We speak to the founders of Fullpicture, Fanport and Stance Magazine.

A webspace of their own Niche websites by Malayalis are opening up new worlds online
news Content Monday, October 24, 2016 - 16:29

Eleven Malayalis bond over their passion for sports. Wanting to take it a step further, it gradually dawns on them that the regional media does not focus much on sports per se.

That is how ‘Fanport’ -a Malayalam sports news website- came into being, less than a month ago.

We take a look at three such niche websites that are run by Malayalis, for primarily a Malayali audience, and have made a mark online amongst others too.

Fanport, Full Picture and Stance Magazine –all these three were started keeping in mind a specific target Malayali readership all over the world.

 

FullPicture

For Bengaluru-based journalist Neelima Menon, founding ‘FullPicture’ was a way of tapping into a market that was otherwise unexplored.

FullPicture is an online English magazine dedicated to Malayalam cinema. 

“There are umpteen number of portals that provides film and entertainment news in Malayalam. There is however no content-driven English platform on Malayalam cinema,” says Neelima.

When Neelima started the website a year ago, many readers felt that not including entertainment news or gossip would prove a major setback for the website, in terms of readership. But a year later, Neelima and her team are glad not to have compromised on the content-quality.

Contrary to the popular belief that a niche website targets only a certain kind of audience, Neelima says that this has not proved an impediment. The website has about thousands of visitors on a weekly basis.

“We began at a time when Malayalam blockbusters like Bangalore Days attracted even the non-Malayalis. This proved advantageous for the website, thereby further extending its reach,” she adds.

The team of ten -including freelancers- covers a wide range of categories such as film reviews (also the older ones), features and interviews with not just actors and directors, but also technicians from the film industry. A recent addition has been the ‘Short films’ section. 

Choosing not to ignore the possibility of inclusion of movies made in other languages, Neelima says: "That is precisely why we named the portal as ‘FullPicture’ -my husband’s suggestion- and did not opt for a Malayali-centric name.” 

The youth comprise the major chunk of readership for the portal.

Click here to go to Fullpicture.in

 

Stance Magazine

It was while working as an editor with Bloomberg that Vipin Nair decided to move back to Kerala to start something of his own. Backed by almost two decades of professional experience, Vipin says he wanted to start an online magazine, featuring content that he would himself have loved to read.

“Having lived outside Kerala for almost two decades, I always wanted to keep myself abreast of what was happening in Kerala. Not in terms of news, but something that went beyond breaking news….on the lines of features and opinions about important socio-political and cultural happenings written in English, to cater to the Non-Resident Keralites who read in English,” smiles Vipin.

And that is how Vipin teamed up with another senior journalist Bindu Gopinath who had earlier worked with the Malayalam Varika (a regional publication of The New Indian Express) to start the ‘Stance Magazine’ online.

“It is almost a year, and we still operate as a two-member editorial team who handles it all. The funding is done entirely out of our own pockets. It’s not much of a drain, as most of our guest-writers -who are professionals drawn from various fields of work- are more interested in being offered a platform to air their opinions, rather than being paid for the same,” he chuckles.

The name -he says- originated from the ‘stance’ that people had to take on a particular subject or topic under discussion.

They are yet to invest in marketing per se, as they preferred to use the past year to first whet the market’s appetite, before thinking in terms of garnering profits.

“Though it is only through Facebook that we try and promote our articles, we do manage to get almost 40,000 hits. Maybe, now is the time to take it to the next level. The website is still a work-in-progress, and we still have a long way to go,” Vipin remarks.

Click here to go to Stance magazine.

 

Fanport

Armed with a story bank of 14 articles, Fanport went live on 01 October this year. Hardly four weeks into the show, at least eight articles per week now get added to the site.

“Sports discussions on Twitter soon led to a group on WhatsApp. A member suggested creating a website to write about, what we think, fellow sports-lovers would want to read. And in a matter of less than three weeks, we went live,” says Ernakulam-based Middlaj -one of the core team members- while speaking to The News Minute.

For a team that that includes students, engineers and businessmen, producing quality content on a daily basis is no less a challenge, feels Satheesh, another member.

“None of us are writers or journalists, but we do have an in-depth knowledge about sports, and are confident that our stories are factually correct. As beginners, we do realize our drawbacks in use of language and writing-style,” Satheesh admits.

A dedicated sports news portal in Malayalam that does not focus on football and cricket alone is what Fanport aims to provide its readers. Kabaddi and Rugby too hence get adequate feature-space on the website.

Lesser known sports and sportspersons are treated on par with their famous sporting counterparts here. They also hope to focus on local sporting events to give the portal just that native flavour, so as to attract more readers.

Though they began the venture not as a profit-making entity, they hope to generate enough revenue to keep their guest writers motivated. 

Click here to go to Fanport.in

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