Twitter always a nice-to-have, not a must-have, say advertisers

Brands are going to pause and play the wait-and-watch game going forward, say industry experts

e4m by Shantanu David
Published: Nov 17, 2022 9:11 AM  | 5 min read
twitter

Twitter will now charge $8 per month for users to get that desirable blue tick; Twitter has paused the $8 subscription. Parody accounts will be suspended; parody accounts are allowed but need to mention they’re parody accounts. Official accounts of celebrities and brands will have an official tag next to their account names; that’s been now removed; it’s back again.

While the internet is here for Elon Musk’s chaotic management style as he continues his transformation of the “world’s town square”, advertisers are warily backing away, and none too slowly. Platformer and Digiday earlier this week reported that GroupM, Twitter’s biggest spender, has joined IPG and Omnicom Media Group in recommending its exhaustive client list to pause their advertising on Twitter (though their agency executives remain tight-lipped on the actual details).

Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea, points out that as far as advertising on Twitter is concerned, brands are going to pause and play the wait-and-watch game. “They will see how the policies pan out and how Elon Musk acts, especially when it comes to handling negative comments. Going forward, brands will be extremely concerned about ensuring how they are advertised and presented on a platform that is conducive. Advertisers will also ensure that the rub-off of the negativity on the platform does not hit the brand hard.”

Ticked Off

Vivek Kumar Anand, Director – Business & Innovation, DViO Digital, agrees that there has been chaos at Twitter since Elon Musk's takeover, saying, "Adding to it are Musk's confusing tweets, senior management resignations from critical posts and the recent abuse of blue checks.”

“All of these have made the platform very volatile, making it prudent for advertisers and businesses to take a break till they get some clarity on the future of Twitter, its policies, processes, brand safety and client investment on the platform to avoid any investment, brand safety or a cybersecurity risk,” he adds.

Experts point to the fact that several accounts, including those of controversial users like Donald Trump and Kanye West, were suspended by the previous Twitter management, which may now be restored, given Musk’s free speech absolutism.

“Brands, therefore, will be conscious and closely monitor the situation to understand how these accounts come back and more importantly what will be the process to get them back. This will speak volumes about Twitter’s approach towards trolls and how the platform is going to be used,” says Pillai.

An agency head, speaking on the conditions of anonymity, notes that advertisers are always sensitive and attentive to the changing landscape of social media. “For brands, it is essential to get a clear picture of the type of content their ads run against. No one would like to see their ads alongside divisive and harmful content. Brands may need to exercise caution until the new content moderation policy is introduced,” they say.

By the Numbers

And therein lies the rub. As far as numbers go, Twitter is hardly the most user-heavy platform out there. The world’s three biggest social media platforms all boast a monthly user count of two billion and above with Facebook topping the list at 2.9 billion MAU, YouTube close behind at 2.6 MAU and WhatsApp rounding off the top three at a nice round 2 billion. Twitter doesn’t even make the top 10; in fact it barely makes the top 20, coming in at 16 with a relatively paltry 436 million MAU.

While Musk may be boasting that the site has never seen more activity, when your monthly user count is being surpassed by apps that time forgot like Pinterest and Snapchat, you don’t have a lot of bargaining power. And Musk’s insistence on him wanting to wean Twitter’s earnings from ads (currently standing over 90%) is probably not helping his case.

Tanvi Bosmia, Associate Account Director, SoCheers says that while brands pausing their ad spends on Twitter is obviously hitting the company hard, there is still room to recover if the advertisers’ concerns are heard and timely addressed.

“Twitter has been a preferred platform for advertising for a lot of brands for quite some time, but if such setbacks continue, it’d make even the most loyal advertisers reconsider. Moreover, there are definitely some brands who might have lost trust in the platform, which will need to be earned back in order to mitigate any long-term negative impacts on Twitter’s standing and revenue,” she points out.

