MediAvataar's News Desk
The bouquet of content offerings on Tata Sky Binge+ got a major thrust as Tata Sky extended its partnership with the Entertainment Super-app of India, ZEE5, for its Android enabled smart Set-top box that provides content from linear Live Television and a host of OTT apps onto a TV. Designed to provide smart and endless choice of entertainment for the entire family, Tata Sky Binge+ is now ready to enthral its subscribers with ZEE5’s expansive Bollywood and multilanguage films and original content spanning over 125,000+ hours across 12 languages - English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Punjabi. This is an addition to what is already available on the platform - an enviable selection of multi-lingual films, original dramas, international blockbuster movies and reality shows from India’s premium OTT platforms including Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar Premuim, SunNxt, Hungama Play, Eros Now and ShemarooMe.
Commenting on the partnership, a Tata Sky spokesperson said, “OTT apps are gaining ground as a popular medium of content consumption. Considering the stupendous response we have received from the viewers for the fully integrated Tata Sky Binge+ set-top box, we are now strengthening this offering further by bringing onboard ZEE5’s unmatched content library that will further elevate the content viewing experience for our subscribers. We are confident that the Tata Sky Binge+ Smart set top box will offer a seamless experience of live TV channels and apps such as ZEE5, making it a winning proposition for our customers.”
Talking about the collaboration a ZEE5 Spokesperson stated, “ZEE5 is continuously working towards offering bespoke content for diverse consumer taste clusters across India. As part of this journey, partnering with Tata Sky reinforces our commitment to democratise content by truly providing a Super-app experience for consumers anytime, anywhere. We are happy to extend our partnership with Tata Sky on their new initiative Tata Sky Binge+ Smart set top box. We are certain that with Tata Sky’s reach and ZEE5’s extensive library of content across languages, we will be able to provide consumers with an enriching and engaging content viewing experience.”
Tata Sky Binge+ hosts many advanced features. It enables viewers to play any show, movie, music, game on their laptop, tablet or mobile phone and watch-it-directly on their TV with its in-built Chromecast. It also includes Google Assistant that makes discovering content easy with voice search. Customers can access 5000+ on the Google Play store. It is compatible with all types of TVs including 4K, HD LED, LCD, or plasma technology as it supports HDMI output and can also be connected to older TV sets over audio and video cable.
Mexican waves, boisterous applause and an edge of the seat adrenaline; the joy of witnessing live sports is unmatchable. This monsoon, SonyLIV augments its offerings with back to back sporting spectacles starting 8th July 2020. From international cricket to the best of football to the biggest basketball sensation and more, SonyLIV’s live sports portfolio is brimming with the best of tournaments for all sports aficionados in India.
The cricket season begins today. First up is a clash between England and West Indies, marking the return of International cricket with 3 consecutive Test series. Interim captain Ben Stokes will lead England against the visitors boasting off a bunch of power hitters captained by Jason Holder for the 33rd Time in Test Cricket. Quite interestingly, Jason Holder is also the World's no 1 Test all-rounder who will look to retain his position against Stokes who comes a close second. All three Test series will be streamed live at 3:30 PM (IST) on SonyLIV in India. This will be followed by England vs Ireland starting July 30.
Next up is the on-going battle of the heavyweights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship on and from 12th July in Abu Dhabi. The tournament will have a fresh set of fights with strong contenders like Kamaru Usman, Alexander Volkanovski, Max Holloway, Jose Aldo, Jessica Andrade, Paige Vanzant and others locking horns in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Also going live is WWE Extreme Rules 2020, the no holds barred sporting tournament. Touted as ‘The Horror Show’, this one will witness some power packed clashes and epic rivalries on and from 20th July. All matches will be live streamed on SonyLIV.
And then there’s the biggest highlighter of the month. The 2019-20 NBA Season begins on July 30 with 22 teams participating in the big battle. While there would be no live audience, SonyLIV users in India will be able to watch all the matches on the platform. This coveted league will continue till the finale in October 2020.
