WhatsApp India's first TV campaign encourages people to 'Share Joy, Not Rumours'

WhatsApp partnered with Taproot Dentsu and filmmaker Shirsha Guha Thakurta in an effort to combat misinformation and pernicious rumours

WhatsAppCampaign

WhatsApp India has launched its first ever TV campaign called “Share Joy, Not Rumours” as the latest step in a comprehensive effort to address the challenge of misinformation and pernicious rumors.

WhatsApp worked closely with the Mumbai agency Taproot Dentsu and the filmmaker Shirsha Guha Thakurta to develop three sixty second films that each convey real scenarios about rumours that have spread on WhatsApp via spam as well as in family and school groups.

Each film's protagonist teaches someone important in their lives to not spread rumours and to use WhatsApp controls such as the ability to block senders and leave groups where rumours are spread.

Commenting on the campaign, Director Shirsha Guha Thaktura of Oink Films said, “WhatsApp has become an integral part of society in India - it's how I stay in touch with my family and run our film production house. So this project was special for us at various levels. We of course made a WhatsApp group for the project in the name of 'WhatsApp on WhatsApp'. But WhatsApp is also being misused and can be a source of rumors and it is something that affects us all the time. We created these three films to help address the challenges we face in communicating online."

Commenting on the campaign, Neeraj Kanitkar, Creative Director, Taproot Dentsu, said, “Given that WhatsApp has never done a brand campaign anywhere in the world, this was a thrilling opportunity. The overwhelming majority of users use WhatsApp in a positive manner. So it was very important for the campaign to inform, empower and enlist WhatsApp users in the fight against the spread of misinformation. Even as they continue to use WhatsApp to otherwise spread joy. The films are just one leg of many other efforts by the brand in working hard towards curbing the issue.”

WhatsApp conducted extensive research with users in India and based each film on a real user's experience. The three films will be available on TV, Facebook, and YouTube in ten languages to reach the diverse population that makes up WhatsApp users. The TV campaign is timed to start just prior to the elections in Rajasthan and Telangana, and WhatsApp will build on this effort headed into the national election next year.

“We're humbled by the impact that WhatsApp had on people's ability to freely connect with their loved ones. We recognize at the same time connecting people can also lead to the spread of misinformation, which has to be confronted. We hope this campaign will help educate people how to stay safe on WhatsApp,” added Bosco Zubiaga, who led production of these films for WhatsApp.

Over the last several months, WhatsApp has made a series of changes including placing a label on forwarded messages to inform users when they have received something not from their immediate contact and a limit on how forwarded messages can be sent. In addition, WhatsApp continues to build on anti-spam detection capabilities to ban accounts that engage in unwanted automated activity.

The three films tell the following stories:

Kavya

Kavya moved to Delhi and it's her first time living away from home, so she uses WhatsApp to stay in touch with her family. When her uncle shares fake news with her family, Kavya calls to explains he can leave the group where the rumour came from.

Rajat

Rajat is a leader in his University and runs a WhatsApp group for his class. When he receives a shocking message from a classmate, he talks it over with the sender and asks him to think twice before sharing rumors again.

Geetha

Geetha is a foodie who uses WhatsApp to stay up to date with local businesses and send recipes to her friend. One day she receives a rumour from an unknown contact so she talks it over with her mom and chooses to block the user that sent the message.

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Xaxis’ new Short Form Video brings high-impact ad opportunity to APAC brands

Xaxis in partnership with Sizmek created a new style of social advertising allowing advertisers to capitalise on evolving consumer behaviour

Xaxis

Xaxis, the Outcome Media Company and GroupM’s advanced programmatic arm, announced the launch of its new Short Form Video product in the Asia-Pacific market, allowing clients to run campaigns across a selection of premium publishers including Unruly’s premium publisher marketplace, Spotify, Rakuten Viber and Dailymotion – driving increased advertising reach and engagement.

The mobile-first, six-second Short Form Video format is the first of its kind to aggregate high-quality brand safe video ads which are 100 per cent viewable and delivers effective engagement.

