Budget'11: Proposals impacting M&E industry

The Union Budget 2011 doesn’t have too many sops for the media and entertainment (M&E) industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has presented a snapshot of the Budget proposals that impact the M&E industry.

exchange4media Staff 02-March-2011

Budget'11: Proposals impacting M&E industry

The Union Budget 2011 doesn’t have too many sops for the media and entertainment (M&E) industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has presented a snapshot of the Budget proposals that impact the M&E industry.

Industry Overview:
The Indian entertainment and media industry stood at Rs 580.8 billion in 2009. The industry is expected to grow cumulatively at a CAGR of 12.4 per cent for the next five years to reach Rs 1,040 billion in 2014.

The industry continues to be dominated by TV, print and filmed entertainment.

Emerging segments – Internet advertising, animation and gaming and VFX, OOH and radio – are expected to grow at a faster pace.

The two primary driving factors for the industry include – industry initiatives such as digitalisation and regionalisation, and consumer behaviour and mobility.

Key developments:
• Rebound in advertising spend
• Music royalty dispute between FM broadcasters and music companies settled
• Digitalisation catching speed
• Uplinking and downlinking policy issues under review by TRAI and MIB

Budget Wishlist
The M&E industry had a long Budget wishlist, broadly divided into Direct Tax and Indirect Tax.

Direct Tax:
• The criteria of 90 days under Rule 9A and 9B should be either reduced or removed, as most of the films have a shelf life of less than 2-3 weeks

• Clarification allowing inclusions of all direct revenue streams (like music/ satellite/ home video rights) along with theatrical distribution/ exhibition rights should be introduced under Rule 9A and 9B

• To provide a 10-year tax holiday on gaming, animation and the VFX (visual effects) industry for Indian content (IP) as they are emerging sectors

• Service sector companies should also be allowed to claim benefits of the provisions of section 72A

• Signing of more co-production treaties to get tax credits and subsidy benefits. Proposal to Government should be made for support on international co-productions

Indirect Tax:
• Exemption from customs duty on import of equipment and hardware for film production

• Exemption from Service Tax to studios developing original content

• Dual levy of VAT and Service Tax on copyrights to be resolved

• Removal of Customs and Excise duty on imported equipment, set-top boxes and hardware for the DTH sector

• Streamlining FDI caps in carriage services such as DTH, cable operators, MSOs, etc.

Budget - Proposed Amendments
Following are the Finance Minister’s Budget proposals for this industry:

Direct Tax:
• Assurance to implement DTC by 1 April, 2012

• Profits and gains from existing hotels (2-star category and above) would be entitled to offset losses from new hotels with retrospective effect from 1 April, 2010

• Surcharge reduced to 5 per cent for domestic companies and 2 per cent for foreign companies

• Concessional rate of tax of 15 per cent on dividends received from foreign subsidiary companies; no deduction for expenses

• Base rate of MAT raised from 18 per cent to 18.50 per cent

• MAT of 18.5 per cent introduced for LLP, SEZ Units and SEZ Developers

Indirect Tax:
• Customs duty and service tax remains unchanged

• Concessional Basic Customs Duty and CVD of 5 per cent extended to mailroom equipment

• Colour, unexposed cinematographic films in jumbo rolls of 400 ft and 1000 ft exempted from Central Excise duty and CVD

• Excise duty levied on recorded Audio Cassette/ CD/ DVD at the rate of 1 per cent (without CENVAT credit)/ 5 per cent (with CENVAT credit)

• Services by air-conditioned restaurants having license to serve liquor liable to service tax

• Short term stay in hotels/ inns/ clubs / guest houses, etc., liable to service tax

Also read:
Budget'11: Largely neutral for telecom and IT

Budget'11: No respite for DTH industry



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Terrible tunes and lazy lyrics

Rohit Bhattacharya, Associate Editor, Scoopwhoop Media, talks about what makes cringe pop so popular on the internet

Rohit Bhattacharya 1 day ago


By Rohit Bhattacharya

According to Wikipedia, cringe pop is a genre whose music and accompanying videos are “so bad that you can’t stop watching them.” Basically, it’s what happens when you take a song and remove all semblance of melody, harmony and musicality. It’s a form of music personified by off-tune singing, cheap videos, and millions of views on YouTube. In other words, it’s the musical apocalypse.

Let’s go back to the beginning. It all started with the torchbearer - Rebecca Black. She opened the floodgates with a track called ‘Friday’ and the genre was set in motion. Here’s a taster of her revolutionary track.

