2014 may not be that long ago, but in the eight years since then, the Sri Lankan digital media landscape has evolved beyond recognition. At the forefront has been Roar Media, launched the same year by Roar Global, to cater to young digital-natives who were hungry for a local media platform that uncovered the stories of people and places that weren’t told by mainstream media. In 2016, it launched its Sinhala, Tamil and Bangla editions, and in 2017, the company established Roar Studios, an in-house branded content production studio that now focuses primarily on documentary storytelling and high-quality advertorial campaigns.
Today, Roar Media is one of the most respected independent new media brands, reaching 7.5 million people across Sri Lanka and around the world who visit our different channels for content that is informative, entertaining and, most importantly, credible. Roar Studios has worked with 200+ brands and non-profit organizations and continues to develop innovative docu-series projects that cover social issues, culture, design and architecture, travel, and food.
Both business units have been operating independently of each other for the last six years - working closely only occasionally, such as for content production for partnerships. But starting January 2023, they will come together to form a singular, cross-functional team under the brand Roar Media. This decision comes after a thorough analysis of the potential for the two teams to work together on larger, more complex and exciting projects, both editorial and branded, in the coming year.
The merge will allow for better collaboration between the teams, with Roar Media supporting branded content campaigns with its expertise in journalism for more impactful, research-driven storytelling, and Roar Studios lending its capacities in production, content writing, and account management to plan and produce new projects, including more docu-series and strategic partnerships that position Roar Media as the most authoritative media platform in Sri Lanka.
Roar Media is armed with a strong editorial team, counting among it experienced and young journalists, video editors, photographers and designers who are driven by its focus and approach to innovative storytelling and do so in all three official languages in Sri Lanka - English, Sinhala and Tamil. In 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was awarded a grant by the Google News Initiative for its Contributor Platform, which opened up the platform for original, well-researched articles by guest writers and freelancers. Roar Studios, over the years, has grown from a handful of creatives to a fully-fledged team comprising three teams: video production and graphic design, account management and sales, and creative. Together, under this new direction, the new Roar Media team will comprise 30+ people, working across multiple languages and content formats.
Over the last eight years, Roar Media has had its fair share of repositioning and restrategizing but has remained steadfast on its policy of not reporting on politics and gossip. At the beginning of 2021, as Sri Lanka began to feel the effects of its worst economic meltdown in 70 years, the editorial team felt compelled to report from the ground, covering the impact the crisis had on citizens, institutions and businesses as well as the people’s protests that called for immediate solutions. This led, as it has before during times of crises, to a divergence from its focus on history, culture and lifestyle.
To address this, Roar Media recently wrote its latest content policy, outlining its strategy going forward for content that will be published on its website and social channels. Reiterating its focus areas, the new policy also highlights the topics and themes it will not cover on the platform going forward. These include politics, gossip, celebrity lifestyle, press releases, and unmarked branded content. These guidelines will also apply to any branded articles and videos that are published on the Roar Media platforms.
Read the latest content policy here.
This year, Roar Media also welcomed a much-anticipated revamp of its website. One of the earliest winning factors of the platform was its minimalist, ad- and clutter-free design, making it stand apart from other news and content websites at the time. The new design and experience stays close to this concept — a multilingual, multimedia platform that is mobile-first, highly responsive and allows for seamlessly crossing over to a language of choice.
Here’s a quick look at how it works
Roar Media is a pioneer in Sri Lankan media, arriving at a time when audience habits were rapidly changing and local journalism needed a facelift to reach young readers. Its success and approach to storytelling led to the birth of Roar Studios, our in-house branded content studio that now produces impact-driven documentaries. It has won several awards for innovation and business excellence, and its reputation has gone a long way in Roar Global’s securing of partnerships with leading international platforms such as Meta and Google. Roar Media is ever-evolving; it will pursue new audiences, formats and technologies, but while doing so, will continue to bring context and insight to the people, places and culture of Sri Lanka.