MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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· To launch an atypical military based show ‘India’s Citizen Squad’

· The channel has brought onboard ex-military specialists to train India’s Citizen Squad

Discovery Channel, India’s leading destination for factual entertainment, has started the search for citizen heroes who want to change India for the better. Discovery channel has brought onboard ex-military specialists who will shortlist and train 10 citizen heroes, aka change agents of the society. The shortlisted citizen heroes will feature in an atypical military based show ‘India’s Citizen Squad’ to be aired in the month of November 2018.

Guided by ex-military specialists, India’s Citizen Squad, comprising of 10 ordinary citizens, will under-go ultimate endurance boot camp - a series of intense physical and mental challenges pushing the limits of their body and mind. This is not your typical elimination driven reality show, it is a test against self to see if the mind has the will and strength to push the body to complete the challenges. The chosen India’s Citizen Squad will have to accomplish a new dare-devil mission in each episode of the show.

“There are citizens who have the courage, the strength to take a stand for what is right. Those, who don’t want to be another dim face in a silent crowd. We are looking for such heroes. The aim is to train them and make them stronger physically, mentally so that they become the change agents of the society. We need to be the change, to make the change,” said, Zulfia Waris, Vice President - Premium & Digital networks, Discovery Communications India. “This is a golden opportunity for millions of Indians who aspire to emulate military values in everyday life and change India for the better. I am confident that we will get a positive response from across the country.”

Major Vivek Jacob (retd), Para (Special Forces), Indian Army, who will play a key role in training India’s Citizen Squad, said, “Special Forces is about focus, grit, will, intelligence, balance, strength, endurance and a whole lot of heart. The ability to bring all of that together and focus it on one point – your dream. To choose, focus, walk and achieve what most people don’t even dare to dream about. We are going to test you – physically, emotionally and mentally to see if you’ve got what it takes to get through a week of what we do over a life time.”

The steps for participation for the call for entry, starting August 01, are as follows:

1. Log on to www.citizensquad.in

2. Upload a 60 seconds video of 20 sit ups, 20 squats and 20 push ups all in 60 seconds

3. Take a 5 minutes online psychographic test

4. Fill the detailed form and submit the responses

In a crowd of silent faces, are you the one?

India’s Citizen Squad will premiere on Discovery Channel, Discovery World HD and on Veer by Discovery, India’s first dedicated military channel available on YouTube.

 

Times Internet, in association with DMAasia, today released a report titled “The State of Indian Digital Marketing- a CMO Perspective 2017-18.”

The second edition of the comprehensive online study was conducted by surveying a group of over 150 marketers from leading brands across verticals including real estate, pharma, FMCG, auto and retail. The report underscores their learnings for the year gone by and highlights their priorities and predictions for the year to come.

 Key Highlights:

Content marketing displaced social media marketing and emerged as the top strategy for marketers in 2017, as per 57% respondents

Social media marketing saw a 30% decline over the previous year as only 36% of surveyed marketers cited it as a strategy that worked well for them in 2017

Over 42% of the surveyed marketers allocated more than 25% of their total marketing spends on digital marketing in 2017

Securing enough budgets for digital marketing and measuring ROI remained the two of the greatest challenges faced by marketers in 2017 at 32% and 27% respectively

With regard to the frequency of measuring ROI on digital marketing, weekly and monthly measurement remained the most chosen options at 38% each

Almost 30% of the marketers said consolidating their content marketing strategy would be their key focus for 2018, closely followed by measuring ROI at 27%

Commenting on the findings of the report, Gautam Sinha, CEO, Times Internet Limited said, “As we move forward at full throttle toward a more digitally inclined audience, marketers need to have a keen ear to the ground, to identify the trends and evolved mediums that their customers prefer. Our report goes on to capture the finer nuances that have been shaping how this environment is changing. We hope that our intensive research, in collaboration with DMAasia, culminated in this report, helps marketers in India stay ahead of the game and align their strategies and budgets accordingly”

 "We are delighted to launch the second edition of the “The State of Indian Digital Marketing- a CMO Perspective 2017-18”, an exhaustive and in-depth study unveiling insights from over 150 CMOs across 15 verticals. The report, which has been curated in partnership with Times Internet, serves as a guide for marketers to prioritize efficiently to ensure growth and enhance customer experience. As revealed in the report, content marketing has taken centre stage, promising exciting times ahead." said, Vatsal Asher, CEO, DMAasia.

Today we are announcing new tools to help people manage their time on Instagram and Facebook: an activity dashboard, a daily reminder and a new way to limit notifications. We developed these tools based on collaboration and inspiration from leading mental health experts and organizations, academics, our own extensive research and feedback from our community. We want the time people spend on Instagram and Facebook to be intentional, positive and inspiring. Our hope is that these tools give people more control over the time they spend on our platforms and also foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them.