Kickin’ in the front seat
Sittin’ in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which seat can I take?

Despite the vapid lyrics and displeasing overall musicality, Black’s ‘Friday’ (no pun intended) has racked up 127 million views on YouTube.

Suddenly, the pressure was on - to be so bad that you were good. To make a name for yourself as the best worst thing in the room.

According to clinical psychologist Prerna Kohli, “A cringe video is one involving an awkward or embarrassing situation for one person or more. And the reason for its popularity is people deriving a sadistic pleasure from seeing the humiliation of others.”

Musically gave the movement an extra nudge, and out of the woodworks came Taher Shah. There’s always that one fool at every party who’ll start blasting T-Shah at the strike of 2 am. Depending on your level of intoxication, you’ll either sing this or you’ll leave –

I am like an angel
Mankind’s angel
My heart is like a rose

That’s from Taher’s hit song ‘Angel’, currently at 2 million plus views on YouTube. Mind you, apart from the lyrics, this guy’s also wearing a bright robe, angel wings, and a halo over his head.

Then there’s Dhinchak Pooja. With her signature red scooter and emphasis on autotune, she’s hard to miss. Lyrics like, “Daaru daaru daaru, jo na naache usko maarun cement her place in the annals of cringe. 

There’s audio perfectionists who leave no room for error. Cringe pop, however, seems to be the stark opposite of that, revelling in a state of substandard production. It’s like they made an entire genre out of Saif Ali Khan playing the guitar (remember that?).

Tracks like ‘Sunday Morning Love You’ by Bhim Niroula actually exemplify the catchiness of cringe music. It’s basically an uncle in front of a green screen singing the days of the week. You want to get it out of your head, but it just won’t leave. You’ll be succumbing to the sweet embrace of slumber, and the chorus will jolt you awake like an annoying cousin.

Strangely enough though, while we’re all united in agreeing that the music isn’t good, cringe artists also have a die-hard fan following. People find them entertaining and defend their music as something to enjoy over a laugh.

YouTube and other social media have been the main promoters of these artists. In fact, they clock up so many millions of views that Pooja actually appeared on Bigg Boss! 

We’re in the throes of a cringe-pop zeitgeist - a cultural revolution built on a foundation of awkwardness and cheap production. The most important question of the last eight years has to be - Why do we tolerate cringe pop? Why do we encourage something that causes grief? Psychologist Prerna Kohli claims the popularity of these people stems from a feeling of schadenfreude, which is enjoyment in someone else’s embarrassment.

According to a study by Prof Shifman from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the most successful video memes have six common features: a focus on ordinary people, flawed masculinity, humour, simplicity, repetitiveness and whimsical content.
Another theory however, is that people like Pooja and Taher have capitalised on a market, and they’re just sticking to their formula - a really successful formula.

All we do know at the moment is that ‘Selfie Maine Leli Aaj’ currently has 36 million views on the Tube. Now that might be indicative of a much larger issue, perhaps some kind of mass hysteria. Or it might just have no meaning at all, like life itself.


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TRAI releases consultation paper on OTT sector, expanding its definition

TRAI had earlier issued a consultation paper on Regulatory Framework for OTT services in March 2015, which also highlighted the issue of net neutrality, among other issues

exchange4media Staff 1 week ago


The Telecom and Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on Over-the-top (OTT) services seeking to expand the definition of the sector and also the regulator’s jurisdiction over a sector which has been so far “unregulated”, according to news reports.

Some of the questions covered in the paper included if inter-operability among OTT services and also inter-operability of their services with TSPs services would promote competition and benefit users? And, what measures, if any, should be taken to promote such competition?

TRAI had earlier issued a consultation paper on Regulatory Framework for OTT services in March 2015, which also highlighted the issue of net neutrality, the reasonableness of traffic management practices, non-price based discrimination of services and transparency requirements.

However, due to the volume of issues and their complexity, TRAI has decided to address them separately and focus on the important issues.

The following actions have been taken accordingly:

  • TRAI issued regulations on the Prohibition of Discriminatory Tariffs for Data Services Regulations, 2016.
  • Recommendations on provisioning free data given to the Government on the 19th December 2016
  • Recommendations on Net Neutrality to the Government on 28th November 2018
  • Recommendations on privacy, security, and data ownership issues in the telecom sector submitted to the Government on 16th July 2018
  • Questions relating to the potential market failures in each segment, the relevant tools to address those failures and the costs and benefits of any possible regulatory interventions have also been investigated

Keeping in mind the rapidly evolving sector, the authority will also examine OTI related aspects, after taking into consideration the changes that have taken place since March 2015.

