PVR, NODWIN Gaming announce launch of India’s first in-cinema esports live tournaments

This initiative is expected to fast track esports entertainment’s growth trajectory in the country by combining the appeal of esports gaming with the magic of big-screen experience

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Oct 4, 2021 4:15 PM  | 3 min read
Nodwin Gaming & PVR partnership

PVR Limited and NODWIN Gaming, an Esports company, today announced the partnership of an innovative entertainment experience with the launch of India’s first In-Cinema Esports live tournaments together. The pilot will commence with the popular game ‘Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI)’ and going forward would include games from different genres. Gamers and gaming enthusiasts across the country will be able to participate in Online Esports Cups and In-Cinema tournaments with separate prize pools for each city.

This initiative is expected to fast track esports entertainment’s growth trajectory in India by combining the appeal of esports gaming with the magic of big screen experience. The quarter-final, semi-final and finals of the cups, in each participating city, will be broadcasted in select PVR Cinemas, along with live streams on various digital platforms, including NODWIN Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/NODWINGaming/, NODWIN Youtube page https://www.youtube.com/c/NodwinGamingwww.pvrcinemas.com & PVR mobile app.   

“NODWIN Gaming has always emphasized on the importance of reinforcing grassroot development that can be a strong and reliable foundation for esports, and this property is a step in that direction. City-level penetration of professional esports leads to solid exposure for the grassroot ecosystem and as seen in the past, the more exposed the grassroots is, the better it gets at the higher tiers. This in turn paves the way for collective growth of all tiers of professional players. Our association with PVR Cinemas opens a corridor towards mainstreaming esports and placing it right in the middle of the entertainment industry. Esports as an upcoming medium of interactive entertainment has had its fair share of visibility in the jam-packed arenas but it’s about time that we bring action to the silver screen. NODWIN, along with building grassroots, will also give its audience a premium watching experience with this partnership”, said Akshat Rathee, MD & Co-Founder, NODWIN Gaming.

“At PVR, we strive to continually evolve as an entertainment destination, offering our customers the opportunity to have an entertaining escape into more than just big films. Our immersive environment lends itself particularly well to the gaming community, putting players in the universes in which they are competing. We are excited to bring big games to the big screen in collaboration with NODWIN Gaming”, said Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, Joint Managing Director, PVR Limited. 

“Our purpose at PVR is to gather, grow and entertain communities. With us becoming a part of Indian esports eco-system, we have the opportunity to serve our purpose by giving PVR communities another entertaining way to gather on our esports platform. NODWIN team has a relentless passion for gaming, we are delighted to be partnering with them on this initiative” said Kamal Gianchandani, Chief of Strategy, PVR Limited. 

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Will Yaccarino’s Twitter bring brands back on board?

Being an advertising veteran, Yaccarino is expected to collaborate with advertisers and turn the platform positive for marketers, say brand experts  

By Nilanjana Basu | May 29, 2023 8:40 AM   |   5 min read

Linda

It has been two weeks since Elon Musk announced that Linda Yaccarino, ex-NBCUniversal advertising head, will be the new CEO of Twitter. Although there are a few weeks left for her to take over as the top exec, the expectations from Yaccarino are quite high already.

Being a huge influence in the advertising space and driving NBCUniversal’s growth, Yaccarino has been a name synonymous with the glam world of marketing and advertising. She was a key member in the launch of the ad-supported Peacock streaming service for NBCUniversal and she is said to be a great candidate for luring back advertisers to the social media platform after the setback last year post-Musk’s takeover.

Before the new CEO announcement, research firm Insider Intelligence in April cut Twitter’s global ad revenues forecast by 37%. “This is the second consecutive downgrade since Musk first offered to buy the company in April 2022. In Q3 2022, we decreased our outlook for the company’s ad business by 30% compared with the prior forecast,” the report said.

According to a source-based report by a business publication, GroupM removed its “high risk” classification for Twitter, and informed its clients that they are “cautiously optimistic” about Yaccarino’s appointment. GroupM had classified Twitter as “high risk” last November after Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover. We reached out to GroupM for comment on the same but it was denied.

In India, Mondelez also said that it would pause paid-ads on the platform when Musk took over in November. A plethora of global brands also went off Twitter advertising. But with Yaccarino’s appointment, will there be a change in the way brands and advertisers in the country approach the platform? What are the expectations? We asked experts.