Xaxis worked closely in partnership with independent advertising technology company, Sizmek, to create this new style of social advertising, giving an edge over current ad options and allowing advertisers to capitalise on evolving consumer behaviour. Sizmek added interactive elements into this Short Form Video format to drive engagement and dwell time. A new social sharing function increases advertising mileage, while custom emoticon reaction buttons unlock a new dimension in campaign measurement. 

“Long gone are the days when advertisers could simply rely on good creative and a big budget. Today, brands look to maximise reach by scaling on digital platforms, but genuine engagement remains elusive. Our new ad format has already proven incredibly effective in terms of high-impact brand recall, giving our clients a huge competitive advantage in this market. By adding social sharing and emotional engagement functions for the first time, we have pioneered a distinct way for outcome-driven brands to optimize and measure their campaign results,” said Deepika Nikhilender, SVP - APAC, Xaxis. 

Phil Townend, Chief Commercial Officer - APAC, Unruly said, “We're super excited to be part of this initiative to innovate the short-form video format. Emotionally engaged audiences drive uplifts in every key metric from completion rates through to sales and ROI. Our latest study found brand uplifts of up to 235 per cent could be driven by emotional engagement. Whilst longer storytelling absolutely has a place in building long term profitable brands, the 6" format gives advertisers the chance to engage their audiences on the move and capture their attention. We know that 6 second ads are on the rise, and the data shows they work well as drivers for reminder and response - so making this content easily shareable is a welcome innovation. With over two-thirds of the Asia-Pacific population being mobile users hungry for bite-sized content, we see Xaxis' short-form video format set to make a big impact in the region and drive tangible outcomes for brands.” 

Peter Hunter, General Manager - APAC, Sizmek said, “Our partnership with Xaxis to create this APAC-first Short-Form Video product reflects our commitment to building personalised experiences for consumers to connect with brands. This new product will enable brands to be more creative on the smaller screen. The custom emoticon reaction buttons we built into the ad format allow social media users to interact seamlessly with ad content, giving advertisers a more holistic way of measuring audience engagement.”

Key clients in the APAC region are already beginning to implement Xaxis’ Short Form Video format. A campaign for an entertainment client in the Philippines was one early example of its success: within a one-month period, Short Form Video ads achieved 68 per cent viewability, with over two-thirds of viewers watching the ad in full. By comparison, Facebook’s video ads in the Philippines typically have a 7.88 per cent viewability rate with less than one-fifth of viewers watching to the end.

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Twitter India expands transparency around political ads on its platform

Enforcement of the policy will begin on March 11, after which only certified advertisers will be allowed to run political campaigning ads on the service

Twitter

To enforce stricter policies for political advertisers and providing clear, transparent disclosure for all ads on the Twitter, the social media platform has announced the expansion of its political ads policy and transparency approach to include India, Australia and all European Union member states. This comes as a part of Twitter’s overall commitment to protect the health of the public conversation on its service and to provide meaningful context around all political entities who use its advertising products.


In May 2018, Twitter had launched its Political Campaigning Policy in the United States to provide clear insight into how the platform defines political content and who is advertising political content on Twitter. In conjunction, the platform launched the Ads Transparency Center (ATC).  The ATC allows anyone across the globe to view ads that have been served on Twitter, with even more details on political campaigning ads, including ad spend and targeting demographics.

What does it look like?

In the Ads Transparency Center, anyone can view ads that have run on Twitter within the last 7 days from any Twitter handle. If an ad is reported and taken down from Twitter, it will be archived in the Ads Transparency Center within approximately 24 hours. If the account was suspended, Tweets will not be shown in the Ads Transparency Center. The same applies to deleted Twitter accounts and Tweets.

For India political advertisers that fall under the Political Campaigning Policy, people will be able to see further details, including billing information, ad spend, and impressions data per Tweet. Additionally, Twitter will be showing demographic targeting data for the ads being served, both intended by the advertiser and actually delivered by Twitter.