This consultation paper aims to analyse and discuss the implications of the growth of OTIs, the relationship between OTI players and TSPs, the similarities, if any, between services provided by the TSPs and OTIs, necessary changes to the existing regulatory framework to govern these entities, and the manner in which these changes should be implemented. Information collected byTRAI in response to previous consultations has been used in preparation of this consultation paper.

However, it should be noted that the present consultation is not intended to revisit regulations or recommendations given by the Authority earlier on OTI, which had broader implications and were therefore concluded first following due consultation and diligence.

Comment on the issues raised in the consultation paper are invited from stakeholders by 10th December 2018 and counter comments, if, any by 24th December 2018


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Sonam Kapoor Ahuja is Thrive Global India’s Guest Editor for November

Sonam will share her personal experiences on how she abates stress, prioritizes her mental well-being and recalibrates her relationship with technology

exchange4media Staff 31-October-2018


Thrive Global India has announced that Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor Ahuja will be its guest editor for the entire month of November. Thrive Global India’s website and its social media channels are leading the well-being conversation in India and presenting real-life stories and evidence that lack of sleep, stress and burnout is not the price to pay for success.

The media company believes that influencers from the world of sports, business, films, spirituality, academia and politics play an important role in modelling positive behaviour in society and help escalate the narrative around well-being and productivity. Their voice is crucial for the change Thrive is advocating.

As the guest editor for the month of November, Sonam will share her personal experiences on how she abates stress, prioritizes her mental well-being and recalibrates her relationship with technology.

In her social media announcement on this guest editorship, Sonam K Ahuja wrote, “I am super excited to be the first guest editor for Thrive Global India. Absolutely love what they stand for and I’m excited to be able to play a part in their endeavour to inspire those around us.”

Speaking on the association, a Thrive Global India spokesperson, said, "We are thrilled to welcome Sonam as the first guest editor for Thrive Global India. Her authentic and positive attitude makes her a wonderful role model for the younger generation, and we are excited to collaborate with her on our Indian platform.”


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People are underestimating the complexity of programmatic: Oscar Garza, Essence

Oscar Garza, Global Head of Media Activation, Essence, says one of the key misconceptions people have about programmatic is that it makes things simpler

Ruhail Amin 29-October-2018


The use of artificial intelligence, big data and programmatic might be common terms in today’s super targeted media buying space, but there are nuances within these terms that have largely been overlooked. Oscar Garza, Global Head of Media Activation, Essence, unravels the complex side of these terms and explains why programmatic has become a widely used misunderstood term.


How would you sum up Essence’s approach to media activation?

At Essence, activations involve a broad spectrum of consumer interactions. Our approach is to first understand the consumer through research and data, and see how they are responding to media interactions. All this helps to bring alive the brand experience and connect with consumers and also gives consumers deeper insights into the product.

Talking about media activation, how do you effectively target consumers in a culturally and linguistically diverse market like India?

The Indian market is a microcosm of what we see globally. India is actually many smaller nation states put together. So when you have a number of different cultures, histories and languages, it is going to be difficult to provide the right experience to consumers unless you know who that consumer is. In such a diverse market like India, we are using research techniques and machine learning to know the effectiveness of messages and ensure that for a given combination of language and culture, we are providing correct messaging.

How is Essence leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence?

When you have a treasure trove of data, you can use machine learning to derive insights from data.  We do it for customer understanding and predictive assessments of how media plans work and what kind of goals should we have for a given set of consumers. We use artificial intelligence to pre-populate campaigns.  So we are spending less time pushing the same buttons while running campaigns day to day with the help of AI.

Do you think programmatic has become one of the most misunderstood terms in the market today?

Programmatic is a term which almost fails itself. It is quite broad and encompasses a lot of nuances. Programmatic, in some cases, should be along the lines of media pitted on real time, media that is automated and media that is injected with data etc. One of the key misconceptions people have about programmatic is that it makes things simpler. We are applying a new set of software to a very complex ecosystem of media transaction and most people don't care to understand it at the level that programmatic follows.  Given this scenario, people are underestimating the complexity of programmatic.

What is your view about use of traditional media platforms, do you still find them relevant and effective?

