Juggernaut experiment, a few weeks later.


In one of my previous post I mentioned about the wonderful publishing experiment ongoing under the project name Juggernaut. A few weeks into the experiment I am here to share my thoughts and my experience so far.

First things first, the Content Delivery tool (the mobile App) is excellent in terms of content discovery (by virtue of simple yet unique categorization of content as per the reading habits and genre choices), reading interface (friendly & easy to read fonts along with proper brightness and colour combinations),  effortless navigation, and flawless order flow. The App is class apart, and the whole team needs to be applauded for achieving this class so early into the journey.

[Praise for the Juggernaut App is also important for one simple reason – It looks like a well researched App, instead of blindly copying from multiple other Apps. The research team’s work is impressive. 9 out of 10 Apps these days forget to do their basic homework, this App is unlike those 9 useless Apps.]

Juggernaut Team

When the App was launched a few weeks ago, they rightfully adopted the mass media to talk about their product to gain some awesome audience interest. I would say, the founders are wonderfully leveraging their media experience and connections. Full marks for adopting such a strategy. But what made me impressed was that the moment you got hold of their App and even before you wondered what next to do you saw the face of Sunny Leone (who has written a book for Juggernaut). I bet, most of the Indian readers couldn’t have just ignored the App and would have got enough kick to go ahead and explore the App. No wonder, the Android App has been downloaded more than 50k times, something which remains a dream for most of the companies.

In continuation to the adopted strategy, the team understood one of the realities pretty quickly – A user needs a push to start using the Juggernaut platform. They needed something for free to experiment and spend some time using the product. Hence they periodically gave away some of the books for free. Even I got two books, one by Khushwant Singh (who doesn’t like reading Khsuhwant Singh), and the one about Mumbai Mafia (I so wish to read it as quickly as possible). I am sure many people would have started to get a hang of the platform and the kind of content it aspires to deliver.

But one question got hooked in my mind – Is it possible to keep an audience base of around 100k reader hooked with so little content? I know they have just started and they are really pushing content at a pace quicker than the rest of the market, but it still not enough. Like I am purposely delaying the next book because I know that I don’t have anything to read until these guys release those promised books by Prashant Kishore and Sankarshan Thakur. (Yet again, I really like their strategy of keeping a reader in waiting mode for the upcoming books. Just like people wait for the movies after watching the trailer.)

Sometimes, a user will have to wait for his kind of content, and that would actually make the customer go back to his old means of consumption and if that happens, he might uninstall the App (which would make it another challenge for the company to earn the customer back on to the platform).

Next thing, what if I want to read the content on some other device? The company has not developed that solution as of now. But they will have to.

Thinking about the cash-flows, what if people don’t buy stuff? Because I doubt if Indians are really interested in reading books. Most of the times they are happy to read smaller articles and hence ignore the awesomeness of reading an elaborate script. This could be turn the whole idea towards futility. And in such a situation, the company needs to come up with alternate plans to monetize the platform. (I have a little fear that this platform will need to adopt those monetization sooner than I believe.)

Do they face any competition? Yes and No. Publishing & Content distribution business is dependent and divided by only two factors – Content and Medium of distribution. In this case, Content being distributed is mostly exclusive, and the medium of distribution is also exclusive in terms of App/Devices. So, in essence Juggernaut’s ideal audience is the one who wants to read ebooks, on a mobile screen, and he is capable of paying for his exclusive reading genre. The competition comes from two sides – Content Exclusivity (who all create exclusive content?) and the Devices which are already have enough content to keep the audience hooked. The obvious answer comes from those tabloids and article churners who have their own Apps (or are content aggregators) and the Devices (like Kindle) which have millions of ebooks behind them. I hope the company knows how to sail through this competition.

As of now, I am absolutely hopeful that Juggernaut has the potential to keep us hooked and away from stray content available over internet. But they need to really strive hard to keep us away from our Kindle devices.




Juggernaut: A Publishing experiment

Jauggernaut App Launch

If you have ever loved reading, you would sense the thrill and joy of seeing a new book. I still salivate at the very thought of reading a book. No wonder a time came in my life when I was carrying more books than clothes, utensils, and other stuff combined together. And for a nomad like me, it started to make sense to switch to a technology which saves this regular effort of carrying books from one place to other. And hence a point came in my life when I switched to Kindle, and so far its been a wonderful companion. No more hassles when I shift my house or travel for unknown number of days. My books travel with me 🙂

But is Amazon Kindle a success because of its light-weight, or long battery life, or e-ink technology? Isn’t all this a part of technology which everyone can replicate? There has to be something more than just technology. And this fact becomes even more evident when you realize the fact that companies like Sony tried to come up with e-readers long before we saw Kindle, and even to this date there are so many companies which are trying their fate in this new era of digital content selling and distribution, like Rakuten’s Kobo or Barnes & Noble’s Nook, these all companies have not got the use acceptance they aspired for. And the reason for their lower acceptance rate vary from low range of books available in their bookstore, to the high price of their devices, to the poor partnerships by publishers to exclusively tie-up with them.

And while all this competition among eBook readers was on, we got a new creature to deal with – The SmartPhone, which claimed to replace all other screens in our lives. And to a great extent it has been really successful in replacing every other screen from our lives. So how did the digital publishing industry survive? Instead of fighting the SmartPhone screen, they got friendlier with them – they created Apps which could replicate the experience of their eBook reading experience on their devices, while keeping everything in the background same. Still the game didn’t change – Amazon still controls the largest share of the market for one simple reason – It has the largest content repository and is most accessible buying platform for the whole world.

So how can someone make a place for itself in such a market? I am sure someone must have asked this question while thinking of starting a Publishing company like Juggernaut. When I heard about this company I was immediately interested in learning what these guys are trying to do, and how. I learnt that this company has been started by Chiki Sarkar who has been associated with publishing industry. The company is headed by Durga Raghunath, who has been in Digital Media and Publishing for over a decade now. And to top it all, they have by now acquired a set of high profile people and writers to contribute to this project. I am sure there is something great cooking here 🙂

Their business model orbits around the core idea of making content readable on mobile devices and distributing it among the  contemporary youth and other readers whose tastes are fast changing.

In past many months I have been receiving a weekly newsletters from them which speaks a lot about the quality and variety they are trying to offer. I am indeed pleased that a modern day publishing company from India is trying its best to develop a great network of content creators,  distribution channel by leveraging technology, and aiming at audience who can easily afford this content. I am sure there is some great innings about to start with this publishing company’s App which is due for release on 23rd April 2016.

I am willing to see how quickly they can churn out engaging content and how soon they master the art of creating something for everyone. I am absolutely hopeful that these guys are on the verge of creating a history in Indian publishing.

Juggernaut, I am with you in this brave experiment you have taken up. Bring it on, I will excuse my Kindle for the sake of empowering this Indian experiment.