Savior for Twitter’s ad revenue?

Brand expert Lloyd Mathias believes Yaccarino’s appointment could be a game-changer for ramping up advertising revenues on Twitter. “Linda Yaccarino’s appointment is a slightly late acknowledgement by Elon Musk. Twitter will need the support of advertising to stay afloat. Everyone knows that Twitter's financials are in a deep mess. When Musk took over, he thought he could convert the business model seamlessly into subscription plus commerce. That obviously has not taken off. So now, I think there's a clear acknowledgement that if Twitter has to grow, it can grow at the back of getting advertisers to advertise on the Twitter platform.

Therefore, you're getting an advertising specialist, someone who spent many years with NBCUniversal advertising, sales and marketing. She will be on the front in terms of getting advertisers back into the platform. A lot of them have left the platform in the last one-year because Twitter became very toxic. I think, hopefully, she'll bring some stability.”

Speaking about the impact on Indian advertisers, Mathias said it was better to wait and watch. “With somebody who understands what clients want, what advertisers want, I think there will be a change in some of the things the way Twitter is doing it. So, one is to ensure that advertisers have a slightly safer environment to advertise. Advertisers do not want to be in a very controversial place. Once she's able to impact that element, I think it'll be positive; it will see a lot more advertisers wanting to come back. But like I said, for now, it's a wait-and-watch. People will need to see how the platform is changing. Right now, it is not obviously one of the most-favoured platforms, advertisers spend a lot more on channels like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. But I think over time, one will need to see how it evolves. But the fact that there is a change, a much-needed change and hopefully some fresh thinking, is very positive.”

Amit Dhawan, Partner and CEO, Art-E says Yaccarino could use her knowledge and her commitment to diversity to drive growth among Indian users. “Considering her background and extensive experience, it is likely that she will prioritize the growth of Twitter's advertising business by actively collaborating with advertisers in the Indian community and jointly developing solutions. Notably, in her recent series of tweets, Yaccarino has emphasized the word "together" multiple times, suggesting a focus on fostering partnerships and implementing region-specific enhancements, particularly in user targeting. Given her profound understanding of the global media landscape, she may also concentrate on expanding Twitter's presence in new markets and engaging with a broader user base in all regions. As a visionary leader, Yaccarino is expected to explore innovative ways to leverage technology and enhance Twitter's value for Indian users. Furthermore, her commitment to diversity and inclusion suggests she will work towards making Twitter a more inclusive and welcoming platform for all Indian users.

As for Viren Razdan, Managing Director at Brand-nomics, brands will be Yaccarino’s biggest focus. “Yaccarino comes with a solid story from ad sales at top media brands, known for her tough negotiation and relationship management skills with top honchos. She has been nicknamed ‘the velvet hammer’ for this blend of tough and soft effective approach.

Post Musk’s takeover of Twitter many big advertisers almost abandoned the platform weary of how the brand association would work. Enter Yaccarino - to reverse this slide back. While Musk and company fine-tune the product, Yaccarino is to ensure the platform syncs to the tune of the brands.”

“Yaccarino is riding heavy on her reputation. What really is to be seen is how she brings brands back on the platform, and how makes the engagement sing,” Razdan added.

 

 

 

 

 

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Agencies for AI regulation in India

TechTalk: This is the first of a two-part series that explores what advertisers and agencies want from upcoming regulations on Generative AI

By Shantanu David | May 29, 2023 8:14 AM   |   6 min read

Techtalk

As human calls to regulate rapidly growing AI capabilities, particularly Generative AI tools like ChatGPT, grow louder, with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman to Apple’s Steve Wozniak to X’s Elon Musk demanding government oversight if not all out pausing development of AI capabilities, India has chosen a different path.

After hemming and hawing over fears that regulation would stifle innovation and entrepreneurship, India's digital and technology authorities have announced that the long-awaited Digital India Act will include provisions for setting guardrails for AI. Union Minister of State for IT and Electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar told a news agency that the Act will regulate AI and emerging technologies through the ‘prism of user harm’, while noting that India has its own ideas on AI regulation.

“Are AI regulations important? Certainly! AI-based applications can possess serious short and long-term negative impacts when deployed incorrectly - intentionally or otherwise,” states Anand Chakravarthy - Chief Growth Officer, Omnicom Media Group India, adding “In advertising and media – many new-age AdTech and MarTech tools use or claim to leverage AI as their core USP. These platforms or tools are likely to be affected by new AI regulations as well as by Data Protection regulations.”

