bring the memories that make India alive for every person. By connecting it in a amusing and tasty manner – to attract the eye of the average Indian content material purchaser.
Live History India: Targeting Everyone, From Expats To Enthusiasts
For LHI, the paucity of content material is hardly ever an issue. Stories are very smooth to pick out from, at any factor of time, given the a couple of lifetimes of history works in India. For this cause, the startup has brought on board historians of specific time durations, specialities, and areas, given that Indian history is likewise very layered and diverse.
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Mini exhibits that these are people who have performed an entire frame of labor in a selected region and they may be experts. LHI may be very precise approximately its content material – it isn't always bringing collectively bloggers. It has academicians, historians who're known government on the areas or topics they are managing. For example, the platform has Pushkar Sohoni on board, who lately wrote a bit about Nizam Shah of Deccan Sultanate. Pushkar is an expert on the Central Indian Sultanates. So, whilst history research has been carried out for years however there hasn’t been a platform which has added it to a wider audience by way of making it relevant to them. Because a lot of it is misplaced in instructional circles.
So, besides being paid, historians also get get entry to to a platform which will attain a global target market.
LHI has a spread of history testimonies in specific classes. These are textual Snapshot History testimonies which exhibit records in quick. Then there's the Cover Story – in which the digital media platform works with its contributors and publishes lengthy form portions. The Blast from the Past segment has curated history trivialities from the beyond. History Trails is geared in the direction of the explorers – folks that need to exit of their homes and see places.
Photo Essays, consisting of one on the old capitals of India, encapsulate history via images. Videos are included beneath the heading LHI Videos.
Mini opines, “Living history is what receives quite a few those who are uninterested in history back to it.”
As in line with Mini, this target audience can be divided into 5 essential buckets – the first one being the expats who believe that LHI is a excellent manner of introducing India to their kids. In the second one bucket, are the creditors who're majorly CEO, funding bankers, and such who're large creditors of artwork. The subsequent is the backpacking crowd, the fourth is the retirees with a number of analyzing time on their hands, and the 5th is, of course, the regular universe of history enthusiasts.
Mini believes that as they introduce more categories, it'll create greater concentric circles of engagement. “That’s how we want to widen it. I suppose we are able to be litter-breakers because humans need good first-rate stuff.”
And this belief is rightly seconded by the growing consumer base of Live History India.
Live History India: Monetising On A Vibrant Digital Media Platform, Story By Story
Ever because the platform released on social media it has registered more than a hundred,000 page perspectives already. On the anvil are plans to go into a multilingual format, to the touch humans throughout the usa, although Mini would no longer comment whilst. Also, there are plans to introduce the history of sports activities and motors.
The duo plan to preserve the website unfastened even as focussing on different ways of monetisation than via subscribers.
The digital media platform is now seeking to monetise in 3 special methods. First is the conventional advertising version like all different virtual media systems, which includes banner advertising, social media advertising et all. Secondly, it's miles running on a group of tent pole houses and collection for which it's far getting quite a few advertiser interest. These could be co-created series on distinct factors of Indian history such as textiles, meals, and so forth.
The 1/3 road could be running with nation governments and numerous corporations and institutions to take a deep dive into history and take a look at it in scale. In this regard, in December 2017, the platform can be piloting a huge mission that can its principal road of growth. Mini did no longer reveal an awful lot approximately the challenge.
However, one factor is apparent – the duo wants to scale it into a colourful virtual media platform. Says Mini, “It turned into the time we created an Indian platform wherein we speak about for India in India and now not anticipate an worldwide channel to tell us approximately our records.”
Meanwhile, both Mini and Akshay agree that they are keen to get investors with a certain skill set; people who are equipped to construct out what they desire can be one in every of India’s biggest virtual services inside the next couple of years. For example, Cyrus Guzder himself is a skilled archaeologist from Cambridge University.
She well-knownshows, “We had not long gone to buyers when we released in January. They noticed us on Facebook and got here to us saying that we adore what you do. We love records and can we be part of it? Pretty a good deal all of our buyers came that manner. So, for the investors we have were given on board, we were extra aware of the strategic price than the cash they delivered along. And that’s why we did no longer go to any seed fund.”
