20 January 2020 07:18


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- Oct 08, 2019
Weber Shandwick Continues to Build Strategic Expertise Hiring Hin-Yan Wong in Singapore Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading global communications and marketing solutions firms, today announced the appointment of Hin-Yan Wong PhD as senior vice president, ...
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Thursday, 16 January 2020 00:00

ZEE5 Global unveils its plans for Bangladesh

Two Bangladeshi Originals announced: first international market chosen for local content production

Talent Hunt launch where local talent will be given a global stage

Plans to open a local office in Bangladesh

‘Stronger Together’ was the theme at the event held In Dhaka yesterday where ZEE5, the largest global video streaming platform for South Asians and beyond, shared its plans for Bangladesh and the rollout of various initiatives that underscore its firm commitment to drive growth in the market through strong local collaboration. The announcements were received by a massively positive response from a room packed with Minsters, the entire advertising and media fraternity, the who’s who of the Bangladeshi television and film industry, and journalists.

Among the multiple announcements made was the launch of ZEE5’s first Bangladeshi Originals: a web series and a movie, both to be released within the next few months. Both Originals are being produced in partnership with local production house Asiatic’s Good Company and will have an all-local star cast.

As one of the most prolific creators of Original content, ZEE5 has rolled out 84+ Originals over the past year, adding to its already vast library of entertainment content. With these shows, the platform now will add on a slate of local Bangladeshi content also, which will take give the local content and talent tremendous exposure in global markets.

Bangladesh is in fact the very first market in which ZEE5 is rolling out its local content production, a significant statement of how deeply the platform has prioritized this market.

First up for launch is a romantic movie titled Jodi.. Kintu.. Tobuo. Directed by Shihab Shaheen, this movie will take the audiences on a journey of what happens when a groom gets cold feet before his wedding day.

Contract, a web series based on a novel written by Mohammad Najim Uddin, is another ZEE5 Original Series in the works. This is a cat and mouse thriller about a contract killer, a police cop and an underworld don. The series is being directed by Krishnendu Chatterjee, Tanim Noor and Parthe Sarkar.

ZEE5 also shared details of its upcoming Talent Hunt titled ‘Bangladesh’s Global Superstar’ which will be launched within January. Providing a global stage to the vast local talent in Bangladesh, this talent hunt will give them an opportunity to conquer the OTT entertainment world with a chance to feature in ZEE5 Originals that get viewed across 190+ countries.

Participation is simple - viewers are invited to upload their auditions on the brand’s website www.global-superstar.com along with some basic details about themselves. Pure talent is the biggest evaluation criteria of this hunt. A set of celebrity judges will shortlist 5 best male artistes and 5 female artistes. The final leg of the hunt will end with 2 artistes being crowned as Bangladesh’s Global Superstars.

Commenting on the announcements, Amit Goenka, CEO, ZEE International and ZEE5 Global said, ”Localization is a very key part of our agenda this year as we look to establish deeper relationships with markets. Bangladesh has always been a high priority market, and we look to strengthen our ties further through strong local collaborations. Bangladesh will be the very first market in which we will be rolling out local language productions and I’m also very happy to share that we plan to have a local office here soon.”

Talking about the initiatives and ZEE5’s strong focus on Bangladesh, Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global said, “Bangladesh is a young country poised for massive growth, and the possibilities are tremendous. We’re very excited to be here in Dhaka to share the various initiatives that we will be rolling out over the next few months along with our local partners. Our vision is one of true collaboration in this very exciting market where both of us grow and learn together to scale new heights.”

This year, Spoken Fest by Kommune, powered by Spotify, took place on 11th and 12th January 2020 at JioWorld BKC, Mumbai. The festival saw over twelve thousand people in attendance across both days.

Spoken 2020 was a celebration of words featuring performances of poetry, music, and storytelling. Headlined by The Local Train and Peter Cat Recording Co., the festival also featured international spoken word stalwarts Rudy Francisco, Shane Koczyan and Rosie Garland.

The festival was interspersed with unusual experiences and some very interesting brand integrations. For example, Spoken brought an audio installation of forgotten stories from the mountains of India, and this year, the brands we saw at Spoken were Spotify, Netflix, Asian Paints, CRED, Stranger & Sons, White Owl, Blue Tokai, Bumble, and Harley Davidson. Each of these brands was integrated into the festival in a way that felt fresh and organic.

