17 May 2022 22:56

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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Carlton D’Silva, Paresh Chaudhry, Praveen Someshwar, Rajat Ojha, Rekha Nigam, join this year’s ABBYs jury chair and complete the panel

The ABBYs Award Governing Council has assembled a power packed Jury Chair, rounding it out with five more renowned industry veterans.

Carlton D’Silva - Co-Founder House of Awe and Musemakers Marketing Services.

After a long stint at Hungama, Carlton now oversees the development of Film Marketing in House of Awe and Brand Marketing in Musemakers. Awards won include Cannes Lions, The Abbys, Kyoorius, Olive Crown Awards, New York Ad Festival.

Paresh Chaudhry - Group Executive director, Value 360

Paresh heads Value 360, India's fastest growing and the most awarded PR agency. He was formerly Group President & Chief Brand Custodian at RIL. Paresh has judged at the Cannes Lions and Abbys, ET Brand Equity and Sabre Asia. Paresh is the founder President of the Indian Forum of Corporate Communicators (IFCC)

Praveen Someshwar - MD & CEO – HT Media Group

Praveen Someshwar is busy transforming HT into a new-age media group, with digital initiatives and innovation being the driving forces. Under his leadership, HT Media Group is well on course to become a digital first organization, creating multiple agile business units focusing on new niche domains. Praveen was earlier with Pepsico heading their North and South East Asia businesses.

Rajat Ojha - CEO, Gamitronics

A passionate techie, Rajat Ojha has worked at Hungama and currently heads Gamitronics. Awards won include Indie Innovation Award, Casual Connect, Hamburg, Game of the year for Kung Fu Dhamaka Google Maiden Canvas Showcase SFVR Game of The Year.

Rekha Nigam - Director, Sutradhar Media & Communications

Rekha has headed language dept in several agencies. She won the Ad Club Campaign of the year for Salaam Bombay and New York Ad festival Gold for Ruf n Tuf jeans. She was Programming Head of Sony Entertainment Television, screenplay and dialogue writer for major Hindi films like Parineeta and Laaga Chunari Mein Daag.

BBC Young Reporter India (BBC YRI) has reached over eight thousand students in one hundred and sixty schools, including sixteen government schools across twenty-seven states in India.

BBC YRI is a media education programme aimed to provide media literacy skills to young people aged thirteen and above. It was launched in India by BBC News in partnership with Internews and in collaboration with DataLeads in the last quarter of year 2021.

Following the success of the programme, young people have learned about critical thinking, fact-checking and digital safety provided through virtual workshops during the height of the pandemic when harmful and misleading information about vaccinations, and fake Covid-19 cures were in wide circulation.

The programme would like to invite more educators to make use of the powerful workshops, exercises, videos, and tutorial notes that can be used freely to benefit the next generation of news consumers across India. More details here, https://www.bbc.com/beyondfakenews/young-reporter-india/.

The journey so far:

• 180+ teachers benefitted
• 250+ hours of media training conducted remotely
• Comprehensive training material developed
• BBC YRI newsletter reached 100+ schools
• 51 trainers selected and trained, including 24 media educators, 13 teachers, 3 journalists and 11 others.

The programme adapted components of the already successful BBC Young Reporter programme in the UK, emphasising that students should pause and think before sharing emotional and unverified content with family and friends. You can see how the workshops were developed and delivered in this video. https://www.bbc.com/beyondfakenews/what-is-fake-news/

The trainers demonstrated many of the techniques used by journalists to evaluate information. The students were encouraged to use the BBC’s “REAL checks” tools and to ask simple questions used by journalists’ questions, like Who? How? When? Why? Where?”. They also shared tools for checking and verifying content. The interactive activities and analytical tools can be used beyond the classroom, encouraging curiosity, and building student confidence in their ability to spot misleading content.

The workshops use local, up to date examples, and encourage participants to build local communities of critical thinkers. Post workshops the students came up with variety of content to share with their schoolmates, and families beyond the classroom, which was showcased in BBC YRI newsletters.