If we look at India, one of the fascinating things about the Indian market is the popularity of traditional media platforms like television etc. It is still a highly effective tool to create business results and reach. And with the kind of pricing it offers, it is difficult to make any argument for complex applications like programmatic. So traditional media will continue to stay super relevant when it comes to media consumption behavior of people in the country and it is here to stay.

What are some of the biggest challenges in the ad activation space today?

I think first is correctly evaluating the impressions that you are buying. Second is the issue of ad fraud and the complexity of supply chain. The third challenge is the availability of right talent. 


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If it ain’t viral at all, it ain’t a wedding at all

Weddings are no longer an intimate family affair, as traditional desi weddings have gotten up to speed with the internet age

Arushi Kapoor 23-October-2018


Circa, 2017, bride, Amisha Bharadwaj made headlines when she danced to Cheap Thrills in her choli and shorts while she waited for her groom to arrive. In early 2018, Chennai couple Arun and Roshna gave nerdgasms to every desi Potter-head with their surreal Harry Potter themed sangeet . These are just a few examples of the viral wedding phenomenon millennials are welcoming with open arms.

Weddings are no longer an intimate family affair. Even something as traditional as our desi weddings have gotten up to speed with the Internet age.

What’s with making your wedding trend on social media?
Millennials live for documenting their lives on the Internet. According to a 2017 survey, Indian millennials spend close to 200 minutes a day on mobile Internet consumption. And close to 70% of that time is spent on social media apps like Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram.

Weddings are an extensive digital media project just like a full-blown corporate event, if not more. And like any branded corporate campaign, its success depends on its mass coverage and consumption.

The viral wedding phenomenon
It all starts with the famed hunt for a unique wedding hashtag. #AnuWedsManu and #YoYoKaniSingh are just a few real-life examples of clever composite appellations that begin the trending wedding journey. Everything from pictures to tweets gets neatly collated into a nice little virtual folder in cyberspace.

When Palakshee & Kedar decided to make Golden Retrievers participate in their pre-wedding shoot, they were probably not expecting the outpour of ‘awws’ they received from the internet. Just the extent of its circulation is proof that you have multiple opportunities to go viral and they’re offered to you even before the wedding festivities begin.

Yes. Everyone’s doing it
While virality has become a status symbol of sorts, one begs the question, do the people involved want all the hype to begin with? Co-founder of wedding planning company, ‘Vivaha Wedding Solutions’, Shradha Malik says, “They all want it! It’s massive attention. Seeing yourself all over social media on your most special day makes you feel more popular than a celebrity.” Giving your wedding the air supply is more than just a fad. It’s a way to be etched in virtual memory forever.

It’s not even solely about social media anymore. Wedding consultant, Aanchal Tuli aka, ‘The Millennial Bridesmaid’ says, “Wedding planning in India has gone digital thanks to portals like WedMeGood, ShaadiSaga, WeddingWire and more. Every bride-to-be consumes content from these brands and hopes to one day be ‘featured’ on the same portals again. Your wedding is supposed to be that one day of guilt-free attention. By making your wedding go viral, you get that attention for many more days to come.”

How does one make their wedding trend?
The real game begins when the wedding’s over and it’s time to try every trick in the book to etch your big day in public memory. And the go-to method of the modern, upper-class millennial is either a great set of high quality photos and the cinematic wedding film. Ayushi Mittal, who is part of wedding photography company, ‘Infinite Memories’ says, “The pictures/ wedding film are no longer just for the relatives or for children to see when they grow up. Both the couple and photographers are more than happy when even one picture trends on any Internet platform.”

Amidst this race to virality, one begs the question. Is there a formula for one’s wedding to go viral? Aanchal Tuli says, “The simplest trick is to be unique.” So whether it’s bridal photos with pets or flower kaliras, anything that’s not mainstream has potential to trend.

Tuli adds, “Support the causes that mean the most to you, get rid of traditions that don’t. Dare to be different whether in terms of your outfits, ceremony style or expenditure decisions. Some of the most popular weddings in the last year had brides and grooms that were willing to take a risk.”

Weddings will always be in vogue and viral weddings are here to stay.
Shaadi trends may come and go, but weddings will never go out of fashion. As for the Internet and social media, we’ve seen the large scale and lasting impact on millennials and older generations alike. Weddings and the Internet are a happy marriage and now and then they birth an offspring in the form of an all-out viral shaadi.


