Niche and special interest media company, 9.9 Mediaworx, has acquired a government-focused online portal for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition has been done in a combination of cash and stock deal.

With the acquisition of iGovernment, 9.9 Mediaworx will enter the government vertical targeting the advertising and promotions budget of companies focused on e-governance. “We had identified the government vertical as an area that we wanted to get into anyway. And as we were doing a research on that area we came across iGovernment. And Webchutney was also looking to get out of running a lot of portals that they had started last year. It seemed like a good platform to build upon instead of starting from scratch,” said Pramath Raj Sinha, managing director and co-founder of 9.9 Mediaworx.

iGovernment was set up by Delhi-based technology journalists, Shubhendu Parth and Pravin Prashant, in March 2008. The portal was incubated by Goosefish Media Ventures, an investment arm of WebChutney, a digital ad agency. It claims to have more than 40,000 registered subscribers for its daily news letter and gets about 3.5 lakh visitors per month.

iGovernment is a B2B platform that fulfils the information needs of those in the supply side of governance, and also focuses on capacity building as well as consulting in ICT for the development space. The portal also plans to do events with the government. “Along with this acquisition, we have also gained a good team, a website that is already up and running for almost a year and a pipeline of events,” Sinha said.

This is 9.9 Media’s second acquisition since its inception. The company had acquired Jasubhai Digital Media (JDM) in December 2007. 9.9 Media provides knowledge and information to targeted consumers, businesses and professional communities through magazines, websites, events, and peer groups.

Despite the slowdown, 9.9 Media’s revenues have continued to grow over the last year. The company registered a revenue growth of 15-20% last year. Sinha said, “We had taken over a company (Jasubhai Digital Media) that was struggling in the first place so we had worked very hard last year to build a strong position so I think that is what helped us (in growing the revenues). In the second half of the last year, we also went through a very tough time.” 

Sinha agrees that the niche media industry has been hit by the global economic downturn. He says, “We all need to pull up our socks at a time like this. Because its tough to survive in this industry.” He also feels that the opportunities in the sector are increasing as people are spending a more money on events and online. “The opportunity to do plain vanilla stuff is gone I think. People are looking for more value addition and more customisation and flexibility,” he said.

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