““It's one of my areas of greatest concern. Let's not ignore the words of Sam Altman, the architect behind one of the most groundbreaking AI technologies of our time. If we don't start considering the importance of AI regulation now, we risk the potential misuse of this powerful technology in the future,” cautions Samir Asher, Co-founder and COO, at Tonic Worldwide.

“Picture this: AI technology taking the advertising and marketing industry by storm. On one hand, the benefits are too tempting to ignore. On the other hand, the thought of privacy invasion and data misuse can send chills down our spines. AI can delve into vast amounts of personal data to sculpt detailed user profiles. But without the right permissions or protections, it's like peeking through someone's window,” he says.

“Worse, if this data strays into the wrong hands, it could spawn nightmares like identity theft or fraud. And yes, AI can track our digital breadcrumbs across different platforms, serving up ads that hit the bulls’ eye. With access to data and detailed user profiles, it could unfortunately also streamline large-scale spamming and phishing efforts. This misuse could open the floodgates to potential scams or data breaches,” adds Asher.

AI has been a part of the media industry and has shown tremendous growth over the years. Platforms like Google and Meta have consistently been using AI-based optimizers that enable campaign execution through their platforms.

Over the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of AdTech tools claiming to be using Advanced AI, says Chakravarthy, noting, “At the heart of AI is the usage of historical data to train models so that they are able to automatically make decisions when put to use. So, one of the most critical aspects when using any AI application or tool is the quality of data that was used to primarily train the AI model. This is where the larger problem exists. When historical data is flawed or skewed or biased in any way, this flaw will be carried forward and propagated by the AI application.”

John Paite, Chief Creative Officer (ART & TECH) Media.Monks India, agrees, observing “AI gets trained under thousands of models and may not be able to categorize race, gender and other ethical matters. End users will need to have a QA team to monitor outputs before publishing them. In conclusion, we have to be responsible and use it with precaution for anything that is AI-generated as it is randomized and consistency is still a big issue.”

Vijay Varshney, Head of Technology, MESA at Smollan, believes that addressing certain areas within the advertising and marketing industry is crucial when it comes to AI regulations. Promoting transparency in AI-powered advertising, particularly in the retail sector, can build trust among consumers through personalized product recommendations.

“I also believe there is a need to strengthen consumer protection laws, such as the existing Consumer Protection Act of 1986 in India, to safeguard against biased, deceptive practices and false claims about products driven by AI-based marketing algorithms. By doing so, we can enhance transparency in the industry. It is important to recognize that the integration of AI technology in the retail industry is an ongoing journey,” says Varshney, adding it is therefore necessary to amend and update associated laws in a timely manner, ensuring they keep pace with the evolving landscape and effectively address the challenges and opportunities presented by AI-driven marketing.

Vivek Kumar Anand, Chief Business Officer, DViO Digital agrees that the need for AI regulation has ignited a spirited debate within various business communities, and he prefers to take a different view.

“In a written statement, IT and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw clarified that the Indian government does not plan to introduce laws to restrict the growth of artificial intelligence. However, it was acknowledged that ethical concerns and risks surround AI, prompting government agencies to embark on efforts to standardise responsible AI practices and foster their widespread adoption.”

The perspective resonates with the viewpoint of Yann LeCun, the chief AI scientist at Meta, who chose not to endorse the open letter advocating for AI regulation. LeCun believes that demanding safety measures for current AI systems, which possess limited capabilities, is premature.

“I align myself with this standpoint. Imposing excessive and stringent regulations at this early stage of exploring AI's potential could stifle creativity and impede the development of valuable AI-driven advertising technologies. Thus, regulations should strike a delicate balance between promoting innovation and ensuring responsible AI use,” says Anand.

“Since advertising and marketing is an industry that directly speaks to the general audience there are several things that have to be caveated. Plagiarism and infringement of copyright has to be checked before publishing any form of content. There are other AI platforms that can quickly help the process,” adds Paite.

“With Deepfakes in advertising, a company could whip up a video featuring a popular celebrity seemingly endorsing their product. However, this could potentially lead consumers down a misleading path and tarnish the reputation of the unsuspecting individuals involved. AI can also perfectly mimic the voice of a famous personality or a loved one, says Asher, concluding “While we embrace AI's perks, we must avoid crossing into discomfort, privacy breaches, or manipulation.







