29 June 2022 03:47


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- May 18, 2022
Following its announcement of exclusive discussions on 3 February 2022, BT Group plc (“BT Group”) has agreed a set of definitive agreements with Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (“Warner Bros. Discovery”) to form a 50:50 joint venture company to create a new premium sport ...


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RD&X Network brings on board APAC Agency Network veteran Ashish Bhasin as Co-Founder & Chairman

With over 34 years of experience in advertising and media industry, Bhasin is credited with 24 successful agency acquisitions, management of 10,000+ people, and over $4 bn of ad spends in APAC region

RD&X Network, a Global Advertising & Marketing Transformation startup, announces the appointment of Ashish Bhasin as Co-Founder & Chairman. The former CEO APAC of Dentsu, Bhasin is an Advertising and Media veteran with over 34 years of industry experience which includes 24 successful agency acquisitions, management of 10,000+ people, and over $4 billion of ad spends in the APAC region.

Founded by Rajiv Dingra, former CEO of WATConsult, RD&X Network is headquartered in Dubai and has technology teams based in Bangalore and Mumbai catering to a global market with special focus on USA, Middle East, and APAC regions. RD&X Network recently launched the world’s first Unified Marketing & Advertising Automation Platform, ReBid which uses AI-based algorithms to provide endto-end unified workflow, data harmonization and real-time reporting, all in one platform. It covers over 98% of the relevant global digital ad spends, helping marketers regain control and prepare for a cookieless world.

Speaking on this occasion, Ashish Bhasin, Co-Founder & Chairman RD&X Network said, “MadTech, a combination of MarTech and AdTech, is clearly the future of our industry as digital spends cross 60% globally, reaching over a trillion dollars by 2027. Rajiv and the RD&X Network team have developed a unique AI-based platform that will enable direct clients, clients wanting to in-house, as well as digital, and advertising agencies. With one of the finest technology teams, a committed founder with experience and drive like Rajiv, RD&X Network has the potential to become the first India-Out, platform based global advertising and marketing startup. The opportunity to mentor and guide this process attracted me to join the RD&X Network. It is also my first entrepreneurial venture as a co-founder and I am delighted to partner with Rajiv.”

Praising Bhasin’s accolades and experience, Rajiv Dingra, Founder and CEO, RD&X Network said, “Ashish is an advertising and media legend, who brings with him the unique experience and wisdom of scaling the digital advertising business, both organically and inorganically, across several markets, regions, and with diverse entrepreneurs. We have worked together in the past when WATConsult joined Dentsu, and I have witnessed his amazing zeal and drive first-hand as a leader always seeking to build the future of advertising by inspiring his team. We are extremely excited to have him onboard as our Co-Founder & Chairman. Together, we intend to create the platform-driven future of advertising industry as we take this step.”


ZEE5 says CHOOSTUNE UNDIPOTAARU (Dekhtey Reh Jaogey) as it reveals a power-packed line-up of 11 originals across a gamut of genres in the presence of industry veterans such as Dil Raju, Harish Shankar, Praveen Sattaru, Kona Venkat, Niharika and Sushmita Konidela.

The star-studded event –‘Hooked’, showcased the platform’s expansive line-up for Telugu audiences creating excitement with some highly anticipated original series, blockbuster movies and the best of dubbed content ~

ZEE5, India and Bharat’s largest home-grown video streaming platform and multilingual storyteller for millions of entertainment seekers, reaffirmed its commitment towards its viewers and content partners in the South by unveiling a compelling slate of 11 Telugu originals in a star-studded event today in Hyderabad. With its strong consumer proposition, ZEE5 has been winning the hearts of audiences across the region. The platform’s content portfolio builds a high level of excitement as it brings the world of entertainment to our consumers’ screens in multiple languages, with diverse emotions and endless experiences to get hooked on to.

ZEE5 viewers in the Telugu market will have an extensive slate to watch ranging from thrillers to comedy, drama, romance, and many more which are deeply rooted in the rich culture and legacy of the region. In addition, viewers can watch blockbuster movies along with a line-up of original content and movies from ZEE5’s library that have been specially dubbed in Telugu to cater to the viewers’ consumption preferences.

This much awaited content slate was unveiled in the presence of Dil Raju, Harish Shankar, Praveen Sattaru, Kona Venkat, Niharika and Sushmita Konidela.

