For a fashion and lifestyle newsroom, the sixth floor of the Times Internet building in Gurugram has an awful lot of cartons, both packed and empty, lying around. The shelves are stacked with unlabelled products; one of the cabins is now a storage room. The entire floor has been like this for more than six months now.

A freshly assembled team of 25 people, including some cosmetologists, scurries around, trying to do what all of digital media is desperate to manage—a way to make money beyond advertising. The plan is to build what Angad Bhatia, chief operating officer at Indiatimes Lifestyle Network, calls “a minicorn, if not a unicorn.”

To do this, Times Internet is betting on its fashion, lifestyle and pop-culture media vertical—Indiatimes Lifestyle Network. More specifically, its four content websites: MensXP, iDiva, Whats Hot and Indiatimes. Over the years, these websites have developed a loyal subscriber base. Across the four sites, the company claims a total of 40 million monthly active users and 3 million daily active users. To give you an idea of the sort of scale Times Internet is claiming, Delhi—the world’s second most populous city according to UN estimates—clocks in at around 29 million inhabitants.

And now, Times, through these four properties, wants a share of India’s online fashion market. According to a March 2017 report put out by Facebook and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), this market was estimated to be worth $4 billion. This will only grow in the coming years as the same BCG-Facebook report forecasts that the number of online fashion shoppers will go up to 130-135 million by 2020 from just 55-60 million in 2016.

In a first, Times Internet is planning to get into niche e-commerce with its own private label brands. These will span categories such as grooming, apparel, and accessories. What is different about this e-commerce plan is that there won’t be an independent portal to sell these brands. Instead, Times Internet is betting on selling directly through its content properties. 

$12-14 billion

The estimated size of India's fashion e-commerce market by 2020, according to the BCG-Facebook report

The plan has been in the making for about eight months and may serve a dual purpose for Times Internet. Most importantly, it will be an additional stream of revenue that can help monetise the 40 million monthly active users on these properties. Secondly, it serves as a comeback of sorts to e-commerce for Times after the failure of Indiatimes Shopping.

Indiatimes Shopping was launched in 2000 as an online marketplace. However, the company couldn’t float, and after going back and forth on reviving and rationalising it, it was eventually relaunched as Gadgets Now, an online content portal for electronic devices.

AUTHOR

Harveen Ahluwalia

In her last assignment, Harveen was at Mint, the business daily published by HT Media. At Mint, where she spent about two years, she wrote stories on retail, food and the media business. Harveen is a B.Com (H) graduate from Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi. She has a diploma in journalism from the Times School of Journalism. Like many folks at The Ken, Harveen talks and tweets a lot. When she isn’t writing or reading, she likes to sketch and doodle. She can be reached at harveen at the-ken dot com.

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at support@the-ken.com with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at info@the-ken.com or follow us on Twitter.