As Anand notes, “If you see the media mix of a brand, Twitter falls largely as an awareness channel and not as a critical performance channel; hence advertising on Twitter has always been a nice to have, not a must-have for advertisers, and consequently is falling short on risk and reward metrics and going out of media plans.”

Indeed, Danish Malik, Co-Founder and CEO of Boomlet Media Private Limited, believes there in fact, lies a big opportunity for all the other competitors of Twitter to fill the gap as big companies and creators are searching for an alternative and looking for a better quick-blogging platform. “It is certain that a platform that can bring all aspects together (mainly users, brands, influencers and others that are impatient for an apt alternative) is sure to win the game and replace Twitter in one of the fastest transitions ever,” he concludes.

 

 

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Aaj Tak becomes world's first news channel to cross 50 million subs on YouTube

The record-breaking milestone comes just three years after the channel crossed 10 million subscribers on the platform

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 9:50 PM   |   2 min read

aaj tak

Earlier this year, Aaj Tak became the first news channel globally to cross 50 million subscribers. Ms. Kalli Purie, Vice Chairperson, India Today Group, met Mr. Gautam Anand, Managing Director of APAC - YouTube, in Singapore to commemorate the special achievement. 
 
“Thank you so much, YouTube! This is just amazing. The team is already planning its way to 100 million so YouTube had better start designing the next button,” Ms Purie quipped to Mr Anand. “Trust has always been the foundation for audience engagement at AajTak. It’s no different with our YouTube channel, but on a much wider scale with hundreds of videos getting uploaded every day. We place equal emphasis on having new audiences discover our channel while ensuring loyal viewers revisit, and invest in figuring out what works on YouTube – whether this is a nuanced understanding of thumbnails or producing hero content frequently.” 
 
Aaj Tak started its digital journey by launching its YouTube channel in the year 2009, and started streaming news live on YouTube for the first time in 2017. The massive popularity gained by the channel subsequently led to its Diamond play button from YouTube in 2019 for crossing 10 million subscribers. Now, just three years later, Aaj Tak is the first news channel to reach 50 million subscribers on YouTube. 
 
“Constant experimentation with new formats like Shorts and investment into our Community page has really paid off, and consistently breaking stories has helped create a very loyal fanbase,” explained Ms. Purie. “Events like the Presidential Elections of 2022, Solar Eclipse and the Cricket World Cup just kept encouraging us to do better and better.”
 
YouTube has been at the forefront of India's mobile revolution, by powering the content and creator ecosystem and by propelling the massive upsurge of video streaming in the world's largest democracy. AajTak has also fast evolved its offering to meet new consumer needs, with the introduction of Shorts, and other constantly emerging insights on LIVE Streams. The channel now has a universe of committed audiences across TV, web, app and social platforms through compelling storytelling that’s tailored to individual platforms.
 

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'India will be one of the most powerful start-up ecosystems in the world'

A panel discussion at the e4m DNPA Digital Media Conference 2023 deliberated on 'Challenges before start-ups in the current digital ecosystem'

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 5:16 PM   |   4 min read

dnpa

India boasts one of the largest start-up ecosystems, enabling the dream of the country becoming a several-million-dollar economy. However, despite government measures to boost the start-ups – in terms of investments and profitability – there are challenges.

The topic of 'Challenges before Start-Ups in current digital ecosystem-Possibilities and Choices' was discussed during a session at the e4m DNPA Digital Media Conference 2023. The panel comprised Ajay Data, MD, Data Group of Industries; Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO, Bharat Matrimony; Ritesh Malik, Director, ADIF & Founder- Plaksha University; Rohan Verma, CEO and Executive Director, Map My India. The session was chaired by Ruhail Amin, Senior Editor, Businessworld & exchange4media.

Speaking about the challenges facing start-ups, Verma said, “Honestly, I think it is very clear that the entrepreneurial talent in India, especially in the digital space, is extremely high. I see no lack of capability. As we have said multiple times, the key challenge has been there because of monopolistic activities that have been suppressing the Indian digital ecosystem. That is the key challenge of our times and I'm pleased that some things are changing with regard to that. 

