Facebook has started rolling out Instant Articles to Android users in India with IndianExpress.com and four others publishers. The 3.3 million followers of The Indian Express Facebook page will now see multimedia-rich posts, which have been optimised for mobile users and will open in an instant, even on 2G networks. Instant Articles from indianexpress.com are live for iOS users as well.
India is the third region after US and Western Europe to get Instant Articles and the first where Android users will be able to access this content. So far Instant Articles was limited to iOS users. Facebook executives said this showed their commitment to the region and given the inconsistent internet infrastructure and connectivity issues in India, Instant Articles is a natural fit here. While Instant Articles is initially available to about five per cent of Android users, a full rollout is expected by end of the year.
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“We’re excited to be working with The Indian Express to bring their great and proven journalism to people in India with Instant Articles. Instant Articles is a great fit for Indian Express’ growing digital brand and its blend of great storytelling and young/intelligent audience. We look forward to working with them to scale the product on Android,” said Andy Mitchell, Director, News and Global Media Partnerships.
“Whether it be Dadri or crucial facts in the Faridabad killing, almost every alternate day, the topic of debate on Indian news TV and on dining tables across the country comes from an Indian Express news break or an essay by one of our columnists including Pratap Bhanu Mehta, P. Chidambaram, Tavleen Singh, Tunku Vardarajan, Lord Meghnad Desai, Surjit Bhalla or from an Express Blog penned by the likes of Nitish Kumar, Sushil Kumar Modi, Dinesh Trivedi or Raveena Tandon. Facebook’s instant articles has developed and refined as an excellent product and tool to have our award-winning reportage, columnists and bloggers reach even more readers, all in multimedia. We’re happy to be of the first line of partnerships Facebook has struck in India for the instant articles roll-out and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Facebook,” said Anant Goenka, Wholetime Director & Head – New Media at The Indian Express Group.
Instant Articles leverages the technology used to display photos and videos quickly in the Facebook app, to load articles instantly, as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web. It is a powerful new creative tool that bring stories to life by letting users zoom into high-resolution photos and tilt to explore them in detail. Autoplay videos come alive as you scroll through the article and interactive maps show where the news happened.
The other publishers in India are India Today, The Quint, Aaj Tak and Hindustan Times.