In addition to the information being shared within the Ads Transparency Center itself, Twitter is making it clearer who is advertising Indian political campaign content on the platform by including a visual label and disclaimer information on promoted content from certified accounts. This will allow people to easily identify political campaign ads and to know who paid for them.

Who has access to the Ads Transparency Center?

Everyone around the world will have access to the Ads Transparency Center. No login or Twitter account will be required, making it very simple for people to have clear insight and details on who is advertising on Twitter.

When will enforcement begin?

Enforcement of this policy will begin on 11 March, after which only certified advertisers will be allowed to run political campaigning ads on the service. Political advertisers must apply now for certification and go through every step of the process. Guidelines for India political advertisers can be found here.

Twitter deeply respects the integrity of the election process and are committed to providing a service that fosters and facilitates free and open democratic debate. The Indian election is a priority for the company, and Twitter will continue to share openly and transparently about its work to protect and enhance the public conversation.

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We have 70mn daily active users in India: Karan Bedi, MX Player

The AVOD model of revenue generation suits MX Player reveals Bedi, CEO of MX Player at the launch of its OTT avatar and announcement of its original shows

Karan Bedi

‘Jaisa Man Waisa Manoranjan’ is what MX Player is banking on as they launched five original shows yesterday. The world’s largest local video player boasts 70 million daily active users on its platform. 

The South Korea headquartered MX Player, which was recently acquired by Times Internet, has been a popular video-playing app for android devices since it is capable of playing all possible video formats. After being the host for an array of content from Arré, Balaji among others, MX Player jumps into the originals bandwagon in the OTT space. The shows are ‘AAFAT’, which is about five women breaking stereotypes, ‘Hey Prabhu’ that talks about a man who is a hero on Twitter and zero in real life; ‘ImMature’ (A TVF story) is about the many firsts in life that three teenage boys deal with, ‘Lots of Love’ (Tamil and Telugu) charts the journey of four friends and a trip that changes everything and lastly, ‘Famously Filmfare’ which goes regional this time.

And that’s not all that MX Player is aiming for, there is a historical fiction drama titled ‘Ponniyan Selvan’ directed by Soundarya Rajinikanth. A brief glimpse of the same was shown at the event which promises to be extravagant in terms of VFX. Then there’s also a political thriller called ‘Queen’, a sketchy promo of which was also unveiled. But it’s the Gaana integration in the app which seems like a fresh idea. Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player seemed quite upbeat about the same saying that users won’t need any other music app to listen to songs now. 

In our interview with Bedi, he revealed why an AVOD format works perfectly for them. There were reports that MX Player has been looking to get Pakistani content from Hum and ARY on their platform but given the present scenario in the country post the Pulwama attack, we asked Bedi if there will be a change in strategy. He replied, “We are always talking to people and if we feel it is appropriate we will decide what to do. We have Turkish content on the platform right now.”  

Below are the edited excerpts of the interview:

The number of users consuming content on MX Player is staggering. Can you take us through what the database the originals will be catering to?

Just to reiterate some of the big ones; 275 million monthly active users, 175 million monthly active users in India, 100 million daily active users globally and 70 million daily active users in India. To put that in context, 70 million daily active users in India is literally the population of many European countries. Overall 650 million users is twice the population of United States. So that’s a very large number. We are privileged to be working at that scale. So I think it’s a very important part of our promise to our customers that look we have this massive scale and we are here to truly and deeply believe in our brand philosophy of Everytainment. Jaisa man waisa manorajan, you know. We showed you today a millennial story, urban story, nostalgia, politics, historical fiction, Bollywood’s first game show – ‘Bollywood Bazingaa’. It will go live in a few weeks, actually the show is on and we have a live component of it as well and people can participate so they can win. We also have an interesting show call ‘Love Okay Please’. It’s a combination of a travel and dating show. We form couples during travel. We have potential people meet together and see if they click.

What is the most consumed content on MX Player?

