MUMBAI: It is one of the first English news channels to have
started in India with big names such as Prannoy Roy, Barkha
Dutt, Vikram Chandra, among many others. Now, it also
has the record of being the first Indian company to cross
a million followers on Twitter, which was confirmed by Twitter
India as well. At the time of writing this piece @ndtv had
1,027,616 followers. It has left its competitors far behind
in the race for the presence on Twitter with Times Now having
136, 684; CNN-IBN having 434,152 and Headlines Today with
Group CEO Vikram Chandra believes it is the content
that drives @ndtv
The first seeds of Twitter were sown in May 2009 and it was
on 5 July 2013 that the million followers mark was crossed.
That is just in a matter of four years; NDTV turned a Twitter-millionaire.
So what is the secret behind the successful twitter handle
of NDTV? "Nothing technical or campaign-like", says
NDTV Convergence CTO Kawaljit Singh Bedi. "There is no
dedicated social media team that handles twitter for NDTV.
Web editors make sure news goes out under 140 characters.
During the day, the editors handle the handle while in the
wee hours of the night a machine ensures that news flash items
are also tweeted automatically."
An average of 100 tweets are sent out daily, which is significantly
lower than other English news channels, according to Bedi.
Without spamming walls they just tweet about significant happenings.
This could be one reason for the rising graph of followers
for NDTV's Twitter page. However, the main reason he attributes
to it is their desire to 'put news out first' and not look
at increasing followers. "We are a news provider and
we will hold information till we know that it is right,"
"We have always believed that we are in the content
business and we have to get the content to our viewers in
any and every way," says NDTV Group CEO Vikram
Chandra. According to Twitter Counter, an application to track
Twitter growth of individual handles, in the last three months
the followers of NDTV increased by 1441 per day on average.
A sampling of 1.2 million twitter users placed NDTV at a 1325
to NDTV Convergence CTO Kawaljit Singh Bedi the focus
of the team is to be the first to tweet accurate news
Surprisingly, NDTV has stopped audience and viewer interaction
on twitter drastically as compared to earlier. Now, questions
on Twitter are restricted to situations when a reporter is
unable to reach the an incident site on time. Opinion related
questions have all been shifted to the second screen section
on NDTV's mobile application. "People who come on Twitter
need not necessarily interact, they may just be coming in
search of information," says Bedi. Yet, it brings a great
deal of traffic to its Twitter handle.
NDTV doesn't get into the fray of following trends and making
a story out of these unless the story merits it or it has
been missed out totally. Putting out news based on the merit
of the news- as Bedi puts it. The kind of news tweeted is
completely based on NDTV's editorial guidelines. When everyone
is fervently trying to increase their followers' base, NDTV
does it with ease.
Analytics regarding the performance on Twitter are restricted
to get insights into where they might be failing rather than
where they made a lot of buzz on the social media. "We
go beyond targeting India and are also retweeted by many international
accounts as well," adds and ecstatic Bedi. Being humble
about the achievement, Bedi says "It is just a number
for us to let people know we are a good account."