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Exclusive: Soon, watch Republic TV’s Arnab in VR!

You may love him or hate him, but there’s no denying Arnab Goswami, the editor and founder of Republic TV polarises opinion. While his style of presenting news is certainly controversial and contrived to an extent, Republic’s digital strategy isn’t. It has taken a digital first approach and is innovating in numerous areas something unique for a new media venture. Be it the type of technology the company is deploying on the web for streaming live news to the masses or be it cloud computing or virtual reality which would make it one of the first media ventures out of the country to delve into the medium.

Recently, the media venture launched a new version of its live streaming platform on the web. On a technical level, RepublicWorld.com’s platform is better than some of the live streaming players in the Indian market like Hotstar which also is in the space of parlaying live videos to millions of viewers across the world.

RepublicWorld.com claims that its platform can showcase full HD video, something Hotstar can’t at the moment. Interestingly, the Republic TV website has also introduced an industry first “portrait view” taking into account that “98 percent of the time mobiles are held in the vertical position”.

“We’ve adopted a data science approach to everything we do from content recommendation to personalisation and audience behaviour allowing us to directly address each one of our digital audiences. We also have a multi-language, highly personalized digital product,” said Jay Chauhan, COO of RepublicWorld.com in an exclusive interview with dia.

Portrait view has been fuelled by the fact that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat all encourage users to view their content in portrait mode. Furthermore, Republic has seemingly followed the path international publications like BBC, the Washington Post and Conde Nast who have also invested in vertical video formats.

A part of this approach involves development of an app which Chauhan says will be released “in the next few weeks.” Contrastingly to other media houses, Republic is also leveraging Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform as opposed to Amazon Web Services which are employed by the likes of NDTV and India Today’s online divisions.

Microsoft and Republic of course have a deep partnership as they were the launch partners and if one tunes in to Republic News, one can even see Microsoft’s Surface tablets being used by news presenters including Arnab Goswami.

Technology wise, Republic has collaborated with a Bangalore-based startup which has built a custom streaming engine that Jay Chauhan contends outperforms off the shelf solutions.

“Currently we are streaming on H.264, but are already H.265 ready and as soon as our OVP provider is ready with H.265 support in the next few months, we will roll out the new streaming engine,” says Chauhan.

As RepublicWorld.com scales up its digital footprint, it will be doubling down on VR content and will be investing in the immersive experiences. Already, RepublicWorld.com has a VR section that caters 360 degree video, but as live is a big part of its narrative, it could be one of the next things it attempts. And yes, that means you could be soon experiencing Arnab in virtual reality. Now that would be something wouldn’t it?