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YouTube to soon have 30-sec unskippable ads for CTV

This will replace the current format of two 15-second ads

By exchange4media Staff | May 26, 2023 11:53 AM   |   1 min read

Youtube

YouTube has said it will be introducing new ad offering for 30-second unskippable ads on connected TVs, media networks have reported. As per YouTube this will enable a "richer storytelling".

This will replace the current format of two 15-second ads that are aired in a row.

YouTube Select offers marketers the chance to spend on curated content in various categories.

As per media reports, YouTube Select gets over 70% impressions on TV.

Experts say YouTube helps to build a large and loyal user base over the years.

The creator community has been key in building a bond between businesses and consumers, and enables brands to focus on a difficult-to-reach demographic.

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'Collaborators have one goal – make the idea big!’

Day 2 of Goafest 2023 saw a panel of experts coming together to discuss how content creators and agencies can create a thriving creative community

By exchange4media Staff | May 26, 2023 8:56 AM   |   3 min read

Goafest

On day 2 of Goa Fest, experts spoke about collaboration and how it can work wonders for campaigns, helping them reach millions and shaping brands.  

This session narrowed down the connection between content creators and collaborators and the need to foster a thriving creative community.  

OMS Digital, a part of the Times Group presented the ASCI Creators Session, titled 'Creator Calling Creator.’  

The session was moderated by Subhash Kamath - Former CEO, BBH & Publicis Worldwide, India and Former Chairman - ASCI. The panellists included Rajdeepak Das - Chief Creative Officer and CEO, Leo Burnett, South Asia; India & Chairman, Creative Council, Publicis Groupe - South Asia; Shreya Agarwal - Head of Filter Copy, Pocket Aces; Smruthi Rajagopalan - AGM Maybelline, L’Oreal and Prableen Kaur Bhomrah, Beauty, Fashion, Body Positive & Lifestyle Influencer.  

Das started with an interesting observation about creativity: "The best thing about the best Creativity happens when you don't have many options or resources.” 

Conversely, he said that the worst type of creativity happens when you have a lot of options. 

Speaking from the perspective of creators who have to speak on behalf of brands, Bhomrah said, "Our followers are the inspiration that drives us. They give us validation. When I started, some brands asked me to do things I didn’t believe in. I stood against it and that's when I started my no-filter journey. And now the brands have come back to me, asking me to do a no-filter campaign."  

Rajagopalan chimed in and said that there are influencers who came to the brand and told them that they will not promote a product because it wasn't working for them.  

When asked about the collaboration of agencies, creators and influencers, Bhomrah observed, "We have a lot of successful campaigns which came out of collaboration. The agency partner has recognised that this platform is a great one for the brand to reach the target audience. Some of the biggest brand campaigns have happened through collaboration with brands like Cadbury and Pepsi. 

“Earlier, we used to work with the brand directly because it will eliminate one feedback loop in the middle but we realised that the agency understands where you are going and they will push for you harder,” he said.  

Das reacted to the statement, saying, "Brands take time to build. In times like these, you need multiple mediums to create brands. A shoe is a shoe and jeans is a jeans till an agency get into it. And that's how we make brands. If we get mediums and creators, we have to have a brand structure." 

Das also said that agencies are the brand's custodians, and now influencers have also become that. -

agencies are the brand's custodians, and now influencers have also become that.  

Rajagopalan spoke on medium and how they are using it to reach consumers. "I think in today's time, you have to think about mediums, the time spent on one creative is very small. The consumers don’t go only on one platform."  

Speakng on ideas and how one can have a successful collaboration, Das added, “Ideas can come from anywhere, the only thing that matters is how we make it big. For that to happen, all the collaborators need to have one goal - to make the idea big.”  

In summary, the conversation underlined the power of creators coming together to collectively exchange ideas, share knowledge, and elevate their craft.

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iBROAD7 restructures under umbrella entity Reach India

This restructuring has been done keeping in mind the emerging opportunities in programmatic audio, branded podcasts & digital media

By exchange4media Staff | May 25, 2023 8:32 PM   |   3 min read

ibroad

iBroad7 is now expanding and scaling up rapidly with focus on the new economy, along with a sharp focus on localisation of campaigns and content.