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Concept BIU acquires Comniscient Group’s Bluebytes News

With this acquisition, Concept BIU will be servicing around 550 clients

exchange4media Staff 19-October-2018


Concept Business Intelligence Unit (Concept BIU), one of India’s leading media monitoring agencies, has acquired the business of Comniscient Group’s Bluebytes News. Concept BIU is part of Concept Group, which is India’s leading independent agency offering advertising, digital and PR services.

With this acquisition, Concept BIU will be servicing around 550 clients. Bluebytes has had the PR fraternity for media monitoring and analysis for nearly thirteen years and this consolidation with Bluebytes will make Concept BIU the largest and most comprehensive Media Monitoring & Analytics service provider in India.

Ankoor Choudharri, CEO, Concept BIU, said, “We are proud to acquire the business of Bluebytes and we are happy to welcome their 120 plus clients onboard. The new clients will have access to Concept BIU’s service experience which offers an array of analytic tools, consultative client relations; mobile application based services and more allied services offered by us.” Speaking on the aggressive growth, he further added “it’s been a terrific year for Concept BIU; this is the second business acquisition in this fiscal year. Along with a tremendous organic growth that Concept BIU is witnessing we remain eager to explore opportunities to acquire or partner with growing businesses that strengthen our market presence and also helps us in improving our range of services”.

N. Chandramouli, CEO, Bluebytes News commenting on the acquisition, said, “It was a strategic initiative for our group, Bluebytes will be acquired by Concept BIU, a competition we came to admire over time for their large and satisfied clients. While the parting of Bluebytes from our group is an emotional one considering we birthed and raised it, we are happy that the clients are in safe hands with Concept BIU. That said, the next decade for the Comniscient Group looks exciting due to growth in public relations and in brand analytics through our companies, Blue Lotus Communications and TRA Research.” Chandramouli added, “We felt Concept BIU was the most aptly suited to continue the services to the Bluebytes clients in the same efficient manner as we have over the years. The two teams are working in unison to ensure the client transitions are seamless.”


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Raghav Bahl issues official statement after IT raid

IT department officials raided Bahl's Noida residence on October 11th, 2018

exchange4media Staff 12-October-2018


Raghav Bahl, Founder of The Quint, has issued an official statement following an Income Tax department raid which took place at his Noida residence early morning on Thursday,11th October 2018.

Below is the official statement by Raghav Bahl:

All So-Called “Bogus” LTCGs Were Filed & Assessed to Tax

(Statement from Raghav Bahl, Ritu Kapur & Quintillion Media Group)

From 7.45 am on Thursday to 6 am on Friday, for 23 incessant hours, nearly 500 journalists and other professionals of the Quintillion Media Group, were held to the most intrusive ransom by India’s tax officers. However, we are immensely proud of our team, that gave them full access and cooperation, often pointing towards information and assets that they may have missed during their search/survey operations.

But then, when we woke up after a 3-hour sleep, we were astonished to see that a blatant attempt had been made by the government’s spin-masters to say that the action was part of a year-long investigation into some Long-Term Capital Gains (LTCG) scam, whereby Raghav Bahl and Ritu Kapur had made “bogus” income of Rs 118 crore. Without much ado, here are the facts of that case (not claims): ·

All these and other gains/losses were fully detailed/declared in the appropriate year of tax filings; and more importantly, were accepted and assessed to tax, under this very government! · So the attempt to “colour” our tax returns, now, as “bogus”, is clearly a frame-up, and we shall take every legal recourse to protect our fair name and reputation in this case.

But this also alerted us to the imminent possibility that more such frame-ups shall be attempted now. Therefore, picking up from the key points of yesterday’s “interrogation”, we would like to put the facts (again, not claims) for the non-partisan and fair people in this world to judge for themselves.

Cash/Jewellery at home: All that was recovered was Rs 3.56 lacs in Indian currency, and Rs 33 odd lacs in modern and ancestral jewellery, almost entirely from my 82-year-old mother’s cupboard. All of these assets are duly assessed and declared in past returns. Is it really that surprising that people of that age/generation feel more secure holding such a moderate amount within physical proximity?

Flat in London: since both our children expect to or have graduated from a University in London, we decided, as a family, to invest most of our legally permitted LRS remittances (currently at $ 250,000 per family member per year) in buying access to such an asset. Accordingly, we made a booking in a new apartment building a few years back and pooled our annual LRS remittances for this purpose. All of this has been fully declared in Schedule F of our income tax filings. In fact, we were asked, at least half a dozen times yesterday, by the tax officers, whether “we had fully declared these assets in Schedule F, including all details of overseas bank accounts?”. When we answered, half a dozen times, in the positive, we could see that they were disappointed!