With 1 lakh hours already on the platform today our biggest consumption comes from web-series. Then you have TV, music, movies, all get consumed quite a bit. The biggest is the web series and we think there is a big reason for that. There is a large segment of the population that actually doesn’t have enough to watch on TV. They come to watch over here. We have got the entire Balaji catalogue available, the Arré catalogue, the TVF catalogue. In fact, the TVF catalogue is exclusive to us.

Did that prompt you to try your hand at original content for MX Player?

We felt that there is a big need for stories that were differentiated. We have a range of stories catering to different audiences. Romance, drama, comedy satire, biopics, action, you name it. We feel there is a big market and need for such content.

What kind of revenue target do you have in mind in the coming years?

The interesting thing about being at this scale is AVOD makes sense. In lot of other platforms what is happening is that the scale is not there so you have to find other ways for revenue. Advertising makes sense, although I am not sharing the specific revenue numbers, we have the advertising revenue already and we hope it will continue to grow. We have already got over 30 advertisers advertising on our platform; big names like Google, Godrej, Nerolac and lots more to come.

Bedi also promises that MX Player will go from five original shows to maybe 12 in the next couple of months.

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CNN to mark #MyFreedomDay to create awareness about modern-day slavery

The student-driven social media event will be held on March 14

freedom day

CNN’s #MyFreedomDay, a student-driven social media event, aimed at raising awareness of modern-day slavery will be marked on March 14. 

Driving this year’s #MyFreedomDay is: ‘What makes you feel free?’ CNN has asked youngsters to share their responses via text, photo or video across social media using #MyFreedomDay hashtag.

Last year, students from more than 100 countries had taken part in the event. The #MyFreedomDay hashtag had got 1.4 billion global Twitter impressions and 20 million Instagram timelines. 

This year, the event looks to be even bigger with CNN correspondents reporting from schools all over the world, including Poland, Hong Kong, Kenya, South Korea, Lebanon, the UK and the US. The special coverage will kick off at 11pm IST on March 13 with an half-hour special hosted by Zain Asher continuing through March 14 with a special #MyFreedomDay edition of CNN Talk at 5.30pm IST and live reports from participating schools throughout the day. 

CNN will also showcase what these students, schools and communities are doing to fight slavery on Facebook, @CNNFreedom on Twitter and Instagram and at CNN.com/myfreedom. 
 

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FreakOut and Mobile Action announce strategic alliance

Through this tactical partnership, FreakOut will deliver app marketing optimisation to agencies and developers worldwide

FreakOut MobileAction

FreakOut, the global marketing technology company, part of FreakOut Holdings, has announced a strategic alliance with Mobile Action, a San Francisco-based App Store Optimisation (ASO) and Mobile App Intelligence platform that specialises in app marketing for brand marketers.

Through this tactical partnership, FreakOut is set to deliver an advanced search optimisation solution powered by ‘SearchAds.com’, an Apple Search Ads dashboard, as well as comprehensive market intelligence to app marketers, developers and agencies around the globe. To underpin its ASO capability, Mobile Action possesses application market data of 65 countries worldwide, and is used in more than 160,000 applications including world-leading enterprises such as adidas, eBay, Groupon, Hilton, Macy's, Playtika, Reuters, Yahoo!, Zynga, etc. 

According to Apple, 70 per cent of app discovery comes from searches and therefore premium positioning in search results can greatly improve an app’s ‘discoverability’ which is the #1 download generating factor. ASO helps to bring in organic traffic of users who display a higher retention rate. ASO also provides the most long lasting and steady growth trajectory for an app’s business by increasing rankings gradually. 

As a result of this alliance, FreakOut makes its foray into the field of app search advertising and gets exclusive rights to deliver ‘SearchAds.com’ to its clients. Both companies have a shared vision to empower app marketers and agencies with optimal ways to improve their ASO strategies, by offering AI-based real-time bid optimisation technology and mobile app analytics intelligence which allows clients to quickly analyse their competitor’s paid ad campaigns on different ad networks. 