Malik presented his observations about the challenges that have cropped up in the last few years in the start-up ecosystem: “It took 125 years for Silicon Valley to become what it is. In India, we are leap-frogging the technology era. I think we are going to be one of the most intensely powerful start-up ecosystems and technology ecosystems.

Citing the success of the UPI system in India, he added: "Our mobile payment infrastructure is way ahead of developed nations. Just think of what we will do with the entire Ayushman Bharat digital health mission. We will be one of the most technology-savvy citizen programmes in the world. So the good part is, for the first time, the government is focussing. I think we are standing on a large opportunity. Having said that, technology regulation is important. Unfortunately, it is always falling behind the actual technological innovation. In my opinion, we need to develop a special ministry whose job would be to ensure that another East India Company does not happen again and that Indians are not to be taken for a ride and that our data remains ours; that we are not just a large digital democracy for other large monopoly companies to come, use, generate revenue but also to make sure that our MSME does not get squeezed.”

Singla noted, “Even while we are sitting here, we talk about start-up and start-up ecosystem, but Amar Ujala is a hyper-local newspaper and has a presence in Tier II and Tier III cities. There, education and awareness are still required. From a media perspective, there is a good amount of innovation that is still seen as a challenge. I would say that there is a lot of room for identifying the right business sustainability model.”

Speaking on the broader challenges that need to be addressed in the start-up ecosystem, Data said, “It is extremely important that all entities work together to ensure – whether it is mentoring or education or incubation centres or investments or subsidies or government support – that the frictions between things have to be reduced. And the knowledge about the availability of those resources has to be made very simpler and easy.”

Janakiraman, who joined virtually, spoke from a sectoral standpoint and touched upon the issues that need to be overcome to render a robust start-up ecosystem. He said, “Digital start-ups can significantly contribute to country growth. Today, Indian start-ups are not only limiting themselves to country boundaries but looking at global opportunities. The Internet, 15 years ago, was free and open. Anybody could set up an Internet business or a dotcom; Internet was not controlled by any organisation. Today, the shift has happened, we all know that. The majority of the traffic is happening through mobile apps. So, more than 90 per cent of the traffic happens through the two dominant players – Google and Apple. What are the implications? Today, they are not simply platform providers or access providers; today, they are the platforms as well as players. The challenge is that when the platform becomes a player, their interest changes. Because they are commercial entities and their primary objective is to make money. And because they are both platform and player, they start abusing dominance and that is not good for Indian start-ups nor Indian consumers.”

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Experts discuss competition laws governing digital media in India

At e4m-DNPA Future of Digital Media conference 2023, media industry leaders deliberate on topic, competition laws governing digital media- need for review

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 3:44 PM   |   4 min read

DNPA panel

At e4m-DNPA Future of Digital Media conference, industry experts came together for a panel discussion on ‘competition laws governing digital media- need for review’. The discussion was chaired by Dhanendra Kumar, former chairman of Competition Commission of India. The panelists were Karan Singh Chandhiok- Practice Head-Competition Law- Chandhiok and Mahajan; Pawan Duggal- Head- Pawan Duggal Associates; Parthasarthi Jha; Economic law practice; Avaantika Kakkar, Partner-Competition - Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas; Vaibhav Kakkar, Partner- Saraf and Partners; Abir Roy- co-founder- Sarvada legal, Anil Malhotra, Head- Public & Regulatory Affairs, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited. 

Kumar opened the discussion briefing the audience about the competition laws governing digital media in India and how they were help in accelerating the country’s economic growth.

Anil Malhotra joined the conversation, “Certain perspectives change when we move from linear to digital media, and we are governed by certain regulations in linear which are not duplicated in the digital domain. The organised media player expects a fair and transparent revenue share because the organised media invest a lot in people, infrastructure, and building networks.”