RIL Transaction: Clearly, the focus then shifted to the sale of our shares in Network18 to Reliance Industries Limited in 2014. We promptly gave them a copy of the share sale agreement and full access to past emails on this subject. They followed up with several questions about the status of the current subsidiaries of Network18, and all we could say was that we have no access to any information after our exit, and they will have to reach out to Network18.

Viacom18 JV: There was much confusion around this JV, which was done in 2008. They seemed to imply that it was done as a “round tripping” exercise by TV18! They also repeatedly confused this transaction with other subsidiaries/companies, including HomeShop18 and India Film Company. From memory, we did set the record straight and asked them to reach out to Network18 for further details.

BloombergQuint (BQ) JV: This one was truly surprising. They kept on insisting that we had got “Rs 10 cr from Bloomberg invested in the JV without a formal FIPB clearance”. In fact, at one stage they even asserted this was a case of “round tripping” again! But when we produced a copy of our FIPB approval for this investment by Bloomberg in Quintillion Business Media (P) Ltd (our JV company), I reckon they had little option other than to accept the fact. (As an aside, there has been a report in a leading pink paper today that the nearly 2-year delay in receiving approval for BQ’s TV channel is because the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has raised some “security concerns”. We challenge the government to put the MHA report on this subject in the public domain. We can say with absolute confidence that MHA has given a “categorical” clearance to us on security grounds, and the delay is on some other account).

Link to Advantage/Artevea/Reddy: They asked us whether we had ever had any transaction with either Advantage Consulting or Artevea Digital (UK) or one Mr CBN Reddy. Our answer was a quick and categorical “no”. No caveats, no qualifications. We have never had any transactions with any of these entities.

Collateral Raids on Downstream JVs: There were similar/simultaneous surveys carried out at our investee companies, viz The News Minute (Bangalore), Quintype India (Bangalore) and Youth Ki Awaaz (Delhi). If the search/survey was linked to some transactions of ours that took place in 2014, then why were these investee companies searched in the same investigation? All of our investments in these companies have taken place after 2015; in any case, we do not control them on a day-to-day basis, we are only passive investors, so then why were these companies targeted? Clearly, it was a fishing expedition, to spread the net wide, and somehow, somehow, catch something.

Use of Private Digital Experts in a Tax Search: This one astounded us. Since this was our first such experience, we had no clue that the digital experts used to clone data, and do other digital surveillance, during such raids, belong not to the tax department, but to private contractors! So where is the privacy of this key data? Who is responsible for its misuse? What indemnity do we have? This is an issue that requires serious deliberation and comment, and we reserve our right to take further action here. We will urge that this issue be taken up by privacy activists and concerned citizens.

In conclusion, we reiterate that we are absolutely in the clear, that we shall mount a robust legal defence against every trumped-up charge that is brought against us; that we are making these disclosures to pre-empt further character assassination against us, to thwart attempts through leaks, plants, and trolls; that we warn our fellow news colleagues to be vigilant against similar state vendetta; and end with thanking everybody who stood by us and supported us. This battle shall be fought, and not lost!


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125 years of Swami Vivekananda's historic Chicago address

Ramakrishna Mission Mumbai to organise day-long programme on Saturday. Maharashtra Governor C H Vidyasagar Rao to inaugurate the event.

Arijit Ray 29-September-2018

Not many of the yoga worshipping generation in the US are probably aware of the fact that they owe the introduction of this life-transforming practice to their country to Swami Vivekananda, the first Hindu monk to cross the mighty oceans to reach the west and speak about the richness, expansiveness and the universal appeal of the Indian spiritual culture.
Swami Vivekananda was in all practical purposes the first ‘brand ambassador’ of India. The aura, mystique and charm associated with Brand India today owes its allegiance to this thoroughly modern nineteenth century saint, philosopher, poet, author, speaker, humanist, deep thinker and spiritual dynamo from Kolkata. He was the famous disciple of the nineteenth century ‘yuga avatar’ Sri Thakur Ramakrishna Paramahansa. Narendranath Dutta or Naren was Swami Vivekananda’s pre-monastic name.

While he was in Chennai before undertaking the trip to Chicago, it is said that he used to get regular visions from his master Sri Ramakrishna, urging him to attend the World Parliament of Religions. Then, one day, Thakur ‘appeared’ before him and told him that the World Parliament of Regions in Chicago was getting ready for him. The stage was being set for his grand arrival in the spiritual firmament of the world. There could not have been a clearer indication of the intense adulation that was to follow for Thakur Sri Ramakrishna’s favourite disciple.