BBC Reality Check’s India Reporter, Shruti Menon, helped develop and deliver the programme. She says the spread of harmful fake news is a huge problem in India, “In my role as a journalist, besides reporting on stories, it is important to share my insights, knowledge and experiences of using tools and techniques in fact checking - to help our young audiences not to be fooled by the deluge of misinformation around us.”

BBC YRI programme has demonstrated that there is both a hunger and need for this training in India. Shruti will continue to support the project by training her BBC colleagues to deliver workshops in schools.

Rupa Jha, Head of India, BBC News emphasised the importance of focusing on young people – our future audiences, “We think it’s important that we not only cover and bust fake news, but it is also important to educate the next generation. They are going to face the menace of this demon.”

The BBC, Internews and DataLEADS believe that the future of trusted media is dependent on audiences who understand how to evaluate and value truthful, independent news. As Tim Davie, the BBC’s Director General said, from Delhi to the recent Trust in News Conference in March 2022, “We know that encouraging audiences to think critically about the information they consume is essential to the future of trusted news.”

The workshops received a very positive response from schools, teachers, and students. See below for more information.

QUOTES FROM PARTICIPANTS

Feedback from students

It was very informative…..it is very important to make aware of what is real and fake news. We wish that such type of workshop should reach many more students and get benefitted in future.”

“This webinar has been very helpful and very informative. It made me more conscious about fake news and all. We should have such types of webinars in the future.”

“It was a very informative and productive webinar which helped us to differentiate between fake and real news.”

It helped me to step into the shoes of a reporter, it helped me practice critical thinking, and confidently choose information and reject online misinformation. We should think twice before sharing any information or news or forming an opinion based on online information. Fortunately, there is a lot we can do to avoid this.”

Feedback from teachers and principles

• “The workshop was very fruitful and it really educated the participants about the importance of factual news and how to effectively prevent fake news on social media platforms. Overall the workshop was very engaging and provided a first hand opportunity to young minds to learn the nuances of news making in digital world.” Deepti Kandhari, Delhi Public School, Jammu & Kashmir

• “The topic that you have discussed is pertinent in today's environment, where fake information and misinformation is creating social havoc. Your effort in enabling the students to deal with this social menace by accepting credible information through real check, will help them and the community at large. In fact many students were so moved by your brilliant programme that some of them even planned to become future journalists.” Srabani Dasgupta, Pramila Memorial Institute, West Bengal

• “With about 40% of school children being on various social media platforms it becomes imperative that they are equipped with skills to discern fake news. In these workshops, the students were made aware of their role in tackling this challenge as combating fake news and other such concerns, that is our collective responsibility.” Ruchi Sharma, Vivek High School, Punjab 

Student / Teen Media Literacy Champion Network

Students used multiple ways to share their experience (such as skits, assembly speeches, short videos, posters, cartoons, slogans, poems, letters, and jingles) and educate the world outside about fact-checking and debunking misinformation. As well as sharing activities via the programme workshops.

Monday, 02 May 2022 00:00

A Rendezvous with Piyush Pandey

As a part of its Rendezvous series, The Chambers, India's very first exclusive business club, presented a Rendezvous – Open House with Piyush Pandey in association with HSBC and Penguin Random House India.

The evening witnessed Piyush Pandey in a candid conversation with Shereen Bhan, Managing Editor – CNBCTV18. The advertising wizard took the audience on a journey into his work, thoughts and experiences, at a truly memorable evening at The Chambers, Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi.

The evening was the perfect mix of grace and warm hospitality at Taj Mahal, New Delhi with classic elegance in a contemporary setting in the Capital’s landmark location with stunning views of the city’s skyline. The enlivening conversation with the advertising legend, Piyush Pandey was insightful and memorable. To celebrate the launch of the book, the event was graced by Rama Pandey, Tripti Pandey, Seema Goyal, Kiran Manral, Amrit Mathur, to name a few.