Karan Singh Chandhiok added, “We have good laws, but lack enforcement. Law creates a framework that is flexible enough to deal with eventualities. Besides looking at the competition laws, we should look at a broad picture that includes more information. From a business perspective, the three things to keep in mind while catching up and implementing laws are: predictability and certainty in enforcement, regulatory dialogue and unintended consequences of both legislations and enforcement.”

Abir Roy mentioned, “The biggest challenge is the enforcement of a particular law. Enforcement needs to be certain and the regulator needs to be more dynamic.

Joining the discussion, Avaantika Kakkar shared her views on digital media. “When the pandemic began and we did not get newspapers, we started reading content online. We evolved much during the pandemic and we witnessed the scenario of subscription-based news platforms. Digital players are creating opportunities, which result in access which was never explored before.”

On the legal system, she said, “We have a robust legal system, IP laws, and data protection laws, some laws are evolving, and amendments are being introduced. 

Kumar then asked Parthasarthi Jha to share how digital media is evolving and how the internet has obliterated geographical borders. On laws, Parthasarthi said, “the new law must be fabricated and addressed in a manner that must contain some base work.”

Pawal Duggal opined that internet has transformed human beings into data entities. “We all have become global authors, global transmitters, and global broadcasters of data, and in scenarios like such, we have to keep aside the traditional perceptions of media and should start looking at things from the digital media point of view,” he said.

Duggal said that chatgpt which has completely changed the landscape of digital media. “It is a revolutionary kind of algorithm that has shaken the entire world and which is probably going to impact the content being prepared by media organisations as it is going to be more AI-based.”

Talking about competition laws Vaibhav mentioned the mendment introduced by MIB recently on fake news
that talks about giving Press Information Bureau the responsibility to declare what is fake news. He said, “We need independent arbitrators to decide more on free speech.”

He also mentioned that India should not always copy the West while framing and implementing legislation. “India is a completely different country in terms of population count and other things. India needs evidence based laws and not perceptions-based laws,” he opined.

As concluding remarks, Dhanendra requested all the panellists to sum up pointers of the conversation. The key pointers were: sanitise publishers operating out from India to clear the ground for Indian digital players in fair revenue share; study the laws before enforcing to avoid adverse repercussions; law should be evidence-based and it should ensure fairness and reasonability among the market participants; the idea of fairness is more pervasive, it’s not limited to internet and digital media and it is important for marketers to be flexible to get the fair share in the business; the law should be fair and competition law is not the socialisation of private property; India require a dedicated law on digital media; India need to think carefully at the regulations.

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US sues Google, new lawsuit aims to break up tech giant's ad unit

Google contended that the lawsuit by the US DoJ would reverse years of innovation and harm the broader ad sector

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 25, 2023 7:57 AM   |   1 min read

google

Big Tech major Google has been sued by the United States Department of Justice for the second time over anti-competitive practices. This is the US DoJ's second antitrust lawsuit against the tech giant.

Google has been accused of dominating the digital ad market, according to people privy to the matter. The lawsuit will aim to dismantle the tech giant's ad-tech department over its monopoly in the digital ad space.

Reports say that the case will be filed in the federal court before the end of the week.

DoJ chief Jonathan Kanter reportedly said in a press conference that the lawsuit aims to hold Google to account for its "longstanding monopolies in digital advertising technologies that content creators use to sell ads and advertisers use to buy ads."

Google retorted by saying that the lawsuit by DoJ " attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector."

The tech giant doubled down by stating that the lawsuit is an attempt to "rewrite history at the expense of publishers, advertisers and internet users."

Google also highlighted the ad businesses and practices of its competitors Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, TikTok, Comcast and Disney but the government chose not to go after them.

The tech company is also accused of antitrust practices in India where the Competition Commission of India has slapped heavy penalties against it for abusing its dominance in the Android ecosystem.

