01 February 2023 12:38

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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A thought, a dream or a vision, entrepreneurship is now synonymous with these ambitious words as entrepreneurs set out on the challenging road of growing a business.

Globally, the pandemic recorded a boom in new businesses, with markets like the US recording a 95% increase in the number of applications for starting a new business in July 2020, as opposed to the same period in 2019, as per the Census Bureau. From grocery delivery to hailing a ride to finding a recipe for items in your fridge, these businesses do it all and much more. Naturally, a story that chronicles the struggles of entrepreneurs in today’s age of entrepreneurship boom, struck a chord.

The web series Pitchers, released in 2015, honestly and realistically narrated a tale of three friends on their entrepreneurial journey. It revolves around their global narrative of jumping through the hoops of pitching startup ideas, looking for investors and developing their product. ZEE5 now takes this dream further with the pathbreaking series’ second season after a wait of seven years. But there are a few reasons why fans all over the world are eagerly looking forward to the new journey of Pitchers.

One of Pitchers' biggest feats was addressing real-life entrepreneurship struggles and the challenges most entrepreneurs face throughout the start-up journey. Director Vaibhav Bundhoo presented this through a global lens, earning the series worldwide attention. The second season now takes this journey further with a new story of the co-founder trio and their now 25-member team. The show’s iconic writing style and impeccable acting also added to its relatability factor. It emoted real human emotions and words that helped the series dissolve linguistic and geographical barriers to emerge as a show that unites viewers in its story.

Asia is reckoned as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, owing to the increasing number of unicorns emerging from the region and the unique solutions they offer to cater to various challenges. Millennials, in particular, form a major part of the booming entrepreneurship landscape. Naturally, a series that honestly portrays the journey charmed them and connected with them on multiple levels. This occurred not just in India, where the series originated but also globally. The show’s strong messaging even made the series make it to the IMDb’s coveted top 250 list of TV shows. It remains one of the highest-rated Indian shows, with a star rating of 9.1. Streaming now, witness the new chapter of PRAGATI.AI and its co-founders.

‘Pitchers S2’ streaming now exclusively on ZEE5 Global

Viacom18 to present SA20 in English, Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil

Viacom18 announced their expert panel for the inaugural season of SA20, South Africa’s premier T20 league starting January 10. The panel will be headlined by Suresh Raina, RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha, and Aakash Chopra. Viewers in India can catch the action live on JioCinema, Sports18 – 1 SD & HD, and Colors Tamil in four languages – English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

The Hindi feed on JioCinema will feature cricketer-turned-expert Aakash Chopra, India’s highest wicket-taker of the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 campaign, Singh, former international cricketer Ojha and former England international Owais Shah.

Tamil viewers will be able to enjoy the voices of Tamil Nadu cricketers Abhinav Mukund alongside Anirudha Srikkanth on JioCinema and Colors Tamil. Telugu coverage will be headlined by former India international Venkatapathy Raju, who will be joined by Akshath Reddy, Sandeep Bavanaka and R J Hemanth on JioCinema.

The SA20 English commentary team has reunited the legendary Proteas with AB De Villiers making his debut as a commentator, joined by his former national team teammates Mark Boucher, Ashwell Prince, Shaun Pollock, Herschelle Gibbs, B Chris Morris and Vernon Philander.

The experienced Mark Nicholas will join former England internationals Kevin Pietersen and Darren Gough. In addition, the international line-up will include South Africa’s first lady of cricket Kass Naidoo, Urooj Mumtaz, Pommie Mbangwa, Mike Haysman, and former West Indies T20 World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy.

The SA20 starts on January 10 with Rashid Khan-led MI Cape Town taking on Paarl Royals, headed by David Miller. The match will be live on JioCinema, Sports18 – 1 SD & HD and Colors Tamil from 8:30 PM onwards.


Havas Media Group India, the media expertise arm of Havas Group India, has appointed Sonali Bagal as Director - Marketing & Communications.