Piyush Pandey is chairman of Global Creative and executive chairman of Ogilvy India. In Open House, Piyush Pandey bares it all and he takes the readers on a journey into his mind – his work, thoughts and experiences. He answers questions posed to him by people over the decades. Serious questions, incisive questions and frivolous questions. Honest, irreverent and informative, this is a roller-coaster ride with Piyush Pandey and Anant Rangaswami, who has skilfully curated the book. With its practical wisdom and deep insights, Open House will both entertain and enlighten readers.

Rendezvous - a collection of curated events based on three pillars – Epicurean, Engage and Entertain – providing a collection of experiences from culinary delights and drinks, moderated panel discussions and performances by the best in Art & Culture, Music and Stand-Up Comedy.

Olam Group has appointed Maya Hari as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of its climate-tech venture Terrascope .

Headquartered in Singapore, Terrascope empowers companies to accurately and efficiently manage and reduce their carbon emissions through its smart carbon management platform. Maya reports to Suresh Sundararajan, CEO of Olam Ventures.

Maya joined Terrascope from Twitter Inc. where she served as Vice President of Global Strategy and Operations, and as Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific (APAC). She brings to Terrascope 20 years of experience managing teams and leading international businesses with a robust track record in leading high growth mobile, data and commerce businesses.

“I’m thrilled to be joining one of the most promising climate-tech ventures today. Terrascope addresses a very real problem many companies face in their climate action strategies. While a growing number are commendably committing to net zero, most are unable to make a real impact because they underestimate the challenges in measuring, managing and reporting their data along the way. Terrascope simplifies that journey for them,” said Maya.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions has increasingly become an imperative for enterprises as they rethink how they run their business while being planet inclusive. The first step in this journey is measuring carbon emissions accurately. According to a Boston Consulting Group survey “Use AI to Measure Emissions - Exhaustively, Accurately, and Frequently”1, while 85% of organisations are concerned about reducing their GHG emissions, only 9% of organisations are able to measure their emissions comprehensively.

Terrascope addresses two key challenges companies face in their decarbonisation journey, namely the speed and accuracy of data collected; and capturing Scope 3 emissions, which is the indirect emissions across the value chain typically constituting the bulk of a company’s carbon footprint. Terrascope’s data science and machine-learning platform enables companies to do both while giving Management the ability to track progress through centralised dashboards to better chart their decarbonisation journey.

“We are seeing strong demand for Terrascope’s solutions and are delighted to welcome a strong and experienced leader like Maya to lead the business and to steer it to the next phase of growth. With Maya at the helm, I am confident Terrascope will grow from strength to strength and help more companies achieve their net-zero ambitions,” said Suresh.

Earlier this year, the company appointed Mathavan Arugalaimuthu as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Terrascope. Mathavan has more than two decades of experience in the Technology space and has previously held leadership roles at Yara International, GE and Autodesk.

The Terrascope platform powers Olam's emissions measurement demonstrating clear improvements in accuracy and measurement cycles. The platform has subsequently completed multiple pilots across the Food and Beverage sector in the UK and Asia. The company is currently engaged in additional client engagements across different industry sectors.

Moderator: Karan Johar

Guests:

Jennifer Salke, Head – Amazon Studios
Kelly Day, VP International, Amazon Prime Video
James Farrell – Head of Local Originals, Amazon Studios
Gaurav Gandhi, Country Head, Amazon Prime Video India
Aparna Purohit, Head India Originals, Amazon Prime Video India

Q1. So, Jennifer, Kelly, and James, welcome back to India. Firstly, how does it feel?

Jennifer: It is wonderful to be back in India. We had visited the country in 2018, with plans to come to India 2-3 times a year. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to do so. It is great to be back with you all.

Q2. Jennifer, Gaurav talked about Prime Video’s five-year journey and the many milestones you have had. Now from what we've seen in India, and what you have done globally so far, what sets Amazon Studios apart?