When Swami Vivekananda started his speech at the august forum of The World Parliament of Religions in 1893 at Chicago by addressing his audience as “sisters and brothers of America”, he got a thunderous standing ovation that lasted more than two minutes. The spontaneous and heart-felt reaction from the audience was symbolic of the imprint his message would create in the hearts and minds of humanity across the world. A ratification of his master’s prediction.

His message of harmony, tolerance and universal acceptance stirred the depths of the human soul and re-established the relevance of practical spirituality in the lives of people, in a world torn by jealousy, greed, hatred & bloodshed.

He laid the contours of a universal religion, underlining the man-making philosophy of Vedanta, where the only goal of every person should be the expansion of his personality and gradually manifesting the divinity lying dormant in him.

When he spoke of sectarianism, bigotry and its horrible descendant fanaticism and how they have drenched the earth with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair, he also spoke of tremendous hope and asserted the famous clarion call to humanity, saying “I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honour of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.”

This significant message of harmony and brotherhood reverberated through minds, across the length and breadth of the globe. While it aroused tremendous interest in spirituality in the enterprising and active minds of the western citizen, it re-awakened spirituality and set the process of resurgence of the Indian mind. And that is an extremely poignant moment in the recent history of India. A nation that had gradually started losing the connection with the rich spiritual heritage of its past in the wake of more than a thousand years of invasion and subjugation.

Swami Vivekananda’s ideas also influenced the leaders of pre-independent India, including Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and is regarded as one of the creators of modern India.

In 1921, Mahatama Gandhi on a visit to Belur Math on the occasion of Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, said “I have gone through his works very thoroughly, and after having gone through them, the love that I had for my countrymen became a thousand-fold. I ask you young men not to go away empty handed without imbibing something of the spirit of the place Swami Vivekananda lived and died.”

This comment truly exemplified the rich tapestry of patriotism, knowledge and love for the country that Swami Vivekananda brought alive in his messages. Western thinkers have spoken of him as the “moulder of the modern world”. A great humanist who loved humanity in the East as well as in the West.

Through this lecture at the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893 and subsequent lecturing and teaching work for four and a half years in the USA and England, he raised the image of India to a high pedestal as the land of spirituality, harmony and rich cultural heritage. What is now known as modern Hinduism is largely Swami Vivekananda’s creation.

Today, when humanity is at crossroads and values cherished over the centuries are getting eroded in the name of fanatic religious beliefs and dogmas, Swami Vivekananda’s message of universality, harmony, character building, strength and courage is even more relevant.

Talking about the historic address, Swami Satyadevananda, Head, Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Mumbai, said, “While we celebrate the 125th year of this momentous address delivered to transform the hearts and minds of humanity, this is also an opportunity to re-dedicate ourselves to imbibe, assimilate and realize the lofty and immensely relevant message of harmony and brotherhood of Swamiji. Let us individually and collectively strive to make the message of practical Vedanta, the message of caring and living for others a reality in every house, in every village, every district, in every relationship and association. Let Swamiji’s message be the glue that binds the new world order”

To commemorate this hallmark occasion, Ramakrishna Mission Mumbai will organise a day-long programme on September 29. At the event, senior monks from Ramakrishna Mission and different faiths of Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Zoroastrianism & Buddhism will present their interpretations on Swami Vivekananda’s speech and its relevance to society today. The cultural programme also includes an Indian classical dance exposition ‘Journey to divinity’ as a tribute to Swami Vivekananda. The function will be inaugurated by Governor of Maharashtra C H Vidyasagar Rao and graced by revered Swami Suviranandaji Maharaj, General Secretary, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math.

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Chennai based Cover It Up partners with Marvel Studios as the official merchandiser

Cover It up has already launched their first season of products which have received positive response

Neethu Mohan 05-September-2018

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCV) films has created quite a buzz recently by becoming the highest-grossing film franchise of all time. According to media reports, the films produced by Marvel Studios have raked in over $17.5 billion at the global box office.

Now, the California based Marvel Studios, which is one of the biggest production houses in the world has a South Indian connection. Chennai based creative design company Cover It Up has been signed on as the official merchandiser for Marvel studios. Cover it Up was in the news during the release of the Rajinikanth starrer Kaala, as they were the official merchandiser for the film.