This year’s Spoken Fest was powered by Spotify, the world’s most popular global audio streaming subscription service that launched in India in February last year. Spoken and Spotify collaborated to host the Spotify Pitch Fest, wherein creators stood an opportunity to have their podcast produced by Kommune. All they had to do was download the Spotify-owned, free Anchor app and record a trailer summarizing their show; once it was published, they had to share the link with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The pitchfest received an overwhelming response with a uniformly high quality of entries, so much so that the panel selected 3 winners instead of 1 to work with Kommune on developing their podcasts

“Storytelling is an integral part of our culture in India and with Spoken Fest being an enabler that brings together artist voices to deliver impactful messages and musings, it was a really good decision to join forces with them for the most immersive weekend and to create an unforgettable experience. Anchor is an easy-to-use tool that we hope more creators will use to start sharing their stories with listeners.” said Amarjit Batra, Managing Director for India, at Spotify.

In addition to brand-led integrations, Spoken also housed their own set of soulful experiences such as Blind Book Date, Kahaani Ki Dukaan, #LetsTalkToStrangers, and A Venting & Theta healing Corner.

 And of course, all of the performances! Each performance resonated with the members of the audience. There were soulful stories by Mithila Palkar and Varun Grover, power-packed performances by Rohan Joshi and Faye D'souza, and engaging conversations with Radhika Apte and Harsha Bhogle, among others.

“Spoken is like an annual empathy bootcamp!” said Regha Jha, performer and ex editor of BuzzFeed India. The deafening applause to the line in Rohan Joshi’s piece on anxiety “The opposite of ‘happiness’ is not ‘wrong’" showed us how much audiences want performances that are authentic and raw. "Spoken Fest is like the Coachella of Spoken Word," says Rudy Francisco, "I have never seen any other festival where people come out in such numbers to celebrate words like this."

The experiences didn’t end at matters of the heart, though, but also travelled all the way to your taste buds! All the food partners had Spoken Special menus that were curated to match the vibe & tribe at Spoken 3.0.

Across two days, people gravitated towards the 'Netflix House of Stories' stage for a series of interactive activities and discussions. The fan fiction writing workshop discussed various Netflix shows and films, including Sacred Games, and Stranger Things, and explored what enabled these stories to form a deep connection with the viewers. "We had a lovely time dissecting stories, sharing recommendations, and discovering how great stories are at connecting the world," says Nandini Varma, one of the attendees at the Netflix workshop. Following that was the Behensplaining session with Srishti Dixit and Kusha Kapila, which was definitely one of the highlights at Spoken 3.0.

“When brands get content right they reap richer rewards. At Spoken Fest we saw never before engagement with brands that found an audience who is mindful and vocal and appreciated the opportunity to be heard” said Roshan Abbas, founder of Spoken & Kommuneity.

Introduces new Marathi movie destination with rich and high-quality content from the house of Shemaroo Entertainment

‘A’ list Marathi Celebs launched the channel and unveiled the logo

Catering to the Marathi speaking audience, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited, India’s leading content powerhouse today announced the launch of their new Marathi movie channel – Shemaroo ‘MarathiBana’. Prominent celebrities and stalwarts from the Marathi Film industry like Mahesh Kothare, Varsha Usgaonkar, Siddharth Jadhav, Swapnil Joshi, Rinku Rajguru, Adinath Kothare, Chandrakant Kulkarni were present to grace the occasion amongst many others. Shemaroo MarathiBana is a one stop destination for some of the most popular Marathi movies and theatre plays which were launched with a sole objective to entertain the Marathi audiences. The channel will entirely focus on Marathi audiences across Maharashtra and Goa and will serve their preferences through the high-quality rich content offering.

The name MarathiBana stands for Maratha pride and the channel is expected to go a long way popularising and bringing entertaining content that depicts the rich Maratha culture. Shemaroo MarathiBana promises to bring a premium international feel to the channel, thereby making it aesthetically appealing and helping it stand out in the cluttered movie space. The newly launched channel will showcase a wide array of Marathi movies from the most recent ‘Bhay’ starring Abhijeet Khandkekar to the classic Ramesh Deo’s Prem Andhale Aste released in the year 1962 along with hits like Apna Manus, Poshter Girl, Mitwaa, Classmate etc. Additionally, the channel will also telecast famous Marathi plays which is a rare offering from a TV channel for its viewers.