Reporting to Mohit Joshi, Chief Executive Officer, Havas Media Group India and Pritha Dasgupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Havas Group India, Sonali will head the marketing and communications function of all the specialised divisions under the wider Havas Media Group India umbrella, including Havas Media, Havas Sports and Entertainment, Havas Content, Havas Market, Havas Programmatic Hub, Analytics among others. She will be based out of Gurgaon.

This appointment comes at a time when Havas Media Group India has established itself as one of India’s most sought-after media agency networks, with a stellar roster of clients across sector and industries, like Tata Motors, Swiggy, Vivo, Dominos, Hyundai, Stashfin, Just Dial, Firefox, Dr Reddy’s, Ola Group, Valvoline, and Coinswitch, to name a few. Havas Media Group India has demonstrated steady growth numbers as evidenced by their consistent performance on R3 New Business League – Media Agency Rankings as a top 3 spot regular for the past 12 months. Furthermore, in the recent RECMA’s Qualitative Benchmark Report, Havas Media Group India has seen upward mobility in its rankings, from being classified as a ‘High’ profile agency in February 2022 to a ‘Dominant’ profile agency in October 2022, consolidating and solidifying its stature as one of the top 5 leading media groups in India.

With over 13 years of experience, Sonali has worked with marquee brands such as General Motors, Deloitte, KPMG, ISB Hyderabad, Pearson India, and Cambridge International Examination. Moving from her 7-year long tenure at Mediabrands India where she was part of the network’s PR and communications function. Sonali brings holistic knowledge and varied skills to her new role. Having worked across various sectors, namely, education, automobile, consulting, and lifestyle, Sonali’s expertise lies in driving marketing strategies for brands by optimising internal as well as external communications. As part of her role, Sonali will leverage her strengths in support of Havas Media Group India’s ethos of making a Meaningful Difference through Meaningful Media.

Talking about the new appointment, Mohit Joshi, CEO, Havas Media Group India, said, “Havas Media Group India has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, and we intend to keep our momentum going with aggressive plans in place to support our Meaningful Media journey. 2022 was a fantastic year for us. The new business growth, our innovative and future-forward media solutions has made us a ‘Dominant’ agency in RECMA. 2023 looks even more promising in terms of our ability to navigate new challenges and seize new opportunities. And having someone with Sonali's track record join us as we take Havas Media Group India to the next level demonstrates how we are evolving to become even more future-ready, ensuring that our marketing strategies and growth plans work in tandem.”

Pritha Dasgupta, CMO, Havas Group India, said, “Havas Group India’s growth journey from 2019 has seen unprecedented momentum across all its constituent agencies and divisions. As the network continues to grow and diversify its portfolio of offerings, we have ensured that the people we bring into the fold share the vision and mission of the network. With her experience and varied knowledge of the advertising world, Sonali is a rising marketing and communications star. In her capable hands, I am sure that the legacy, conversations, and strategies that Havas Media Group India, and by proxy, Havas Group India, is building will become even more pronounced and value-led in the days to come.”

Talking about her new role, Sonali said, “The media landscape is dynamic and ever-changing, and I am thrilled to be joining Havas Media Group's India operations as they make big waves both globally and locally. I'm excited to be working with a network that has such a distinct, innovative, and agile ecosystem and is constantly redefining what a Meaningful Media experience can be. As brands continue to evolve, adapt, and keep up with innovations across various disciplines, I look forward to both growing as a marketing and communications professional and making a positive and meaningful contribution to the network's continued growth potential.”

An experienced and tech-savvy advertising leader with a proven track record of building digital capabilities and driving transformation

Innocean India, part of INNOCEAN Global Network, today announced the appointment of Santosh Kumar as its Chief Operating Officer. With Santosh's extensive experience in helping traditional advertising agencies and brands become digital-first organizations, he brings to the company a wide range of capabilities beyond advertising. He had a unique blend of corporate and start-up experience that not only helped in devising growth strategies and effectively managing businesses at scale but also in executing with precision and innovation

As a seasoned, resourceful, and innovative agency business leader and digital transformation specialist, Santosh has a successful track record of over 18 years of delivering at the intersection of consumer, media, and brands enabled by creativity, data, and technology.