But that’s not all. Bringing the best of International football to your screens, The 2019/20 UEFA Champions League quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals will also resume as a straight knockout tournament on and from August 7. Round of 16 2nd Leg matches will also be held preceding the main tournament leading up to the finale on August 24. Adding to this is The FA cup semi-finals on July 19th & the on-going Serie A
Studio to Enlist World-Class Talent to Bring A Multi-Media History of Slavery's Impact on America to a Global Audience
Pulitzer Prize®-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and The New York Times have chosen global content leader Lionsgate to be the home for a wide-ranging partnership to develop Ms. Hannah-Jones' landmark issue of The New York Times Magazine, The 1619 Project, and hit New York Times podcast, 1619, into an expansive portfolio of feature films, television series and other content for a global audience.
As part of the ground-breaking venture, Lionsgate has partnered with media titan Oprah Winfrey as a producer who will provide stewardship and guidance to the development and production of the 1619 Project.
Lionsgate, The Times and Ms. Winfrey will join forces with Ms. Hannah-Jones, a 2020 Pulitzer Prize® winner, staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, and one of the nation's foremost investigative journalists, who will serve as the creative leader and producer in developing feature films, television series, documentaries, unscripted programming and other forms of entertainment enlisting world-class Black creative voices to help adapt her celebrated series chronicling the ways that the original sin of slavery in America still permeates all aspects of our society today. Her colleague at The Times Magazine, Caitlin Roper, an editor of The 1619 Project and head of scripted entertainment at The Times, will also produce.
One of the most impactful and thought-provoking works of journalism of the past decade, The Times Magazine's 1619 Project was a landmark undertaking that connected the centrality of slavery in history with an unflinching account of the brutal racism that endures in so many aspects of American life today. It was launched in August 2019 on the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in the English colonies that would become the United States, and it examines the legacy of slavery in America and how it shaped all aspects of society, from music and law to education and the arts, including the principles of our democracy itself.
Ms. Hannah-Jones created and was the architect of the initiative at The Times Magazine with contributions from Black authors, essayists, poets, playwrights, and scholars comprising a special issue of the magazine and a special section in the print edition of The New York Times produced in collaboration with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African-American History & Culture, as well as a five-part podcast that topped the Apple Podcast charts.
One of The Times' most widely read pieces of journalism last year, The 1619 Project has been discussed in the Senate, is being adapted into a series of books with One World, a division of Penguin Random House, and is already changing the way that American history is being taught in schools.
"We took very seriously our duty to find TV and film partners that would respect and honor the work and mission of The 1619 Project, that understood our vision and deep moral obligation to doing justice to these stories. Through every step of the process, Lionsgate and its leadership have shown themselves to be that partner and it is a dream to be able to produce this work with Ms. Oprah Winfrey, a trailblazer and beacon to so many Black journalists," said Ms. Hannah-Jones. "I am excited for this opportunity to extend the breadth and reach of The 1619 Project and to introduce these stories of Black resistance and resilience to even more American households."
"From the first moment I read The 1619 Project and immersed myself in Nikole Hannah-Jones's transformative work, I was moved, deepened and strengthened by her empowering historical analysis," said Oprah Winfrey. "I am honored to be a part of Nikole's vision to bring this project to a global audience."
"For many Americans, The 1619 Project was a great awakening and a true history that you probably never learned in school," said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. "For others, the project was a fresh analysis of the historical record by one of the world's leading media authorities. We're proud to partner with The New York Times, Nikole Hannah-Jones and Oprah Winfrey, a creative talent with unparalleled stature, to amplify Nikole's voice and reach across our worldwide platform to marshal all of our top creative relationships to translate her vision into a canon of storytelling for a global audience."
"Since the publication of The 1619 Project last year, we have been searching for the right partners to expand the reach of its message into film and television while preserving the authenticity of its voice," said New York Times Assistant Managing Editor, Sam Dolnick. "We believe that Lionsgate and Oprah Winfrey are the perfect combination of partners who understand the editorial integrity of The Times and the gravity of The 1619 Project's message, and have the reach, resources, compassion, and talent relationships to join with us and with Nikole in producing films, television, and other programming for a global audience that do justice to the project."