Yuzuru Honda, Founder & Global CEO, FreakOut Holdings Inc. said, “We are excited to be partnering with Mobile Action to make their platform available to our clients in Asia. With the full resources of both FreakOut and Mobile Action, we enhance each other's business and continue adding value to our clients.”

Both players have strengthened their respective platforms by aligning complementary technology and are now able to provide comprehensive support to application companies targeting global expansion. As a result of this partnership, FreakOut gains access to UK, US and Canada markets, while Mobile Action can leverage FreakOut’s APAC network. Furthermore, FreakOut’s established inbound and outbound cross border business that are specifically focused on app and gaming markets like Japan, South Korea, Russia and China will be further strengthened by the capabilities that SearchAds.com brings onboard.

Narayan Murthy Ivaturi, Chief Operating Officer, FreakOut Adtech Business, said, “There are a suite of strengths including people, products, capabilities, etc. that both Mobile Action and FreakOut bring to the table in this mutually beneficial alliance. There are also a host of business areas where we can tactically synergize. This is a very exciting time for both our companies. Together we aim to take things to the next level in this fast moving digital advertising industry, and support the rapid globalization of application companies.”

Aykut Karaalioglu, Founder and CEO, Mobile Action,“APAC region is of a great importance to us. We have been analysing what’s the best strategy to execute and during that time we came across FreakOut. That’s the best company in the region to partner with. We are already helping SMB to Enterprise all over North America and Europe. Now, with new offering such as SearchAds.com |Apple Search Ads automation and management platform, it will be key solution for acquiring new users. My team and I are super excited to work with FreakOut’s talented team members.” 

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The Viral Fever launches An MX Original Series - ImMature

ImMature earned critical acclaim when it became India’s first-ever and only series to be nominated for CanneSeries at the Cannes International Series Festival 2018

ImMature

The Viral Fever (TVF) will now extend its footprint to provide content across different platforms, kick-starting with An MX Original Series - ImMature. This endearing series will stream for free, starting 20th February on MX Player, the world’s largest local video player and a leading streaming platform. With a thriving community of fans across India, TVF has built a repute for having a finger on the pulse of what moves the Indian audience. After gaining critical acclaim and audience appreciation for unique and viral content across key channels, Girliyapa, The Timeliners, The Screen Patti and TVF Qtiyapa, TVF will now not only create content for its own service TVFPlay, but will also partner with independent VoD Services to grow the ecosystem.

ImMature, a 5-episode coming-of-age series, has been created by TVF’s Chief Content Officer Sameer Saxena, directed by Prem Mistry and written by Abhishek Yadav, Suprith Kundar and Nishaad Javeri. ImMature earned critical acclaim when it became India’s first-ever and only series to be nominated for CanneSeries (Top 10 Web-Series) at the prestigious Cannes International Series Festival 2018. The series revolves around the life of a 16-year old Dhruv, who is eagerly waiting to experience everything that adulthood has to offer. The show tackles poignant moments of growing up with sensitivity while adding a touch of humour to the typical dilemmas of a teenage boy.

Karan Chaudhry, President & COO – The Viral Fever, “At TVF, our focus is to create innovative and memorable content that resonates with our audiences. ImMature already created ripples last year by being the first Indian show to be nominated at the CanneSeries and I’m certain that once launched on MX Player, people will enjoy the show as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Speaking about the association, Karan Bedi – CEO, MX Player said, “Catering to a wide base of over 75 million daily active users, our aim is to offer viewers engaging content that cuts through the noise. Our association with TVF adds a different flavor to our existing slate of original programming, thereby creating entertainment choices for every palette on our platform.”

ImMature also marks the best of what TVF has to offer, both, in terms of cast and creators. The series stars Omkar Kulkarni, Rashmi Agdekar, Chinmay Chandraunshuh, Vissesh Tiwari along with popular personalities, Jitendra Kumar, Nidhi Bisht, Sameer Saxena, Nidhi Singh, Badri Chavan and Anandeshwar Dwivedi. The original series will also have 8 soundtracks created keeping the premise and emotions of the show, composed by TVF’s Vaibhav Bundhoo.