Shemaroo has a strong understanding of the Marathi audiences and is a significant player in the Marathi movie industry with a prominent content library of Marathi films and plays. The company has also been producing and syndicating regional content for a few decades. Shemaroo’s content has been playing across various leading channels as part of their programming schedule. Therefore, launching a Marathi movie channel that will be home to high-quality content was the next natural progression to entertain the audiences under the Shemaroo banner.

Commenting on the launch of Shemaroo MarathiBana, Mr. Hiren Gada, CEO, Shemaroo Entertainment Limited said “The launch of ‘Shemaroo MarathiBana’ further expands Shemaroo’s presence in the Marathi speaking market, where we are bringing some of the rich content on our premium Marathi movie channel.

We have been dominant players and have had a strong foothold in the media and entertainment industry for both viewers and advertisers. Taking the legacy forward we will now be tapping on the humongous consumer base of the Marathi speaking audiences through this launch. We are sure to entertain the right set of audiences by providing them entertainment in the language they enjoy and prefer.”

Present at the launch, versatile actor, Swapnil Joshi said, “Shemaroo has always been entertaining us for decades and I have been a part of that journey with them. They have been prominent players in the Marathi and Bollywood industry, and I am super excited to join them to launch their new Marathi movie channel, Shemaroo MarathiBana. The name MarathiBana suggests pride and integrity and Shemaroo will be the medium to ensure we feel proud while we go back to our roots and connect with our culture through the movies.”

Mahesh Kothare, the veteran Marathi Actor, Director and Producer said, ‘I have been associated with Shemaroo since their inception and it has been the only place, where one could find any movie under any banner. I have grown with Shemaroo in my creative journey. I am excited to see them launch Shemaroo MarathiBana, which is going to be a new avenue for all Marathi movies and Marathi film makers. Shemaroo has made it big in the industry and I am sure it will continue the legacy of success with this new launch. I look forward to watching the movies & plays and be a part of Shemaroo MarathiBana to entertain my Marathi audiences.’

Sending his good wishes, the multitalented actor, Shreyas Talpade said, ‘Shemaroo has been the pioneers and legends of the industry, with a huge content library. It was high time they came up with a channel of their own. And I am glad, they are doing this because we as film makers always look for new and better avenues to showcase our work and projects. Over the last few decades, Shemaroo has emerged as a leader in the content space. They have always been at the forefront and taken our work to the viewers in the best possible manner. So now that they are launching their new channel, I am sure in no time it’s going to rule the Marathi film market and become the number 1 channel. All my good wishes to Shemaroo on the launch of their new Marathi movie channel, Shemaroo MarathiBana. I hope that they show some of my films and we continue to work together in the future.’


Shemaroo MarathiBana will offer wide range of Marathi movie titles and plays in various genres to entertain audiences. Shemaroo MarathiBana is already a

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 00:00

VOOT achieves a new viewership benchmark

Begins the new decade with 100 Million Monthly Active Users

Emerges as the most engaged premium AVOD platform with 100 billion minutes of watch time in the year

Reaffirming its position of making available rich entertainment experience for its audiences, Viacom 18’s digital arm and the 2nd largest premium AVOD platform in India, VOOT has achieved another key milestone. The platform that now boasts of the highest engagement with No 1 in TSV(Time Spent per viewer) - 46 mins & frequency of visits (Daily active user to monthly active user ratio) as per App Annie Dec, 2019, is now set to begin the decade with an all new feat of garnering a phenomenal 100 million monthly active users.