"Nikole Hannah-Jones and her deeply reported journalism has done nothing short of challenging the entire history we thought we knew, revealing the true role of slavery and the impact of racial prejudice in shaping the America of today," said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chairman Joe Drake and Lionsgate Television Group Chairman Kevin Beggs. "The truths she uncovers are painful and disturbing, but we are better for it because her crowning accomplishment in shining a spotlight on the previously untold contributions of Black Americans delivers a powerful message of empowerment and inclusion. That is the message that we want to advance through feature films and television series whose storytelling, breadth of scope, and world-class talent do justice to their subject matter."
HT Smartcast is an umbrella property, which encompasses specially curated podcasts across HT Media's businesses such as Hindustan Times, livemint, livehindustan, Fever FM, Radio Nasha, Radio One and Health Shots.
HT Smartcast produces podcasts spanning a variety of genres like politics, news, entertainment, mythology, lifestyle etc.
HT Smartcast is India’s youngest and fastest-growing podcast platform with the largest inventory of podcasts. It has the energy of Fever FM and the credibility of Hindustan Times. It gives its listeners the ability to dive into a pool of topics without having to set aside time to read or watch a video. It offers audio content in smaller bite-sized chunks, perfect for daily commutes or busy routines. Currently, it is India’s largest podcast publisher with 110+ shows across 40+ genres with 6mn+ listens.
HT Smartcast brings to you, webinars on a range of topics revolving around the central theme of podcasts. Pragya Gulati, Partnerships Head of HT Smartcast, said, “The goal of having this monthly webinar series is to evangelize the medium of podcasts. We pick up one topic that is closely associated with podcasts and dive deep into it. We bring in three eminent speakers who have three different perspectives on the same topic. We picked up Storytelling in June and it’s Technology this time. We will cover topics like Marketing, Content, Production and Monetization in the upcoming months.”
The first webinar in this monthly series was called, ‘Podcasts, Storytelling and Shiz’. The speakers on the webinar were Ramesh Menon, Chief Business Officer at HT Media Ltd, Siddharth Deshmukh, Adjunct Faculty and Senior Advisor at MICA and Gautam Raj Anand, founder of Hubhopper. The discussion in the webinar revolved around the power of storytelling and the role of podcasts in storytelling. The speakers also touched upon how brands can leverage storytelling through audio. Click here to watch this webinar on the HT Smartcast YouTube Channel.
HT Smartcast’s shows are available on more than 30 platforms including Apple, Spotify, JioSaavn , Gaana and HT Smartcast’s own website. HT Smartcast can also be found across major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The next webinar ‘Podcasts, Technology and Shiz’ will be live on the 10th of July, 6 pm. The speakers on the webinar are Ajay Shrivastava, the Chief Product and Technology Officer at HT Media, Prateek Sharma, Founder and CEO of Motor Mouth Media Pvt Ltd and Pratham Khandelwal, Co-Founder of a social audio platform called Headfone. The discussion will revolve around how the two magical worlds of technology and podcasts are intertwined with each other.
Click here to register for ‘Podcasts, Technology and Shiz’: https://bit.ly/31JYhGq
Universal Music India (UMI), a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced an exclusive multi-year, global distribution deal with leading Indian music company Desi Melodies.
Founded in Mohali, in the Punjab region of northern India by Jaani (Lyricist, Singer) and Arvindr Khaira (Director, Filmmaker) – Desi Melodies has quickly become one of the most popular and respected companies in the Indian entertainment industry today and has led the contemporary wave of global Punjabi music success in recent years.
Effective immediately, Universal Music India will exclusively distribute all audio recordings from the broad and hugely popular Desi Melodies label catalog, including past releases, future non-film releases and all other projects, where rights are retained by the label worldwide. UMI will work closely with Desi Melodies to provide multifaceted, global support and distribution for their audio catalogue and future releases with support from UMG partner labels around the world.
Announcing the partnership, Devraj Sanyal, MD & CEO Universal Music India and South Asia said, “Music in India is evolving rapidly and now is an exciting time to see how artists, labels, innovators and entrepreneurs can adapt to this changing landscape. At Universal Music India, we strongly believe in creating music that can transcend regional popularity and local languages, to reach the widest possible audience worldwide. UMI continues to be committed to transforming the non-film music market, with the aim of giving Indian music and artists a global platform to find success. We share these beliefs with our new partners at Desi Melodies, who in recent years have revitalized Punjabi music, and have helped introduce it to new audiences around the world. We are excited to welcome Desi Melodies to the Universal Music Group family and look forward to many successes together in the future.”
