29 February 2020 01:52

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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In our New Media working group, we often discuss high level themes around how New Media channels will affect the marketing world, which opportunities are created and I feel privileged to be able to do a lot of future-gazing with very senior members of our industry. We define New Media as new, emerging channels and technologies available to consumers and our working group’s focus is on bringing the hype down to reality.

So, given the opportunity to suggest a discussion topic for the working group, I wanted to focus on one of the most hyped up social media platforms that has been making waves: TikTok. By discussing whether TikTok is simply another social media fad or whether it has staying power, the goal was to identify what aspects give social media platforms true staying power.


Put simply, TikTok is a short-form video platform for user-generated content. It’s users record themselves lip syncing to videos or recording their own. Browsing the platform, users are recommended videos based on their location and on interest topics, organised under hashtags.

It’s regional user-base is quite significant: in Southeast Asia, 190 Million users were on the platform in 2018 according to data from Sensor Tower. The platform attracts a very young audience, with 41% of its user-base in the 16-24 years age bracket.

So, with wide reach, light-hearted content and high user engagement from Gen Z, this would seem like a platform ripe for investment from brands. And there are guides available for brands and marketers on how to leverage the platform for advertising.


Adoption by a young userbase can also lead to negative associations and unfortunately in TikTok’s case, it has in the past led to attracting the wrong type of attention. There are serious concerns and questions around how ‘safe’ it is as a platform as young children are able to broadcast video of themselves publicly, which has attracted pedophiles to the platform.

After all, how are children expected to understand the implications of posting videos online – videos that may never be able to be erased in future?


So with those points in mind, we discussed how likely it is for TikTok to become part of the daily media mix of consumers in our region. The overwhelming feeling of the group was that TikTok has too many question marks around brand safety and image for most mainstream brands to feel comfortable using it as a marketing platform.

On its own, it mostly represents a platform for low-brow, banal humour, which is very specific to a younger generation. The App’s developers currently seem to be focused mostly on scaling the product and growing their user-base, rather than developing social utility or other positive use cases for it.

What, then, makes for a successful app that people want to keep around? Our working group identified three key areas where TikTok falls short that have spurred on the success of other platforms:

The reliability and consistency of content, especially where user-generated content is involved. Brands need to be able to identify and understand what content is being posted on the platform to be able to make informed decisions on whether it is suitable to their brand.

There needs to be a genuine social utility beyond the core offering of the platform; the market for entertainment is already quite saturated, and TikTok has to compete with far larger platforms like YouTube – where TikTok video compilations are also often uploaded.

Apps and platforms need to have a certain sense of community and momentum. Users need to feel like they have to install an app or create an account because all of their peers are on it.

It should be noted, as a closing thought, that these are the combined opinions of experts in our industry, but with the youngest participants being well in their late 20’s. Perhaps platforms like TikTok might rewrite the rules, as it’s consistent growth shows no signs of slowing.


This article was written by IAB SEA+India New Media Working Group.

Saturday, 22 February 2020 00:00

The Age of the Creators

Since early 2019, MIDiA has been publishing findings that we are moving progressively into a market dynamic in which creators are being empowered by technology to have greater direct control of their output, from conception to completion to monetisation.

The data primarily focuses on the music industry, with the market share of independent artists progressively growing at the expense of labels. Further, label service deals are overtaking full signings as artists grow to have more reasonable expectations of success and have greater access to tools which enable their craft to be accomplished entirely from home, within their independent means. This has removed the need for label advances, equipment and mass marketing budgets, forcing the major labels to adapt their strategies to the new normal of streaming and ushering in – as MIDiA’s MD Mark Mulligan has called it – the ‘Age of the Artist’.

However, the implications of this trend stretch beyond the isolated vertical of the music industry – and tie into a wider entertainment market shift towards empowered creators, particularly in gaming and video. If the 1990’s was the age of analogue, the 2000’s was the age of piracy, and the 2010’s became the age of streaming – which media companies are still grappling with, as in the D2C Big Bang moment continuing with the outset of tech major streaming services all competitively hitting the market this year – then the 2020’s will be the age of the creator.

Streaming-enabled global niches have altered the content production strategies of platforms. Hugely successful examples of this have been Netflix’s The Witcher and Stranger Things, neither of which would have been produced in the linear era and both of which were tailor-made for niche audiences. Moreover, because of these niches, the show makers were enabled to stay true to the story bases of their respective franchises rather than ameliorating the production to appeal to the traditional four-quadrant market segments of the linear era.