One could also catch a glimpse of the highly anticipated upcoming titles such as ‘Recce’, which is a multi-starrer thriller featuring Shiva Balaji, Sri Ram, Dhanya Balakrishna, Rajeshwari Nair, Aadukalam Nareyn, Sharanya Pradeep, Sammeta Gandhi, Ester Noronha and ‘Maa Neella Tank’ - a romantic comedy based in a small village that marks heartthrob Sushanth’s OTT debut. The event also saw veteran industry stalwart Dil Raju revealing the first look of ‘ATM’- a heist comedy featuring Subbaraju, Prudhvi andVJ Sunny. . Further to this, popular actor Raj Tarun unveiled the lyrical video of a song from the upcoming ‘Aha Nee Pellanta’- a fun romantic show of a man’s failed attempt at finding a spouse.

The audiences were hooked to the line-up which boasts of shows like Hello World! – based on the life and trials of a group of youngsters on the cusp of their careers in the prominent IT sector of Hyderabad and Mission Tashaffi -an adrenaline-pumping spy drama. Other shows which we can look forward to are Paruvu, Bahishkarana, The Black Coat, Prema Vimanam and Hunting of the Stars.

The evening also raised a toast to the talented teams of Oka Chinna Family Story, Net, the Loser franchise and Gaalivaana for their remarkable storytelling which has had the Telugu audience hooked.

Upping the ante in content offerings for its Telugu-speaking audiences by announcing this specially curated slate of 11 originals, ZEE5 brings to the fore the best of talent from Telugu’s creative ecosystem, reiterating its focus on entertainment inclusion and meaningful quality content across languages and genres. ZEE5 recently premiered superstar Ajith’s Valimai on the platform, fetching the fastest 500-million streaming minutes on ZEE5 worldwide. The platform in its latest offering released the magnum opus ‘RRR’ for their multilingual audiences which received 1000 million streaming minutes within 10 days and has been trending at #1 in all 4 languages, including Telugu on ZEE5. The platform has been ramping up their regional library with blockbuster acquired as well as original content to further consolidate their foothold in regional markets and keep the viewers entertained with quality content.

Talking about the focus on the Telugu market, Mr. Manish Kalra, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 India said, “South is an important market for us at ZEE5 and we have been consistent in expanding our presence in this market across languages from the very outset. The response from the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region has been encouraging and we did foresee a growing appetite for Telugu content worldwide. We are excited to work with the Telugu entertainment industry's talented creative ecosystem and are convinced that we will embark on an exciting and enriching journey together. We have significantly boosted our investments in this market and stand open to collaborate with the creators in delivering extraordinary entertainment to ZEE5 audiences.”

Highlighting ZEE5’s content strategy, Mr. Punit Misra, President – Content & International Markets, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. said, “In recent years, we have seen a significant transition in the viewing patterns of Indian audiences, who are now sampling and consuming a diverse range of content on OTT platforms. This uptick has been significant in South India, especially Telangana and Andhra Pradesh which are important markets for us. As we continue to chart the next phase of growth for ZEE5, our focus is to continuously innovate on content and deliver compelling and extraordinary stories, driven by consumer and culture centric design thinking . At ZEE, our #SoulToScreen approach is at the heart of this relentless and disruptive pursuit towards presenting premium content to our audiences. Our content slate in Telugu reaffirms our commitment towards exploring new genres and constantly innovating to keep audiences entertained.”

Ms. Anuradha Gudur, Chief Content Officer – Telugu added, “ZEE has a very strong and rich legacy in the Telugu market, with a widespread audience base. Keeping our viewers at the centre of our content strategy, we have time and again delivered authentic and relatable stories through our extensive offerings on television. With shows like Oka Chinna Family Story, we have managed to tap into the innately inclusive Telugu cultural mindset, and we look forward to some of our offerings to tap into the facet further. We aspire to continue entertaining our audiences across platforms, by leveraging our expertise and understanding of viewers that has been garnered over a decade of our presence in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Our mission is to replicate this success on ZEE5, and we are excited to collaborate with some of the most popular creators and prolific talent to narrate 11 new original stories and iconic movies as part of our fresh content slate.”

The soiree saw some of the most noteworthy who’s who of the Telugu entertainment industry including Dil Raju, Harish Shankar, Praveen Sattaru, Sharrath Marar, Kona Venkat, Niharika and Sushmita Konidela, Sushanth, Aadi Sai Kumar, Raj Tharun, amongst others.