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JetSynthesys acquires majority stake in Fanory

Onboards former Twitter India Head Manish Maheshwari in leadership role

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 24, 2023 6:29 PM   |   3 min read

jet

Digital entertainment and technology company, JetSynthesys, has acquired majority stake in Fanory, a start-up that helps creators monetize on social media platforms. As part of this transaction, JetSynthesys has onboarded exTwitter India Head and Fanory’s co-founder, Manish Maheshwari, as President at the Corporate level, JetSynthesys. Shareholders of JetSynthesys include the family offices of Infosys CoFounder Kris Gopalakrishnan, Serum Institute's Adar Poonawalla, and cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, amongst others.

Co-founded by Maheshwari along with two of his former colleagues, Fanory enables creators to monetize their craft on their terms through their community of fans, thereby turning them into micro-entrepreneurs. The platform connects creators with their superfans through a personalized app, a model similar to how in the eCommerce space, Shopify helps small offline businesses set up personalized digital stores. Maheshwari will now focus on the global expansion of Fanory.

Regarding the transaction and new appointment, Rajan Navani, Founder and CEO, JetSynthesys, says, "Last year has seen high growth for us at JetSynthesys, and we are happy to begin 2023 with this transaction. We are looking forward to expanding our horizons in the digital entertainment space. The social media creators market has grown exponentially, and we see this continuing for the foreseeable future. Fanory's model is beneficial for creators. It compensates them for their hard work and creativity. With Manish by our side, we look forward to exploring this new avenue and entrenching ourselves deeper into the digital entertainment realm."

Fanory as a platform will work closely with the digital entertainment pillar of JetSynthesys.

Fanory will assist creators in locating their superfans, i.e., those who are both ready and willing to pay for exclusive opportunities to interact with their favorite artists. It will then enable creators to upsell premium experiences on a personalized app through a frictionless, coin-based payment mechanism.

Manish Maheshwari, Co-founder of Fanory and now President, Corporate Level, JetSynthesys, said, "Social media platforms prioritize follower acquisition and engagement so that they can sell adverts to brands. Direct monetization for creators is an afterthought. Fanory is different because its core and only focus is creator monetization. This deal will exponentially grow the possibilities for creators and their superfans as they now have access to the broader platform and ecosystem relationships of JetSynthesys."

Before joining Twitter, Maheshwari was CEO of Network18 Digital. He has previously held leadership positions at Intuit and McKinsey in San Francisco and New York respectively.

Manish's career has seen a sharp focus on social media, digital content, and technology platforms. In his previous position at Twitter, he oversaw its business in India and subsequently in new markets worldwide based out of Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco. He advocates for greater involvement of women to make social media and digital technology platforms more diverse and inclusive. Manish has previously served on the Governing Council of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), India's leading policy body for internet companies.

Manish is an MBA from the Wharton Business School.

 

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Netcore announces partnership with Truecaller

The collaboration is expected to save valuable developer hours for the company, apart from the overall improvement in user experience

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 24, 2023 5:16 PM   |   2 min read

netcore

SaaS company Netcore Cloud has been onboarded by Caller ID and Spam blocking service, Truecaller. Netcore Cloud’s Contextual Nudges & Walkthroughs are expected to largely enhance the app experience of users.

Netcore Cloud’s Contextual Nudges & Walkthroughs are the customized navigators that ensure your user is not lost in the mobile app. It offers positive reinforcement and direct/indirect suggestions toward the next step by the user. This enables the brand to guide the user to the most suitable experience at the right time without any delay. Truecaller serves a heterogenous global market and this collaboration will help improve their app’s user experience.

Ramesh Srinivasan, CEO - India Business, Netcore Cloud, “Our Contextual Nudge & Walkthroughs have been gaining immense popularity among brands as they look to provide hassle-free experience to customers in their buying journey. We are confident that Truecaller users will witness further value in their app experience as a result. Furthermore, our No-Code Product Experience platform will help them save valuable developer hours.”