Jaani, Managing Director, Desi Melodies said, “Desi Melodies has the legacy of great music, great songs and producing great artists. With the same spirit, we have collaborated with Universal Music to bring in some illustrious Punjabi hits to national and global audiences. Punjabi Music and its culture have intense vibrancy that is reflected in the artists and music coming out of the region today and is fast becoming a massive cultural choice for most younger consumers, even to Bollywood. We are quite optimistic that this collaboration will create a new benchmark in the Indian music industry.”
Together with popular composer and singer B Praak, Desi Melodies has released multiple domestic hit singles including; ‘Filhall’, ‘Coka’, ‘Kuch Bhi ho jaaye’ and ‘Tod da e dil’. In addition, the trio have created multiple hit records and projects for other labels and film soundtracks including; ‘Pachtaogey’, ‘Jinke Liye’, ‘Teri Mitti’, ‘Mann Bharya’, ‘Kya Baat Ay’, ‘Naah’, ‘Laare’, ‘Dance Like’ and ‘Maastaani’.
Desi Melodies is renowned for its visual storytelling aesthetic, and for working with the biggest names in Bollywood acting talent to bring its projects to life, resulting in some of the most popular Indian music videos in recent years. The label has amassed more that 5.54 million subscribers on YouTube, with 1.6 billion plays on their own official channel.
UMI Leading India’s Non-Film Music Market
In recent years, India has witnessed a phenomenal growth in the consumption of regional language music, thanks in part to the penetration of smart phones, access to hi-speed, low cost internet and proliferation of streaming platforms. This has seen the popularity of Punjabi language music increasing rapidly across India and South-Asia, and throughout the global Indian diaspora (the world’s largest at 17.5 million people), finding dedicated new audiences in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.
This agreement strengthens both organizations position at the forefront of India’s blossoming non-film music market. Over the past three years, UMI has led the evolution of domestic Indian music with a series of strategic label launches (VYRL Originals, Mass Appeal India), combined with increased A&R focus in original Indian non-film music and artist development.
Vinit Thakkar, COO, Universal Music India and South Asia said, “Desi Melodies represents the gold standard in Punjabi language music with a proven record of consistently delivering hit songs. With this partnership we are looking forward to working together, to elevate their music to continue to reach new audiences and levels of success. With VYRL Originals, Mass Appeal India and our other domestic labels, we have tried to expand the culture for original artist music and non-film to become a leading category for music in India. The potential for artist talent and creativity across all regions of India is huge and we are excited to support Desi Melodies in their efforts to bring Punjabi language music to the world and to further establish UMG as the true, authentic home for non-film music talent and success in the region.”
In January 2018, UMI launched VYRL Originals, India’s first dedicated non-film label, which has released more than 50 singles, from a roster of 20 artists including: Mithoon; Vishal Mishra; Arjun Kanungo; Akull Tandon; Sukriti & Prakriti Kakkar; Lisa Mishra; and Tanishk Bagchi, establishing the label as India’s premier destination for non-film talent. This focus has enabled UMI artists to reach new audiences both locally and globally, whilst expanding the opportunities for non-film talent outside of Bollywood, which has traditionally dominated India’s commercial music and airplay charts.
In November 2019, VYRL Originals single ‘Intezaar’ from Mithoon featuring Arijit Singh & Asees Kaur made history as the first non-film release to top India’s national AirCheck T20 radio airplay charts for three consecutive weeks. Since the launch of VYRL Originals, UMI has further extended and established the VYRL brand, partnering with broadcast partners Red FM to launch Ricky Singh Ka VYRL Countdown – India’s first character based non-film countdown show across 40 cities in India. This is the first and only weekly primetime show dedicated to non-film music. In addition, UMI launched the VYRL Top 20 Playlist across all digital partner platforms, curated and based on listening patterns and audience preferences from across India.
The first release from Desi Melodies / Universal Music India will be released later this month.