To access the tools, go to the settings page on either app. On Instagram, tap “Your Activity,” and on Facebook, tap “Your Time on Facebook.” At the top, you’ll see a dashboard showing your average time for that app on that device. Tap any bar to see your total time for that day. Below the dashboard, you can set a daily reminder to give yourself an alert when you’ve reached the amount of time you want to spend on that app for that day. You can change or cancel the reminder at any time. You can also tap on “Notification Settings” to quickly access the new “Mute Push Notifications” setting. This will limit your Instagram or Facebook notifications for a period of time when you need to focus.

We have a responsibility to help people understand how much time they spend on our platforms so they can better manage their experience. In December 2017, we shared insights about what the team at Facebook is doing to create experiences that help people connect and build relationships.

Additional Tools

Although we have more work to do, over the past year, we’ve introduced a number of tools to help people better control their experience on Instagram and Facebook. On Facebook, we improved News Feed quality to show people the most relevant posts with features like See First, Hide, Unfollow, and Keyword Snooze. On Instagram, we launched powerful tools to proactively care for the community — like the “You’re All Caught Up” message in Feed, keyword filtering, sensitivity screens, and offensive comment and bullying filters.

We also have an ongoing, global commitment to suicide prevention, including the expansion of proactive detection and improvement of first responder identification. Our approach was developed in collaboration with mental health organizations such as Save.org and with input from people who have had personal experience thinking about or attempting suicide.

Community Outreach

In March, we convened our Facebook Safety Summit, with more than 100 organizations, researchers, experts and teens to talk about a wide range of topics — from issues of safety and technology, to how tech is impacting our well-being. We’ve also partnered with Scholastic and Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to develop and launch “Best Selves” social and emotional learning curriculum designed to give teachers easy to use lessons that help students develop pro-social behaviors; and worked with Stand for Children, Harvard’s Making Caring Common and other experts to develop “kindness” curriculum and launch Kind Schools Challenge, which enrolls middle schools in teaching 30 days of kindness curriculum.

It’s not just about the time people spend on Instagram and Facebook but how they spend that time. It’s our responsibility to talk openly about how time online impacts people — and we take that responsibility seriously. These new tools are an important first step, and we are committed to continuing our work to foster safe, kind and supportive communities for everyone.

These updates are rolling out soon on Instagram and Facebook.

 

Written by Ameet Ranadive, Product Management Director at Instagram and David Ginsberg, Director of Research at Facebook

Last Friday, the International Advertising Association (IAA) of India named Harish Shriyan, CEO of Omnicom Media Group India, their ‘Media Agency Leader of the Year’ at the IAA Leadership Awards 2018 in Mumbai.

The industry body bestowed the prestigious title on Shriyan just six months after he took the helm of Omnicom Media Group India, recognising the success the Group’s agencies – OMD and PHD – have already experienced under his leadership.

“While Harish has had a long tenure in our business, this achievement is a perfect example of why “talent conquers all” is the cornerstone of Omnicom’s beliefs and values,” says Torie Henderson, CEO of Omnicom Media Group SE Asia and India. “Since Harish assumed the role of CEO for India last December, he has guided our agencies’ leadership through a period of great change and led the teams to some great new business wins over the past six months. I am immensely proud of what Harish has achieved in such a short time and am thrilled that such a prestigious award has been bestowed on him.”

Shriyan added: “I am truly honoured to receive this title from an industry body like the IAA. Receiving this recognition from industry veterans is both humbling and rewarding, since they know first-hand the challenges we face, as well as the satisfaction we gain from the work we do. This accolade motivates me to continue working with my peers across the industry on progressing our trade and developing the next wave of talent.”

Fêted as the event where “the tallest leaders in business, marketing, advertising and media gather to celebrate the very best among them,” the annual IAA Leadership Awards bestow accolades across 21 categories. They serve to recognise individuals in the fields of Marketing, Advertising and Media, “who have made enormous professional contributions and delivered business success for their companies.”

Ebix, Inc, a leading international supplier of On-Demand software and E-commerce services to the insurance, financial, healthcare and e-learning industries, today announced that one of its Indian subsidiaries has signed agreements to acquire Mumbai based Mercury Travels and Delhi based Leisure Corp for a cumulative amount of approximately $14.2 million, with the goal of creating a new Travel Division to focus on a niche segment of the travel market.

The new Travel Exchange named Mercury - An EbixCash Luxury initiative, will focus on the luxury, events and sports related traveler and will be led by the Leisure Corp Founder Naveen Kundu. The Mercury Exchange will have the following three tightly integrated components –

Mr. Naveen Kundu will hold 15% shareholding in this new Mercury initiative, while Ebix will have a controlling 85% share in the venture. Mercury’s Forex business will be integrated into EbixCash’s existing CDL Forex exchange business.