The company is expanding, both vertically and horizontally, under a new umbrella entity— Reach India —in a sharply engaged hub-and-spoke model, with widened national and international operations and new lines of businesses.

This restructuring has been done keeping in mind the emerging landscape in the media, brand communication and content space. This includes programmatic audio, branded podcasts, digital media, and tech-enabled real time media buying and planning.

“Over the last few years we have seen many brands and organisations, some of which we have had the privilege to serve and many which we would love to serve, grow manifold. We would like to be a part of this journey, chronicling their march, telling their stories, and amplifying and localising their conversations through audio, digital, content, and other formats in any language, anywhere in India,” said Rohit Upadhyay, Managing Director of Reach India.

Upadhyay founded iBroad7 in 2010 and since shepherded it into India’s biggest in the audio space. It has created and serviced 1800+ brands, across geographies, industries, sectors, products and services through 2 million + campaigns and 4 million+ creatives.

 

iBroad7 will remain the anchor entity for steering the group’s flagship radio operations. It currently serves several marque brands across a wide range of industries and segments including start-ups, e-commerce, real estate, government, automobile, food, spirits and beverages, hospitality, travel and tourism, electronics, pharmaceuticals, ed-tech, and BFSI among others.

The brand portfolio includes Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI), Zomato, Spicejet, Cars24, SBI, L&T Realty, Godrej group, Goodyear, HDFC Ergo, Foodpanda, Cure.Fit, MI, Zoomcar, Dunzo, Patanjali, and Eazydiner among a host of other storied MNC and Indian brands.

iBroad7 is expanding internationally as well. It has recently set up its office in Dubai to service the Middle-east and North Africa Region (MENA). “There are plans to expand to Singapore, soon,”  Upadhyay said.

The new businesses include Audiostre to serve as a single roof solution for programmatically buying digital audio at scale. Audiostream allows brands to reach across multiple music streaming and podcast publishers to optimally reach their target audience at the click of a button. It enables non-skippable audio spots with a very high listen through ratio (LTR) of 90-95%, complete transparency in KPI measurement. Brands can reach out to listeners via: Age, Gender, Location, Language, Genre. l Audiostream enables video advertisement on Spotify, Wynk, Hungama and Saavn.

A new business—The Buying Hub--has also been set up as a one-stop shop for real-time media buying and planning on a single platform that enables brands to localise their campaigns. Brands will be able to log on to the specially created platform that contains all information about inventories and rates across media—from radio, print, television, OOH, OTTs, and much more.

Another arm, Digisutra is a future-ready digital marketing, social media, and branding & communications solutions agency. Digisutra’s range of offering includes digital media, digital media buying & PPC, influencer marketing, integrated creative development, content creation, website development and management, social media strategy and development, SEO, CRO &SEM strategy & implementation, OTT & connected TVs, and much more.

It has also branched into the creator economy with Earshot Audio India’s only PaaS (Podcast as a Service) company, offering a complete suite of services that includes production, publishing and promotion of branded podcast IPs for brands and organisations.

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Shemaroo to put in Rs 75 crore to expand broadcast, OTT biz

The company is expected to come up with new offerings in FY24

By exchange4media Staff | May 25, 2023 10:05 AM   |   1 min read

Shemaroo

Shemaroo is likely to invest Rs 75 crore in its broadcast and OTT business, media networks have reported.

The money will be utilised for ShemarooMe, CEO Hiren Gada was quoted as saying.

In FY24, the company wants to expand its TV and OTT businesses along with introducing new offerings, reports said.

The company has registered an annual growth of 23.3 % in digital media and 66.5 % in traditional media in the financial year ended 31st March 2023 compared to the previous fiscal.

ShemarooMe, the OTT Platform, released 14 titles in the fourth quarter.

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Meta starts last phase of lay-offs

The employees affected are in marketing, site security, content strategy and corporate communications, as per reports

By exchange4media Staff | May 25, 2023 8:43 AM   |   1 min read

Meta

Meta has carried out its last phase of lay-offs, according to media reports.

The company announced in March that it will start letting go off employees. Over 20,000 employees have been already given the pink slips.

The staffers affected are in departments like marketing, site security, enterprise engineering, content strategy and corporate communications.

Meta has said that these steps are aimed at improving efficiency.

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