Similarly, LHI’s advisory panel has additionally been chosen with incredible care. It consists of Shyam Benegal – one of India’s maximum mentioned administrators and screenwriters, Anil Dharker – Founder and Director of the Mumbai International Literary Festival, Wajahat Habibullah, and Malvika Singh among others.
Reveals Mini, “We all realize Shyam Benegal has a phenomenal frame of work. Similarly, Anil Dharker brings insight into literature. Wajahat Habibullah changed into a history professor before he have become a bureaucrat. And Malvika Singh is running closely with the Rajasthan government in restoring museums.”
With those strategic buyers and advisors, a middle crew of eight humans, and a help group comprising top 50 pinnacle historians and authors as contributors – which brings the full variety to 75, the virtual media platform objectives to convey alive Indian history, one story at a time. Mini Menon expects this range to develop to two hundred-three hundred people within the coming years.
And there may be a motive at the back of it.
Serving An Underserved Audience Through Live History India
Both Mini and Akshay consider that when it comes to opposition from current historical assets – be it academia, broadcast and print media, or the ubiquitous Internet – the space is large sufficient and there may be an area for each person. To top it all, they accept as true with Indian audiences are under-served.
Another purpose they feel assured is that they're the use of a collaborative approach. Says Mini, “We agree with this needs to be a motion and we are simplest facilitators of this movement. We have usually referred to as Live History India a virtual media platform and no longer a website due to the fact we accept as true with we want to get the great minds together. Together, we want to make this into a movement in which each Indian, irrespective of the language he/she speaks, has get right of entry to to the fine works of Indian records which allows them apprehend themselves higher via their beyond. So, it’s that engagement and appreciation that we're focussing on.”
She further is going on to add that it has obtained a totally fine response to the collaborative efforts of numerous museums, establishments, and a couple of corporations that get what they're doing. This isn't always approximately preserving know-how to a handful of humans.
So, even as there may be TV channels like Epic which are additionally providing content material based totally on records, as well as credible educational resources and now not-so-credible on-line resources such as Wikipedia, Mini believes that their course is exclusive and particular. She says, “After a profession in broadcast media, virtual media sincerely is emancipating for a product like this because you don't have any geographical obstacles and you may reach out to those who are inquisitive about this place. And you have a shelf life of all the time for each piece you do.”
But going in addition from the tales, the virtual media platform, LHI, would additionally want to pilot artwork healing in addition to being the champion for all people who is doing some thing to shield India’s huge legacy.
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Says Mini, “This is a area that desires all the advantageous encouragement it can get. In this line, even earlier than we started our first mission, we collaborated with a nearby Mumbai University-led task for university youngsters inquisitive about expertise the records of Bombay metropolitan location. So, that is what we stand for – to make records relevant and everybody who is doing something to make history relevant, we would like to aid them.”
The Indian audience has been spoilt for choice as a long way as digital media structures are involved. With developing Internet penetration and increasing cellphone usage, the quantity of such mediums will boom in addition. Live History India is a totally niche platform which has its paintings cut out for itself – making records engaging for Indians who do not recognise a great deal approximately it. In this regard, focussing on history is each a bonus and drawback.
Advantage, due to the fact even though there's competition, and there are no reliable assets. One of the largest on line repositories of information is Wikipedia, that is open sourced and now not nicely up to date most of the times. Plus, the other outstanding internet platforms are either foreign-based totally or focussed on one precise concern/technology. However, Live History India has saved all of the doors open, in phrases of content material.
Even more, opposition comes from TV channels along with Epic or National Geographic (which have history-based totally content material in colloquial languages). But with no geographical boundaries limiting the virtual medium, the platform does have a risk to carve out a bigger area of interest and draw out a bigger crowd. Going ahead, if the team can also leverage AR/VR (augmented truth/virtual reality) to take a in addition deep dive into history, it'd be a massive step in attractive a saturated target audience.
The simplest undertaking is making the content material enticing sufficient to attract Indians to a subject like history. Which has long been taken into consideration the domain of historians, academicians, and researchers and no longer the average content consumer. LHI wishes to scale on three fronts – exceptional content, the quantity of customers/pageviews, in addition to successfully monetise an admittedly niche vertical. How it's going to do so, in a digital world overflowing with content, may be interesting to peer.