Response:

Jennifer: When we started out, a really important and central philosophy for us was to be the home for talent, one that you can see and feel across the globe. All the incredible shows, all the scenes and all the shows one is going to hear about and the foundation, content on the service, none of it happens without incredible talent and artists who have big imaginations and can execute at the highest level. So being home for talent for us means having the best teams on the ground. In India, we have the very best in Aparna Purohit, who has been able to cultivate that home for talent within regions, to have talent want to be part of the Amazon Prime family and make incredible shows for people to not only enjoy all over India, but all over the world. So, I believe we stand apart in that way and I think it affects our culture, about who we feel like as colleagues and human beings. Amazon is a giant company that feels very small, in so many ways, which I think makes it very special.

Q3. James, I have always been curious about how great storytelling can transcend borders. Tell us is Indian content finding audiences outside Indian shores? Is that truly happening as we speak?

Response:

James: Yes, absolutely. One in five of our customers are watching Indian content and doing so outside of India. For instance, I watched Amazon Original Movie Shershaah in the US, and so did a lot of people I know.

What we need to understand here is why is that happening? Why is it traveling so well? I believe there are so many new people around the world and I think it's because they're pretty entertaining. We're getting all this great content from the US and other countries, devices, a lot of good stuff, but what's missing? what stories aren't being told? What can we do that customers are going to love and might be surprised in new ways and kind of what you would see in these last five years

you're seeing like amazing, innovative stuff, and we're going to see more of what's coming up this year now.

So that's one thing. To put it in differently, let’s talk about a title like it is actually one mic stand. It's a great comedy show here and some of our team in Germany watched that show and they believed that the show would be appreciated by audiences in Germany, and so they are making it in Germany and would be launched in a few months. We have a show in Italy bringing a show on Australian real estate. So not only are shows traveling but ideas are starting to travel the world. It is, therefore, a super exciting time for our shows to start going around the world.

Q4. Aparna, we have seen an incredible width and breadth of genres of all the series you've curated and created. Tell us more about how you personally commission content?

Response:

Aparna: I truly believe that India is a land of storytellers. We have stories in every nook and cranny and this is such an incredible time. It's almost like revitalization, a renaissance of Indian entertainment. And amidst this multitude of stories, to find that one story that can connect and resonate with the audience not just here, but across the world, that's a challenge. We just want to create a home for talent, a community, a safe space where creators feel supported, where they feel that you're willing to invest in them. For us at Prime Video everything begins with a great story. The question that we ask ourselves constantly is why this story? What is so compelling about this story? What is keeping the creators up at night about this story? Is it truly rooted and entrenched in our soil? And I think that's the starting point. We want to, bring to life the vision of our creators, enable them and empower them.

Finally, I would like to say that my team and I, we call ourselves the story chasers. We will go across the length and breadth of a country to find a good story, and really develop them. I also feel that we do not ever dictate. We never let the creator's vision get diluted. So, we believe in casting for the characters. We have been a platform so many new, talented, emerging independent voices. Almost 50% of our releases have new talent and 70% of our upcoming slate has been talent. We believe we are enablers, the storytelling chasers.

Q5. Kelly, in your role of overseeing Prime Video International, it seems you are all incredibly bullish about India. All streaming services say India is an important geography. Now, I'm curious to know where is placed in your mind with your universe?

Response:

Kelly: I believe that the future of global streaming services is really about global expansion and moving much more ambitiously to serving customers in our international markets all over the world. In this regard, India is really leading the way for us. It is one of our fastest growing markets. It represents some of our most engaged consumers. I believe that the success here begins with having such a phenomenal Indian team who have the ability to get into the mind of the local consumer. We try to create an entertainment service that meets the needs of the Indian customer, first and foremost. You have seen some of the incredible announcements of all the things that we are doing, the investments that we are making as well as the new launches and our foray into movie rentals. I think one of the things that is really interesting is that India is truly an innovation hub for us. A great example of that is our Prime Video Mobile Edition (PVME) service. India is the first market where we rolled out a mobile only service for our customers here. PVME has done quite well in the country and we are using that as a launch pad to roll out the mobile edition product in a variety of countries all over the world. Therefore, I really see the opportunity here in India, to continue to innovate, to continue to serve customers, and to continue to learn how we can build on that and expand Prime Video all over the world.