Raj Mukherjee, Head of Global CRM, Truecaller, “We are excited to partner with Netcore Cloud to strengthen our customer engagement. Communication with consumers needs to happen at the right frequency, right time, with the right message, and in the right context. We believe our collaboration with Netcore Cloud will help us achieve this by providing customers a seamless in-app experience that will be easy and context-aware; we are expecting lift in usage and retention through this.”

Netcore's Contextual Nudges & Walkthroughs have been seeing growing popularity among leading brands in the last few years. Major brands including Wakefit.co, Gradeup, redBus and Mobile Premier League have been actively using this platform and benefiting from it.

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‘Creating a bridge among digital, TV and print is the real challenge’

At e4m-DNPA Future of Digital Media Conference, experts discussed the opportunities and challenges of digital publishing in India

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 24, 2023 4:42 PM   |   4 min read

dnpa panel

At the e4m-DNPA Future of Digital Media conference, leaders from different media houses came together to participate in a panel discussion on ‘digital publishing in India: Challenges & opportunities’.

Jaideep Karnik, Head of Content and Editor, Amar Ujala Web Services Private Limited; Prasad Sanyal, Chief Content Officer, HT Digital;  Sanghamitra Majumdar, Editor, ABP Live, English (Digital); and Nandagopal Rajan, Editor, New Media, Indian  Express, were on the panel. The session was chaired by Deepak Ajwani, Editor, ET Online.

Ajwani opened the discussion asking panellists about the difficulties and opportunities in the era of integrated newsrooms.  Karnik shared, “Currently at Amar Ujala, what we are doing is creating bridges. We have a newspaper legacy which is 75 years old and then we have digital, where we were early movers and have adapted to the new-age technology very fast. But then we always have to create bridges. All the experiments that have happened across the world suggest that you cannot just collapse all the walls and create an integrated newsroom. There is no miracle that can make it happen because the output demands of newspaper, television and the digital homepage and the entire website are very different. So, you will have to train journalists to get accustomed to these needs. It is going to be very challenging where you have to take the legacy of a 75-year-old news brand which is already into print, where there is appointment reading, along with digital where there is less of appointment reading and more of discovery and accidental finding of your content. Creating a bridge between these two is the real challenge.”

Rajan too shared how at the Indian Express, they sat together, and how they owned the responsibility to build an integrated newsroom and actually broke the wall.

Majumdar shared her experience saying, “It is very difficult to have a synergy between digital and TV because storytelling format is different and the information is coming in a different way, so we all have that challenge of making text stories out of videos. But it is helpful in the case of breaking news, live vlogs, videos, and audios.” 

Sanyal feels that a level of integration is necessary in digital operations in any case. He said, “News is format agnostic, it needs to be packaged right for different platforms’’.

On asking about the challenges chatgpt can give to the newsrooms, Sanyal replied, “How do you use AI is a challenge. To my mind, you should use chatgpt as a tool, much like you use a word editor or a spell check. You do have human intervention.”

Ajwani then asked if because of using chatgpt, all newsrooms may end up having the same content.

Said Rajan, “I think chatgpt is a huge opportunity, at least for traditional media houses like us. There can be a logo saying that there is absolutely no AI involved in the creation of this content and that can be a differentiator for us because there will be a lot of people who will have to fall back on AI to create the content. At least we, who have invested in people, will have this opportunity that our content will be different as it will created by humans. The way to use AI would be, where we are really struggling, to bring in personalisation. Content delivery is a huge challenge for us. How do you show the right content to the right person at the right location at the right time? I think that is where AI should really help us.”

Talking about the transitions in news mediums, Sanyal said, “Brevity has always been a key weapon in any journalist’s arsenal.”

Jaideep said that people choose the format of the news content according to their needs and interests, be it a 40- word story or a 300-word story. Same is in the case of audio and video news consumption, he mentioned.

 

 

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