He has a track record of success in large corporates as well as entrepreneurship, having previously founded successful start-ups like Mangodata and Webitude. He was also instrumental in driving the digital transformation of HT media and establishing Zenith Optimedia's digital division. With a wealth of experience working in domestic and international markets, including Singapore, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, he has worked with over 100 top brands such as Indigo Airlines, Pepsi, HT, HP, and Nestle to name a few.

Before joining Innocean India, Santosh Kumar was based in Singapore and ran his own consulting company that helped traditional advertising agencies and brands transform into digital-first organizations by building digital capabilities and centers of excellence to meet current and future needs in South East Asia and India markets.

Commenting on the appointment, Hak-No Yun, Managing Director, Innocean India said, “We are delighted to welcome Santosh at a critical juncture in our operations. Besides bringing a wealth of experience in all aspects of the digital marketing business, Santosh also possesses demonstrated leadership abilities, which are vital assets for a company like Innocean that is rapidly evolving to provide holistic brand and consumer experiences, not just advertising. We are confident Santosh’s in-depth knowledge and experience will prove invaluable as we progress towards becoming one of India’s leading integrated marketing agencies.”

“I am thrilled to join Innocean at this exciting time of transformation and help guide the agency towards becoming a modern, forward-thinking company that delivers comprehensive brand experiences. With digital, data, and creativity at the core of our operations, I will put my best efforts to position Innocean as one of India's top advertising and communication agencies by building world-class digital and integrated marketing capabilities," said Santosh Kumar.


Gautam Adani faces tough questions in no-holds-barred interview with Rajat Sharma

India’s richest industrialist Gautam Adani has, for the first time, replied extensively to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that Modi government has been favouring Adani group in matters relating to bank loans and infrastructure projects.

In a no-holds-barred interview in Rajat Sharma’s iconic show, AAP KI ADALAT, to be telecast at 10 pm tonight on India TV, Adani said: “Rahul Ji is a respected leader (sanmaniya neta). He also wants progress. He may be making remarks out of political emotion, but I do not take these more than ‘political bayaan-baazi’ (political remarks).”

In a light, bantering mood, Adani told Rajat Sharma:By asking about Rahul Ji again and again, you will start a quarrel between me and him, and he may come out with a fresh statement tomorrow. I consider Rahul Ji as a ‘sanmanniya neta’. He has to run his political party. They have their ideological battle, where charges and counter-charges are made. I am an ordinary industrialist (saamanya udyogpati). I am doing my work. He does his politics in his own manner.”

Adani said: “Prior to 2014, people particularly in North India had hardly heard the name of Adani. We hail from Gujarat, where people knew us. During the 2014 elections and after that, Rahul Ji continuously attacked us. As a result, people here came to know who was Adani, and that is why, I am sitting here (in the dock of Aap Ki Adalat).”

Asked about the help we got from Narendra Modi, when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, Gautam Adani replied: “I got three big breaks in my life. First, in 1985 during Rajiv Gandhi’s rule, when Exim policy allowed our company to become a global trading house, second, in 1991, when P.V.Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh opened up the economy, and we entered into public-private partnership mode, and third, during Narendra Modi’s 12-year-long rule in Gujarat….I can say with pride that it was a very good experience. But I want to tell you that you can never get any personal help from Modi Ji. You can speak to him about policies in the national interest, but when a policy is framed, it is for all, not only for Adani group.”

Coming to specifics, Adani replied to allegations about bank loans, projects, seizure of drugs at Mundra airport and farm laws in detail.

On Rahul Gandhi’s allegation that Adani group has got most of the ports, airports and other infra projects, Gautam Adani replied: “ We did not get a single project without bidding. Our Adani group has this philosophy of not touching any project without bidding, whether it is a port, an airport, roads or powerhouse. There is not a single allegation that we ‘managed’ bidding. Even Rahul JI has not levelled any allegation about tampering with bidding process.