Experience the many firsts in Dhruv’s life with An MX Player Original ImMature, a TVF Creation.

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ShemarooMe is for fans who are unabashedly Indian: Hiren Gada, Shemaroo Entertainment

Gada, CEO of Shemaroo Entertainment talks about how ShemarooMe will set itself apart from the rest of the OTT content & his plans to pool in brands 

hiren gada

The launch of the new OTT platform ‘ShemarooMe’ is a salute to the spirit of the ‘Asli Bollywood Fan’, as the content powerhouse would like to call it. 

In a chat with exchange4media, Shemaroo CEO Hiren Gada will cater to the audience who don’t find the kind of content they want to view on OTT platforms. He also shared his big plans for Shemaroo’s new baby ShemarooMe.

Excerpts:

What is the objective behind starting ShemarooMe?

According to a Google-KPMG 2017 report, 75 per cent of India’s internet user base will consist of internet users from Indian regional languages by 2021. The number of smartphone users in the country is also expected to cross 440 million by 2022. And India is a heterogeneous market, so it is unlikely that everyone will have similar taste. The OTT market is still new and it has scope for multiple service providers. With ShemarooMe we will cater to the crowd that is already on OTT but still on the lookout for something. There are larger players in the OTT market but then there is the scope to bring in a lot of new content segment and that is exactly what we want to do.

While we understand that OTT is only a new proposition in the Indian content market, we already have a lot of options on the table. How is ShemarooMe planning to set itself apart from the rest?

No matter how much we love Pizza and Pasta we love to come back to our staple daal roti at the end of the day. ShemarooMe is for all those fans who are unabashedly Indian. We are doing everything we can for the real fan of masala Indian entertainment and that is our unique selling proposition. At the end of the day, the viewers are our patrons and we want to keep them in the centre for everything. ShemarooMe aims to put the viewer in a familiar territory and serve them what they want. This touch of personalisation is what we are hoping will set us apart.

Tell us a little about the content line-up.

We have six broad categories: Bollywood classics and contemporary Bollywood, and the Gujarati segment that include telefilms and theatre. We also have other categories for Punjabi, Devotional and Kids content.

We have a library of 2,000 feature films half of which is already up and the rest will be up soon.

At a time when OTT platforms are boasting about the kind of original content they are producing, you are keeping your hands of it. Why is that?

We have not ruled that out totally. We might come up with it in our second phase. We are open to feedback from consumers. Whatever they ask for will be incorporated as and when we get older and have a better hang of our audience.

But we do have our version of created content. We created two shows called ‘Cinema ka Safar’ and ‘Pehli Baar’. ‘Cinema ka Safar’, anchored by Renuka Shahane, is a 22-episode ensemble of the history of Bollywood. ‘Pehli Baar’, on the other hand, is a 100-episode format that will put together all the firsts in the industry. Such unique content point is also one of our USPs.

Are you looking at any brand partnerships?

We are just starting out, but going forward the plan is to launch ShemarooMe in the US market in the first quarter of FY20. We will be expanding our OTT distribution through strategic partnerships, to offer exciting content across multiple platforms catering to the target audience. So we definitely plan to pool in brands for partnerships and associations.

You have a subscription-based model. Do you plan to get into the ad-based model too?

Consumers have the option to buy individual packs or the all-access pack of ShemarooMe. The introductory pricing for individual category plans is Rs 49 per month or Rs 499 annually. The all-access plan costs Rs 99 a month or Rs 999 for a year.

In our second phase we do plan to introduce an ad-driven category. But as of now we are primarily a subscription based model platform. 
 

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T-Series ventures into digital space; to produce web-series & web-films

The new venture will be headed by Vinod Bhanushali, who is currently the President- Media, Marketing, Publishing (TV) and Music Acquisitions at T-Series

TSeries

After proving to be the leader of the music industry and establishing themselves a successful film studio, T-Series is all set to enter the digital space with web series and web films. Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series along with producing films and music videos have ventured out into locking scripts for web-shows and web-films. With the growing demand for digital content, the production house has decided to expand their avenues and explore a new, yet familiar territory of digital space. The new venture will be headed by, Vinod Bhanushali, who is currently the President- Media, Marketing, Publishing (TV) and Music Acquisitions at T-Series.