Addressing the region’s appetite for quality content regardless of language corridors, ZEE5 also showcased previews of select shows that open the horizon of entertainment to new worlds like the epic Mughal tale Taj featuring Naseeruddin Shah & Aditi Rao Hydari, the world of news and sensation in The Broken News featuring Sonali Bendre and the political milieu of Bihar in the explosive latest season of Rangbaaz. In a bid to appeal to the sensibilities of every Telugu viewer, Zee5 has also acquired movies like Karthikeya-2 and Hanu-Man.

The fascinating lineup follows the recently released thriller 'Gaalivaana,' ZEE5's first Telugu original series, which debuted on the platform around a month ago and engrossed the audiences, receiving a resounding positive response from viewers and critics alike. In addition to that, there is a vast library of content titles available on the platform for our AVOD viewers, including catch-up Telugu shows and movies.

Currently the highest-growing OTT platform in India as per latest industry reports, ZEE5 is known for its diversified content across 100+ taste clusters and its focus on real, relevant, and resonant storytelling. Today, ZEE5 is home to over 5 lakhs+ hours of on-demand content and 160+ live TV channels. With a rich library of over 3500 films, 1750 TV shows, 700 originals, ZEE5 offers content in 12 Indian languages: English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati, and Punjabi. The platform has an exciting line-up for 2022 that will add to its extensive library of content, offering a wider array of catalogue to entertainment seekers.

The two-day thought fest, “What India Thinks Today Global Summit,” to feature an unrivalled policy makers line up covering myriad topics on India’s journey to become a Vishwa-Guru - the leader of the new world!

As many as 14 Cabinet Ministers will deliberate on “What India Thinks Today Global Summit, the two-day Mega Thought Fest, hosted by TV9 Network, the No. 1 news network in India, will be held at the Taj Palace in New Delhi on June 17-18, 2022.

While Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will speak on ‘Securing India: Today and Tomorrow’, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will deliver the keynote address ‘On The Making of New India’.

Other top Union ministers who would deliberate in the event are Nitin Gadkari (Minister of Road Transport and Highways to speak On The Global Highway), Smriti Irani (Minister of Women and Child Development to speak on Yes, We Can), Hardeep Puri (Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Housing Affairs and Urban Affairs to speak on Inclusive India), G Kishan Reddy (Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoNER to speak on Potent Mix of Old and New), Ashwini Vaishnaw (Minister of Railways, Communication & Electronics and Information Technology to speak on The Digi-global Nation) and Piyush Goyal (Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles to speak on Make in India for the World).

Cabinet Ministers who would also speak on the occasion include Dharmendra Pradhan (Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship), Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (Jal Shakti), Pralhad Joshi (Coal and Parliamentary Affairs), Bhupender Yadav – Labour and Employment, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Mahendra Pandey (Heavy Industries), Anurag Thakur (I&B, Youth Affairs and Sports).

Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Conrad K Sangma (Meghalaya) and Basavaraj Bommai (Karnataka) will join the Cabinet Ministers, frontrunners from the corporate world and newsmakers to deliberate on the thought fest.

The summit, with the theme ‘Vishwa Guru – How Near, How Far?’ will be focusing on subjects important for the future of India which is contemplating the path ahead in the changing global order. Indian and international gurus across domains will congregate and chart out the way forward by sharing their vast and unmatchable experience on topics ranging from Politics & Governance, Business & Economy, Socio-Culture & Healthcare, and Sports & Entertainment.

Details of “What India Thinks Today – Global Summit” and list of speakers can be accessed at www. https://www.news9live.com/WhatIndiaThinksToday/

Tuesday, 14 June 2022 00:00

Loneliness in gen Z

Younger generations are expressing a need for deeper engagement and more authentic social interaction, but can they find it online?

Is gen Z suffering from a loneliness epidemic? Business Insider reported a story exploring why gen Z is sometimes considered loneliest generation, and Vice unpacked what it termed a “loneliness epidemic” in young people.

And while they’re spending more time online—which many point to as a cause of loneliness—they’re using that time to cultivate self-expression and forge connections. Razorfish and Vice Media Group released a study in April that examined what impact the metaverse has on social interactions, user identities, and commerce. Findings from “The Metaverse: A View from the Inside” indicate that gen Z not only spends more time online than other generations, but that they also form more meaningful connections to their own online identities. 45% of those questioned for the study reported that their in-game identity is a truer expression of themselves than their physical, in-person identity, and 57% stated that they feel freer to express themselves online than they would in real life.