On Rahul Gandhi’s allegation that Adani group has got Rs 2 lakh crore bank loans from money deposited by people in banks, Adani replied: “Any infra project requires equity and bank loan which is normally 40:60 in nature. The borrowers are profiled by ratings. Adani group is the only business group in India whose companies have ratings that are equivalent to India’s sovereign rating. Independent rating agencies do complete financial analysis before giving the rating, and on this basis, banks give loans. Our group is so disciplined that in our 25-year-old history, we have not made even a day’s delay in payment. After 2013, we used to take 80 pc loans from Indian banks, and the interest rate then went up to 35 pc. We went to international market with global rating. As you know, global markets do not give loans at the behest of anybody from India. Such allegations (about Modi government asking banks to give loans) are baseless. Such allegations are levelled because of political compulsions, but it is a matter between borrower and lenders. There has been no difficulty on this score…. In the last 7-8 years, our loans rose by 11 pc, while our income rose by 24 per cent. It is because of our profitability that our ratings improved. Today our profitability is more than our borrowings.”

Asked by Rajat Sharma, “if the Adani balloon bursts, many banks may sink”, Gautam Adani replied: “This may be the wish of some critics, but I can tell you that Adani group’s assets are three to four times our borrowings. Nobody’s money is not unsecured.” Rajat Sharma asked: “What if the balloon bursts?”, Adani replied: “So long as India progresses, this balloon will move forward”.

On Rahul Gandhi’s allegation that the Centre is not taking action despite seizure of Rs 20,000 crore drugs at Mundra port in 2021, Rs 5,000 cr worth drugs in May 2022, and Rs 375 crore worth drugs in July, 2022, Adani replied: “The work of port operator is limited to cargo operations. We do not have policing, inspection or arrest powers. This is done by different agencies of government. They are only trying to mislead people. It is not that drugs smuggling took place from our port only. They come in even through airports. All investigations by government agencies after drug seizures at our port are done 360-degree. People are interrogated. Seizure papers are completed only after interrogations. I don’t think Adani group was given any special treatment.”

On Congress party’s slogan, ‘Aam Aadmi behaal, Adani maalamaal’, Gautam Adani replied: “ Look, whatever political narrative one may try to draw, ultimately, tell us, where is the allegation? One is a political statement, and the other is a really genuine allegation. Let the people decide what is the truth.”

On Adani group investing Rs 68,000 crore in Congress-ruled Rajasthan, Gautam Adani replied: “ Investment is our normal programme. I had gone to Rajasthan investors’ summit at the invitation of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Later, even Rahul Ji praised our investment in Rajasthan. I know Rahul’s policies are not anti-development. We want to make maximum investments in every state….Adani group is really happy that today it is working in 22 states, and all these states are not BJP-ruled….I can say with clarity that we do not have any problem with any state government. We are working even in Left-ruled Kerala, in Mamata Didi’s West Bengal, in Naveen Patnaik JI’s Odisha, in Jaganmohan Reddy’s state, even KCR’s state.”

Asked by Rajat Sharma why opposition parties are alleging that Modi is Adani’s ‘chowkidar’, Gautam Adani replied: “ Very few people who have difficulty with Modi JI, or because of ideological jostling, say such things. From my experience, I can only say that most of the people like Modi Ji and Adani’s development model. They do not find any problem.”

Gautam Adani described the repeal of farm laws as “unfortunate”. He said, “In agriculture, our group has a very limited exposure. We had built some warehouses fro Food Corporation of India for storing wheat. We did not buy wheat from those warehouses. We only provided infrastructure. …Genuinely as a citizen, I think the farm laws were good, and they had to be repealed when a political tone was given to them. 40-50 per cent people in India directly or indirectly, depend on agriculture. Today India has the capability to supply food to the entire world. But the major problem is infrastructure, which includes transport by rail, cold storage, lack of warehousing…It is not a question of Adani group’s benefit. “

The world’s third richest person was very much optimistic about India’s future. Adani said: “India is progressing fast. It took 58 years since independence for India to achieve $ 1 trillion economy, it took another 12 years to achieve $2 trillion economy, it took five years to achieve $3 trillion economy today, and India is now in a position where its economy can touch $30 trillion by 2050. Naturally, per capita income will grow and job opportunities will increase. Nobody can stop India in the coming years.”

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