Speaking on the expansion, T-Series head, Bhushan Kumar says, “This is the time to expand into digital space with shows and films. There exists a huge audience across the globe that you reach out to with this medium. Web-shows and web-films have an audience for all kinds of genres of storytelling and different languages as well. Along with producing films, we want to create content for digital space and give a platform for new directors and storytellers.”

Bhanushali, who has worked with T-Series for around two decades, along with his team has already started working on scripts and pre-production of a few series and films. T-Series is already working with digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Zee5 and other such platforms for digital distribution of their home productions.

Speaking on his new role, Vinod Bhanushali, says, “Digital viewership is growing at a rapid speed and is a huge platform that needed to be tapped by us. Web shows and films have their own set of audience and are a huge market as everyone – all ages, races, languages, communities across the world are hooked on to it. There are some stories that are not meant for the 70mm screen yet they are needed to be told. They are commercial yet strong content films. With a new space that has evolved, web-shows and web-films have become a huge demand which is tested and proven to be successful. We have a lot of scripts coming to us every day and many of them are a perfect fit for this medium. We want to give a chance to these storytellers to bring forth their stories. T-Series will now become a platform to produce these stories and associate with our existing digital platforms to release our content.”

Music has always been an important aspect of all T-Series films. Even with the new space which will explore fiction, non-fiction stories on a digital platform, music will still be a very integral part.

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ZEE5 turns one with 56.3mn users, announces 72 originals across 6 languages by March 2020

The regional market is where the future of entertainment lies, says Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5

ZEE5

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited’s OTT platform ZEE5 completed one year on Thursday. According to Tarun Katial, CEO at ZEE5, it has the right mix of content, technology and brand associations that has kept the digital entertainment platform stay ahead of competition.

 

With a 56.3 million user base at the moment, Zee5 is targeting to touch 100 million in the new fiscal. Focus on the right kind of the content is the top priority for ZEE5 at the moment, Katial said.

 

“We have got everyone from Sunny Leone, to Emraan Hashmi, Kunal Kemmu to now Arjun Rampal and many more debuts on digital with us. Since it is our first year, the star cast has helped us to draw attention. We plan to continue with the trend but build our base strong enough in terms of original content so that star cast is not the only attraction of these productions,” Katial said.

 

On their first anniversary which was also Valentine’s Day, ZEE5 announced the world digital premiere of ‘Kedarnath’. Not just films, there are plans for a host of original content too. To start with, 72 new originals have been planned across six languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam and all before March 2020.

 

In its anniversary month, ZEE5 has also announced ‘The Final Call’ that premiers on February 22 and stars Arjun Rampal, in his digital debut. Based on Priya Kumar’s book, ‘I will go with you’, the thriller also stars Sakshi Tanwar and Jaaved Jaaferi.

 

However, it is not just Hindi that ZEE is concentrating on. Katial said, “The regional market is where the future of entertainment lies – our next viewers will come from there. We are cognizant of this and are building an ecosystem to add more value to our stakeholders in these markets.”

 

“We are taking the originals beyond Hindi and this is what sets us apart from others on the segment. We will be launching ‘Sharate Aaj’, a Bengali original that is shot completely in London. Also lined up for February are Tamil originals like ‘D7’ and ‘Kalavu’, Malayalam originals like ‘Mirror' and ‘Aarpoo’ as well as Marathi original ‘Sex, Drugs and Theatre’. ZEE5 Originals, ‘Rangbaaz’ and the Marathi show ‘Date with Saie’ are now also available in Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Marathi and Malayalam,’ he added.

 

Kunal Kemmu has also made his digital debut with crime thriller ‘Abhay’ that took off on ZEE5 on February 7.