The acquisition of Mercury and Leisure Corp will increase the employee strength of Ebix in India by around 400 employees to approximately 7,600 employees. With the creation of this new luxury Mercury Division, Ebix will now have two brands in travel focused on different niche audiences – Via and Mercury.

Ebix believes that the Mercury business initiative can continue to grow at the rate of 20% or more annually with operating margins of 30% or more, once fully integrated. Ebix expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to its earnings and forecasts 9 cents in increased Diluted EPS, once the acquisitions are fully integrated over the next 6 months. Ebix funded the acquisition using its internal cash reserves and did not use any investment bankers for the transaction.

Incorporated in 1948 as an Oberoi Hotel Group Company, Mercury is a popular luxury travel brand with a pan India Network of 40 Preferred Sales Agents (PSAs), 20 Branch offices across 16 major cities in India, 350 employees, and an Extended reach in international markets through marketing offices in London, Hamburg & Frankfurt. Amongst other travel related services like Events based travel and insurance, Mercury also has a Foreign Exchange business serviced through its AD-II license issued by the Reserve Bank of India.

The Company is also seen as a leader in the adventure space, with specialization in organizing adventure safaris, sea water rafting and Himalayan expeditions. The Company also owns an adventure hotel property through its Mercury Himalaya Expo joint venture.

Mercury has multi-year contracts and associations with airlines, bus operators, hotels etc. besides having a client base that includes leading names like the Oberoi Hotels chain and the Mahendra Group. Mercury also has 54 franchisee partnerships for undertaking money-changing activities, with leading hotels like Hyatt, Oberoi, Imperial etc.

Incorporated in 1997, Leisure Corp today is one of India’s leading players in the Events related travel space (MICE) & Luxury Trains and Luxury travel, with a focus on the insurance and financial sector & incoming Luxury travelers. The Company’s core competency is to provide a customized range of services from conceptualization, design, budgeting, planning to execution of large corporate meetings and conferences, involving thousands of attendees. The Company also specializes in creating tailor-made packages for the sports travelers, with exclusive travel agent rights from India for premier world sports events like the recent FIFA Football World Cup in Russia and the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in London. Leisure Corp has exclusive tie up with Luxury Train travel in India with Palace on Wheels, Maharaja’s Express and Golden Chariott. It is poised to become the market leader in Luxury inbound train travel by 2020.

Leisure Corp has an impressive client base spread across the insurance and Finance sector in India, including Companies like ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, Yes Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, Max Life, ICICI Assets Management, GE and Honda etc. The Company has a rich history of partnerships with many renowned hotel chains like Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, W Hotels and the Leading hotels & Resorts of the World.

Ebix intends to consolidate these two acquisitions into its Financial Exchange - EbixCash while bringing significant synergies and redundancies to the combined operation. The acquisition of the Omni-channel Business, would further strengthen Ebix’s position in the Financial Exchange market in India, as travel transactions can be one of the key areas of any leading financial exchange, with an estimated user base of 600 million in India alone.

“I am excited to join the Ebix family and lead EbixCash’s new Mercury initiative. With affluence and an upper middle class continuing to grow in India, it is time to have a travel exchange that can provide high standards of service and luxury like never before to this section of the society.” Naveen Kundu, Founder and Managing Director of Leisure Corp said. “I have spent my career conceptualizing and implementing creative event based travel programs for the corporates, sports enthusiasts and the adventure travelers. We will now try to blend that expertise and niche focus, with our focus on luxury and creating new white labeled travel properties.”

Ebix Chairman, President and CEO Robin Raina said “Mercury has built a reputation for itself in the affluent luxury market place with its levels of service, built around the high standards associated with an effort backed by the Oberoi Hotels chain. Leisure Corp is a leader in the events based travel business space with a clear focus on the financial and insurance industries. We are excited to be able to bring these two leading companies together, with the goal of creating a pioneering luxury travel initiative. Between this Mercury initiative and our existing Via.com travel initiative, EbixCash is now uniquely positioned as an Financial Exchange that has end-to-end travel solutions for all sections of the society.”

Via is recognized as a leader in the travel space in India, besides being the only profitable Travel exchange out of all its peers, while having grown at a CAGR of 45% over the last 3 years. The Via distribution network encompasses over 85,000 agents in India, 14,700 agents in Indonesia, 9,900 agents in Philippines, 600 agents in Singapore and 350 agents in UAE and Oman. Besides being one of the leaders in the space in India, the Company has emerged as the largest travel solutions provider in Philippines also. With a hotel inventory of over 500,000 hotels and one of the largest ticketing platforms expanding across corporates and distribution outlets, Via has a significant share of the domestic & international airline ticketing business. Via has more than 5% share in both domestic & international airline ticketing in India, 10% in Philippines, 2.7% in Indonesia, 2.1% in Singapore.

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