85% of gen Zers believe technology brings people together, and 70% say technology has deepened their relationships with friends and family, according to 2021 findings by Wunderman Thompson Data for Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.

In response, digital platforms are focusing on fostering authentic connections and making new friends in non-traditional formats. Younger users are looking for more authentic connections on apps like BeReal, where they can connect with other users based on real, unedited daily updates. IMVU, self-proclaimed the largest avatar-based social network in the world, was created as a dedicated “3D avatar-based friendship discovery and social platform.”

Justin Hochberg, CEO of Virtual Brand Group, tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence that the “value of the metaverse is to experience something and make friends. The metaverse empowers people to be able to build their own part of this world.”

Some brands are creating spaces dedicated to younger users, like the kid-friendly Nikeland Airtopia that launched in March of this year, or the upcoming metaverse for kids by Lego and Epic Games announced in April. One app is meeting lonely gen Z users where they are to dispel taboo wellness tropes online. Launched in April, Woo is redefining wellness for anxious gen Zers, making it both relatable and relevant to young adults. In a previous interview, Hochberg emphasizes that brands should focus on “Community over colonization – that’s how you leverage the ecosystem.”

With one of the most digitally engaged groups of users in the metaverse yearning for deeper social connection, brands need to up-level how they interact with consumers on their platforms, and how they foster engagement between communities online.

Making a television debut, the iconic gang of little blue Smurf Village inhabitants has made its way to India.

In some Smurf-tacular news, the much-loved Smurfs, one of the most popular characters, are expanding their adventures and now will have a village in Sonic, part of India’s leading kids’ entertainment franchise Nickelodeon, starting from 13th June,2022, Monday to Sunday at 11:30am .

Rising through the ranks, Sonic, since inception has engaged and entertained kids with stories that brings happiness to their lives. Sonic has always introduced young viewers to storylines and characters that are engaging and relatable. By bringing ‘Smurfs’ to Indian television after 40 years, Sonic aims to cater to the audience with content that continues to raise the bar. The show will feature popular Smurf characters, including Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Hefty, Clumsy, and others, embarking on new adventures full of humour, heart, and high-stake action. The new addition comes in the form of Willow, who leads a tribe of girl Smurfs. The smurftacular show will have a stellar voice cast spearheaded by David Freeman as Papa Smurf, the father figure keeping the other Smurfs in order, Berangere McNeese as Smurfette, a curious Smurf who is eager for new adventures, Youssef El Kaoukibi as Brainy, the one who considers himself the smartest of the bunch, Catherine Hershey as Willow, the brave and wise matriarch of a new tribe of girl Smurfs, and finally Lenny Mark Irons as Gargamel, a conniving human wizard with a bottomless thirst to capture the Smurfs.

Speaking about bringing Smurfs to India, Anu Sikka – Head Creative, Content & Research, Kids TV Network, Viacom18 “Sonic since it’s inception, has successfully grown to become an entertainment hub with engaging stories, endearing characters and a solid kids’ connect. We have consistently catered to our young viewers’ evolving preferences with innovative entertainment and immersive storytelling. Bringing internationally acclaimed ‘Smurfs’ will further bring variety and scale to Sonic’s growing content library. With this launch, we hope to further add depth to our programming strategy and fulfil our mission of entertaining kids.”

Pulling out all stops for the launch of ‘Smurfs’ is a robust multi-screen and multi-touchpoint marketing plan that is sure to engage young audiences. The highly innovative promotional plan will leave no stone unturned in reaching out to kids. A fun filled robust digital plan will include initiatives such as fun mashups and reels, contests leading up to Global Smurfs day, innovative posts, AR filters and gaming to transport the kids into the ‘Smurf’ world. Ensuring maximum excitement, Global Smurfs Day will be celebrated on 25th and 26th June through on ground activations in malls. Visitors will also get a chance to participate in fun games. Taking the overall marketing initiative, a step forward, Sonic has also partnered with select renowned QSR brands. With influencers on board, a new AR filter for Smurfs will be created to further establish the characters.

Created by Belgian comic book writer Pierre Culliford, also known as Peyo, in 1958, The Smurfs reside in a community of small, blue, human-like characters who live in mushroom-shaped houses in a forest.

Get ready for a smurftacular journey starting 13th June, Monday to Friday at 11:30 am only on Sonic.

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