The platform also has Pakistani, Turkish and Korean content lined up as acquired content. New genres of content are also on the cards for ZEE5. Video news section is one new genre that the platform is already working on. A music video section is also on the cards for the new fiscal.

 

Alongside the content line-up, ZEE5 is also looking at maximum technology integration. While 11 navigational languages, content download option and voice search are some of the technology already implemented on the platform, there is more in store for the new fiscal.

 

“We plan to use more of Artificial Intelligence. We have already started AI led auto preview of content on our web platform and soon we’d do that for our app too,” added Katial.

 

To celebrate the anniversary, ZEE5 has also launched a special 30 per cent discount on both annual packs – all access pack would be available at Rs 999 and regional pack at Rs 499. The discounted rates are available between February 14 and March 31.

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Shemaroo launches OTT platform, ShemarooMe

The platform will offer Indian video content across Bollywood, Gujarati, Devotion, Punjabi and Kids genre

SheamrooMe

Shemaroo Entertainment Limited has launched its Over the Top platform ShemarooMe. The platform was launched in Mumbai in the presence of actor Tiger Shroff.

The company in a statement said, “ShemarooMe is a comprehensive app for the Indian market with a diverse and exclusive content offering for an audience looking for Indian video content across Bollywood, Gujarati, Devotion, Punjabi, and Kids genre to cater to the needs of all age groups.”

“ShemarooMe aims to celebrate the fans who cherish the opportunity to watch their favourite content over and over again, relishing every dialogue and memorising every scene till it's etched in their hearts. It aims to address the needs of the everyday Indian from across the country who are comfortable in their native language and connect with their intrinsic taste of masala content that they have built over years,” the statement mentioned.

According to a Google-KPMG 2017 report, 75% of India’s internet user base will consist of Indian language internet users by 2021. It goes on to mention that India which had nearly 300 million smartphone users in 2017 is only going to have larger growth prospect with the number expected to cross 440 million by 2022.

ShemarooMe aims to reach out to these masses even beyond metros whose content preferences are not limited to the niche English speaking consumer. With customised offerings on the slate, ShemarooMe will suit the different content preferences of every Indian. It will have seven distinct categories on offer - Bollywood Classic, Bollywood Plus, Gujarati, Kids, Bhakti, Ibaadat and Punjabi and will give consumers the freedom to pick and choose the categories of content and pay for them separately.

Speaking on the occasion, Hiren Gada, CEO, Shemaroo Entertainment, said, “This is a big leap for Shemaroo. As a company, we have always understood the real pulse of the Indian audience and our history is a testimony to that. While Bollywood - both classic and contemporary - is our core strength, we aim to bring a rich and diverse offering far beyond that for the underserved consumers and definitely do more to sustain the nostalgia economy.”

Tiger Shroff added, “Shemaroo has been an indispensable part of my childhood and growing years. As a child, I remember watching the movies I’ve loved watching over and over again. Today, I am happy that Shemaroo now gives me the opportunity to watch my all-time favourite Bollywood movies. I am a true-blue Bollywood fan and ShemarooMe is a tribute to the asli fan across India. Shemaroo has a grip on the pulse of the Indian consumers and can cater to the demands of every generation with its never-ending list of rich content and I am super excited to be present here.”

Zubin Dubash, COO, Digital, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited, said, “Through ShemarooMe, we wish to pamper Indians with great content that can be watched over and over again. Great content needs greater technology. Our content is offered on a state-of-art, robust platform, with a road map of features to woo our audiences. From live to linear to VOD content, we have all forms of consumption options available for our customers. We will be expanding our OTT distribution through strategic partnerships, to offer exciting content across multiple platforms catering to the target audience and we do hope this is cherished by our audiences who have supported us for over 55 years!”

Consumers have the option to buy individual packs piece meal or the all access pack of ShemarooMe. Introductory pricing Individual category plans cost - Rs. 49/ month or Rs. 499/ year. The All access plans cost Rs. 99/ month or Rs. 999/ year.

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