VOOT’s consistent focus on offering diverse entertainment experience across genres, languages and formats has led to this growth over this period and will see the platform enter the decade with 100 billion minutes of watch time in the year. Some marquee initiatives that have contributed to scripting the success story for VOOT and setting the stage for a fabulous 2020 were -

Co-Creation with VOOT Studio: Launched in April, VOOT Studio is a playbook for advertisers & brands of all sizes that has been built using a combination of our creative storytelling, production expertise, interactivity offerings, social media platforms and native elements that come together to meet the business objectives brands. In less than a year VOOT Studio has co-created marquee properties with brands, helping each brand uniquely deliver on their brand narrative. Unique shows and formats like TikTok present Work it Up with Sophie & #Cheatweekin Singapore with Singapore Tourism amongst others have all contributed to building equity and resonance for the brands. 10% of monetization on the platform is achieved through VOOT studio with the focus on doubling the same through the next year.

VOOT Partnership eco-system: One of the key drivers of reach through the year was the building of the most diverse and inclusive partner ecosystem that ensured an omnichannel and multiscreen presence for VOOT. Seamless and wide distribution through partnering with best in class brands across categories like connected TVs, devices, telcos, travel, utility, broadband, etc with names like Sony, LG, Samsung, Flipkart, Ola, MX Player, Airtel joining the new bandwagon have ensured the last mile availability of VOOT.

Akash Banerji, Business Head – VOOT, Advertising Video Platform (AVoD) said “Achieving 100 mn Monthly Active Users in just three years is not a mean feat. We have been able to achieve this new viewership benchmark through our focus on driving constant engagement and reach through impact partnerships, product & tech innovations and versatile content strategy. Our constant pursuit of building a digital business using a user first strategy and basing all decisions that drives higher engagement is the only reason that has made us achieve a quality 100 mn user base leading to 2x increase in monetization.”

Expanding regional footprint: Unlocking new territory with vernacular Content, VOOT’s regional slate saw many firsts. From making a digital first entry into the Telugu market with shows like Feet Up with the Stars Telugu to Regional Reality Content experience being augmented with interactivity & advertiser friendly content innovations, VOOT’s regional story has continued to grow from strength to strength. The platform has witnessed 4X growth in the contribution to the views from Regional content as a result of these initiatives.

An all new refreshed VOOT: The first distinctive step towards achieving the milestone come from building a Stronger, Agile & futuristic tech for the all new VOOT 3.0. Focused on improving content discoverability, providing unmatched user experience and agility for the dynamic digital content user, the all new refreshed platform enhanced the VOOT experience.

Enhanced and immersive user experiences and continued audience patronage is sure to drive VOOT towards new echelons of growth.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020 00:00

Apple has its eye on MGM

While bundling Apple TV+ at no additional cost with new devices is central to the group's TV and hardware strategy, with only 45 hours of premium, original programming (Nov 2019), the stand-alone $4.99 a month price for the streaming service make it currently the most expensive in the US on a cost-per-hour basis. Other similarly priced services, such as Acorn TV ($4.99), CBS All Access ($5.99), BritBox ($6.99) and Disney+ ($6.99) all offer over 3,000 hours of content.

Apple has reportedly been in talks with MGM in a bid to acquire content to bolster the Apple TV+ catalogue, which will be particularly important when its free trial periods start to elapse for early adopters. MGM owns the rights in the US to popular franchises such as James Bond, Rocky, Robocop and long-running sci-fi show Stargate SG-1. Franchises are particularly important for global streaming services because they provide the opportunity to create spin-off shows.

On a subscription cost per hour basis, the three major services, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu offer the best value for money. Amazon Prime Video has 63,500 hours of content for a monthly price at only $12.99, although much of this is made up of a long tail or lower value content. Hulu, whilst offering a smaller number of titles than Netflix (5,437 to Netflix’s 7,239), has a strong focus on TV series, with a large number of long running shows, resulting in more content hours.

Upcoming service HBO Max is targeting a launch catalogue of 10,000 hours of content and NBCUniversal's Peacock is aiming for 15,000 hours. HBO Max will offer double the content currently available through HBO Go, for the same price of $14.99 per month. The high-quality HBO titles will sit alongside additional Warner Brothers content, including a library of hit blockbusters (such as A Star is Born) and series (such as Friends and Pretty Little Liars). Peacock, which is expected to offer an ad-free premium subscription tier for $10.00 a month, alongside an ad-supported version for $5.00 a month, will be the fourth largest service in the US. With competition hotting up and catalogue size a differentiating factor, an acquisition strategy for Apple looks increasingly likely.


Written by Lottie Towler at Ampere Analytics

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