Similarly, games franchises are seeing a rocketing of consumer engagement and have grown off of niche fandom bases from the get-go rather than traditional mainstream appeal. EA games, for instance, has by itself low consumer recognition and sentiment but is the owner of highly-engaged titles such as Apex Legends and FIFA. The trend is, however, more pervasive, with gamers engaging across streams on platforms such as Twitch, and games creators typically building and developing the titles themselves and growing followings before being acquired by larger corporations which then commercialise and develop them further.

From showrunners now being able to get the greenlight from Netflix to instant on-platform publication, to games creators shooting from small basement productions to being published alongside mega-hit titles upon acquisition, to music artists being able to self-publish and market themselves to modest sustainability – the rise of the global niche as a target audience has enabled the empowerment of creators to stay true to their creative visions in a way never before possible, while reaching those who truly value their propositions at a global scale and attaining viable levels of profitability. Move over, content publishers – we are entering the Age of the Creators.


At a recent event in London, the show’s creative team discussed the recent sexual assault storyline and the importance of intimacy coordinators.

When it debuted in 2019, Netflix original Sex Education was immediately lauded for its open and honest discussions about sex. The second season, which premiered worldwide on Jan. 17, continued to push the envelope, when one of the storylines centered around sexual assault.

That storyline was one of the focal points of a powerful discussion held at the Covent Garden Hotel in London last month. Moderated by journalist and sex educator Alix Fox, the panel included series creator Laurie Nunn, star Emma Mackey who plays Maeve, and intimacy coordinator Kat Hardman.

“It certainly felt like we were doing something important,” Mackey said. “It's really important for young women, for just people to see that there is a system in place to help people who have experienced something similar.”

In the series, Mackey’s Maeve served as an important support system for Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood) after she was sexually assaulted on a crowded bus in broad daylight. The event opened with screenings of a video roundtable about the sexual assault scene, and a reading of a poem by Erin May Kelly intended to give everyone the courage to “step onto the bus.”

Nunn, who based the storyline on a similar personal experience, said the response to the storyline has been “overwhelmingly positive” since the new episodes premiered.

“You can put it on a platform like Netflix and you can show people that that kind of thing is sexual assault,” she said. “It's not hierarchy. We're not saying that one is worse than the other but I think it's about getting empowered. I hope so. I think that's a really good aim to have the storyline, and the show, to empower people to talk about it and to be comfortable.”

That was evident at the screening, where more than 60 people were in attendance. That included students from the National Film and Television School, Nunn’s alma mater, as well as representatives from several well-known charities in the U.K. including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC); Rape Crisis England & Wales, aimed at raising awareness of sexual violence; Brook, which offers clinical sexual health services and education for young people; and The Prince’s Trust, which helps help vulnerable young people get their lives on track.

Fox praised the series, and Aimee’s storyline specifically, for broadening what is defined as sexual assault beyond violent and invasive acts. “I could really relate to that. And I think a lot of other people would,” she said. “Sex Education has done a fantastic job of opening up that discussion which is a vital one that we need to have.”

The panel expanded beyond the assault storyline and also explored the more positive conversations that the series has sparked about female sexuality and sex. “I feel like even with my own mum, I've started having a lot more open conversations than I did in the past because I think (the show) just makes you go, ‘Oh, it's not so scary.’” Mackey said.

Those candid conversations aren’t just reserved for friends and family. Hardman praised the show’s creative team for having intimacy coordinators on set to help facilitate similar dialogues between actors and the production team -- something Sex Education has done from its inception.

“This is something that is very important for a show that’s about sex, that's about the joys and the complexities of sex, that actually our actors feel safe,” Hardman said.

Those in attendance also praised the event itself for offering a comfortable entrance into several normally tough topics. Dr. Lisa Thornhill, a child abuse sex expert with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, called it an “excellent opportunity to explore sensitive issues in an accessible way.”

Saurabh Chaudhary wins ‘Sportsperson of the Year Award 2019 (Male)’

- Both Sindhu and Saurabh win two awards each with Sindhu’s World badminton Championship winning ‘Moment of the year Award 2019’ and Chaudhary’s partnership with Manu Bhaker in Shooting winning the duo ‘Team of the Year Award 2019’

- Inaugural ‘Courage Award’ conferred to Dutee Chand

- Awards honour the best talents across the sporting spectrum

- Winners across 10 categories were selected by an independent 16-member jury panel including renowned sports personalities and ESPN’s editorial team

ESPN, the one-stop destination for all things sports, today, announced the winners of its Third Annual Multi-Sport Awards 2019, recognizing achievements across various sports disciplines in 2019.