Speaking about Cover It Up’s new association with Marvel Studios, Ronak Sarda, Founder, Cover It Up said, “After developing a base of 400,000 fans on social media by selling pop-culture merchandise, a lot of our customers started asking us to design something on super-heroes. We realised that Marvel is the association we should be looking forward to, considering the growing fan following they have, we went straight to their Indian head-office. We told them that we had some ideas we wanted to implement with their existing designs and they liked the idea and gave us the nod.”

In the coming months, the team at Cover It Up have collaborated to launch some exciting tech-concept clothing, 3D phone cases (patent pending), wall arts, t-shirts, mugs and products which are easily affordable with pricing not more than Rs. 500.

“We want to make sure that everyone gets a different experience altogether and, in this way, we reach out to a larger portion of the audience. Our water repellent clothing line is one such example and so are the 3D cases,” added Ronak.

The team at Cover it Up were in talks with Marvel Studios India team for quite some time to launch official merchandise. The deal was confirmed in August last week and Cover It up has already launched their first season of products which have received positive response.

“We have launched our concept glow in dark tees along with 3D cases and four other categories. Because of our pricing, which starts from 299, there is something for every Marvel geek,” said Ronak.

Cover It Up has managed to gain good traction in South India because of their association in the past with Rajinikanth movies, Kabali and Kaala.

“We would like to focus on our audience which is already a part of our big family. A video production team is also working towards showcasing the products online in the best way possible,” said Ronak, talking on the marketing strategies followed by them.

“Although Cover it up fan following is from various cities, I think it is about time we start taking our presence offline as well. We have been in talks with many people who want to help us open experience stores in the metros of the country. This way, the growing social media presence along with experience stores will not only add more value but also give a sense of quality which we've been striving towards,” said Sarda, talking on the road map ahead.

The team at Cover It up is investing a lot of time into R&D to create more products with a unique aspect.

“We are already trying to add tech to clothing and are also in talks with one of the biggest production houses to launch the apparel soon. We want to focus on such things where people are amazed, not only at the pricing, but in the equal amount of thought we've put into trying to create something different,” concluded Sarda.

Senior Reporter, exchange4media, Bangalore Neethu reports on media, marketing and advertising industry. In the past she has reported on start-ups, education and health sector for over 6 years.


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Post Office creates Jason Derulo's 'Goodbye' lyric video for Warner Bros. Records

The track enlists a number of artists, with Jason Derulo being accompanied by David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and Willy William.

exchange4media Staff 30-August-2018

Mumbai-based Post Office, a venture by Supari Studios, in association with Warner Bros. Records, recently released the official lyric video for the song, ‘Goodbye’ by Jason Derulo. The track enlists a number of artists, with Jason Derulo being accompanied by David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and Willy William. The video has already been viewed over 2 million times, and has generated a buzz with a global audience.

In the past, Post Office has worked on creating lyric videos for Dua Lipa’s New Rules (which has garnered more than 3 million views till date), Adam Lambert's Two Fux and Nike's Da Da Ding.

According to Post Office, the brief received for the video was to have a tropical carnival theme mixed with a chill island vibe, and so they created multiple layouts that would bring out the desired look and feel of love and fun and relaxation. It was ensured that the words of the song were readable at all points through the use of strong, bright fonts centered on the screen, which also lent an upbeat energy to the video.

Subtle animations in the many elements in the backgrounds, as well as beat-matched visual effects were used to add to the dynamic appeal of the video, mentioned a statement issued by the studio.

Aditya Tawde, Director, Head of Post Office, says “The idea behind this lyric video was to show the Trinidadian carnival culture mixed with the Tropical Ibiza vibe to create a celebratory environment for the viewer. The moment we got this brief and heard the song, we immediately thought of the vibrant celebration and festive mood.”

“Visually, the goal was to make this film look colourful and capture the grand moments of the Trinidadian festivals amalgamated with Ibiza party life. The biggest challenge was to make the lyrics more legible with overpowering background visuals, which eventually we had to dim down. What really makes this video amazing is to see the visuals coming alive which go along with the melody of the song.”

Mohit Bhasin, Executive Producer, Post Office, adds “It's always interesting to work with Warner Bros. Records. As a brand, they have a very clear idea of what will work for their audiences. Once we locked on the visual style, it was sheer madness trying to put the whole film together for the release of the track. The end product looks good, WBR was quite pleased with the film too, and that pretty much is the definition of a 'project well done' for us!”

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