Harsha Mudumby and his friend Venkata Dinesh came together to start NewsDeck120 after they realized the value of curated news -- a concept which saves time while browsing the internet.
Talking about the inspiration, Harsha said, "A big deal of inspiration came from TV I guess. I was never a person who read news in the paper or web but I enjoyed the 'sit-back-and-enjoy' gratification TV provided. At the same time I liked the web because of the choice and control it offered. So I thought 'what if we merge the ease of TV and the interactivity of the web?' Although our present product has evolved a lot since, some due to better understanding of news consumption and some due to technical scalability, the vision still stays the same. Make news faster, simpler and connected."
NewsDeck120 curates news articles from different media sites and presents them in short, medium and long decks of two minutes, five minutes and 10 minutes respectively. The user can choose the deck depending on the time he has. Each news is summarized in 120 words and is played to the user via audio; one can also read the news if he chooses to and turn off the audio interface.
Apart from the decks, the user can also make their own playlist. Talking about the 120 word limit news content, the team says they are looking to emphasize more on the time factor instead of sorting news based on categories.
The site has a very clean and uncluttered interface unlike most news sites which enhances the readability, and to top it there is a wiki option for readers who are looking for context. In addition to the website, they also have an Android app on the play store which has a very intuitive interface.
The team is presently based in Hyderabad and has three interns onboard. Harsha is an electronics engineer, who has worked with Cisco and two startups prior to starting NewsDeck120. He takes care of all aspects of the website from the frontend to the server. Dinesh is an Android developer and takes care of the mobile platform. At present, their main focus is building a large userbase and partnering with more channels for diverse content.
"In the present form that we are, we believe our success largely depends on the scale we achieve. Selling news on digital medium has been a difficult strategy even for the top players. So we would want to look at advertising as a traditional revenue driver. We will eventually need to get into liaisons with media houses to distribute content, drive engagement and split ad-revenue," says Harsha.
Though the concept is great, but the biggest challenge is user adoption which is the only way it may lead to some revenue in future. The team seems hopeful but in the end it is up to the users to decide whether the NewsDeck120 becomes a champion or dies a painful death.
Click here to visit NewsDeck120.