PV Sindhu, who became the first Indian player to win the World Badminton Championship title, bags the 'Sportsperson of the Year – Female Award 2019' to complete a hat trick of such titles since inception. Saurabh Chaudhary, wins the 'Sportsperson of the year – Male Award 2019'. Saurabh won a total of five World Cup gold medals -- two in the men's 10m air pistol and another three in the 10m air pistol mixed team event at the ISSF World Cup 2019. He also won a 10m air pistol bronze medal at the World Cup in Rio.

For all the victories Dutee Chand has won on the track, it's easy to miss her success off it. She fought the world athletics governing body - the IAAF’s discriminatory hypoandrogenism regulations, and earned her right to race again. In 2019, she became the first Indian athlete to come out and talk about being in a relationship with a female friend. A seemingly simple act, speaking out, could have had immense ramifications in the conservative world of Indian sport and society at large was to draw praise from the international sporting community and cast her firmly as the one Indian sporting star choosing to live on her own terms. She was named as the first winner of the ESPN India Courage Award for these very reasons, for being inspirational both on the field and off it. Soon after she came out, Duttee told ESPN, "Sach kehne mein kyun darna? (Why should I be afraid to speak the truth?)".

Koneru Humpy wins the award for the 'Comeback of the Year.' She claimed her first World title in December 2019 by winning the Women's World Rapid Chess Championships in Moscow to cap a remarkable comeback to the sport. The former junior world champion had taken a two-year maternity sabbatical between 2016 and 2018 to look after her newborn daughter.

Wrestler Deepak Punia’s gold in the world junior championship, silver in the world senior championship, and earning a qualification for the Tokyo Olympics made him a natural choice for the coveted ESPN's 'Emerging Sportsperson of the Year Award 2019.’

Pullela Gopichand, Chief National Badminton Coach, claims the 'Coach of the Year' Award, following up from nurturing two Olympic medalists in Saina and Sindhu. Under his tutelage, India was to find its first badminton world champion in August 2019.

PV Sindhu’s World Championship win, the first by an Indian in badminton, has also been selected as the ‘Moment of the Year Award 2019’.

Manu Bhaker-Saurabh Chaudhary grab the 'Team of the Year Award.' The 10m air pistol mixed team combination completed their clean sweep at 2019 World Cups.

30-year-old Manasi Joshi wins 'Differently-abled athlete of the year/Para-athlete of the year Award.' Joshi became world champion after winning the gold medal at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships in 2019.

Balbir Singh (Senior), one of independent India's most celebrated Olympians, has been conferred with ESPN's 'Lifetime Achievement' Award 2019. Singh played a starring role in the national hockey team's triple golds in London 1948, Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956. He also worked with the national team as coach at the 1971 World Cup and as a manager in Kuala Lumpur four years later, when India won their only World Cup title to date.

Commenting on the occasion, Sambit Bal, editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo and ESPN South Asia, said, "This is an exciting time for Indian sport. The headline news of 2019 was PV Sindhu winning the world championship and taking another step to being called India’s greatest ever badminton player but the trend right through the year was the unprecedented and consistent success of India’s shooters, many in their teens or early 20s, who won medals across the world. And there was the bravery of Dutee Chand, to honour whom we created a new award for inspiring beyond the field of play. As we head into an Olympic year, there’s a lot to look forward to."

ESPN Multi-Sport Awards recognized achievements across 10 categories. An independent jury comprising eminent people in the Indian sports fraternity such as Chetan Baboor, Harendra Singh, Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat, Rahul Bose, Nirupama Vaidyanathan, Nisha Millet, Anju Bobby George, Jwala Gutta, Shaji Prabhakaran, Harsha Bhogle along with ESPN.in's senior editors selected the winners.

B4U is in the midst of strong momentum. Along with the launch of new channels in the past year and the business plans in the works for the future, the network will experience new ways of working and few changes in organizational structuring at B4U, to continue this level of growth.

Mr. Sunil Shah will be designated as Group Managing Director, B4U Films with immediate effect, this is a major inflection point for B4U. Sunil has been with the B4U family for the past 10 years and has been instrumental in propelling B4U Films to greater heights of stardom over the years. This is an affirmation of the role currently being handled, the vast experience he carries in this field and encapsulates the additional market facing responsibilities as part of his new role.

Commenting on this new role of Sunil Shah, Ishan Saksena, CEO of B4U says “I wish him and everyone he interacts with, immense success in the B4U journey”

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