Q6. Jennifer, diversity, equity and inclusion are part of Amazon Studio’s core values. How does this focus translate into action, in the way you are building the slate?

Response:

Jennifer: Well, our hunt for talent is defined by being diverse, and it's supportive of women and voices all over the world. Our leaders, Aparna Purohit, James Farrell, Gaurav Gandhi, Kelly Day, and our whole team, we are always mindful of this, it is part of what we do. It is not about checking boxes. It's really about making sure that we are thinking about our customers globally. And locally, our customers are incredibly diverse. They're incredibly diverse across India. And to do so, how do we reach the talent that can speak to those audiences, as they do not come in a one size checkbox for you to order. They are artists with voices and stories, stories that Aparna and her team are constantly chasing and nurturing as those same stories move on through the pipeline. They are finding those stories and finding the voices, women, and new voices. In fact, almost half of our upcoming content announced today comes from female producers and executive producers and almost 30% of the directors of those projects are all women, which we are incredibly proud of. It is a fire force of passionate women who are out there following Aparna’s lead and chasing stories all over the world. So, it really starts at the top. It's how we live, it's our culture, and it's incredibly meaningful to us and always has been for me personally.

Aparna: I just like to add, I completely echo with everything that Jennifer has said and look at the stage, isn't it absolutely amazing, equal representation. I really believe that and I feel actually really fortunate to be in a company that does not just encourage but value the contribution of women and other diverse groups. And I sincerely believe that diversity, equity and inclusion is not just required, it is essential, it's par for the course really. In fact, I just wanted to share that in March this year, we launched this interesting initiative called Maitri: the Female First Collective, a safe space for women in media, to come together to talk about the challenges, to share their successes, and just hold each other's hand and to unlock the challenges that the new ones are facing and keep the doors open.

Jennifer: Also, I would like to add that many of the producers we have are very prolific producers on our slate and our current slate and the new slate. They are also developing female powerhouses underneath them who have gone on to become executive producers of our shows.

Q7. Kelly, in India, like the rest of the world, entertainment is a highly competitive market, with lots of content available across many, many different services. What would you say makes Prime Video stand out?

Response:

Kelly: I think that the thing that really attracted me to come to Prime Video and take this role is that we have such an incredible opportunity to deliver a really scale, but at the same time, unique and very local experience for our customers all over the world. Here in India, it's really a multi-pronged strategy. First, we're programming in over 10 languages. It has to be a truly locally relevant experience, to make sure that we are really meeting the needs of our customer. Our Indian originals are doing incredibly well with a whole new slate of them being announced today. So, our content is really resonating with our consumers. We have redefined movies. We're doing direct to streaming here in the country in addition to all the licensed titles that we bring in from around the world. I mentioned earlier about the mobile edition product so we are continuing to innovate for a mobile-first consumer, investing in it to make it very easy for people to access Prime Video on whatever device they want. Finally, our live sports offering – that I believe we are uniquely positioned to be able to bring to our customers, in addition to all the great local content, local content that we are producing. Cricket is obviously incredibly well loved here in India and we are excited to be able to deliver cricket to our customers here too. So, we are just at the beginning. Over the next five years, our plan in India is to double the investment that we just made. We consider India to be one of our most strategic markets and we are going to continue investing in a truly differentiated service here.

Q8: Gaurav, you briefed us in your address earlier, on Prime Video’s entry into original movies. Now you made some big movies by launching over 50 movies, you made a big boost by launching over 50 movies directly on the service over the last three years. You also have co-production with Ram Setu, which releases on Diwali, how are you thinking about programming movies?

Response:

Gaurav Gandhi: When we started, we realized that, we all as Indians love movies. They love everything our creators created and one of the challenges we had was the fact that we are an underscreened country. Only 9000 screens are available for 2000 movies that are made every year across languages. We saw the opportunity to fill this whitespace and get more customers to see movies in the early window of a release by entering into licensing agreements with partners such as production houses, amongst others from the film industry. During the pandemic, we were able to expand on this opportunity when movie theaters were shut and we had movies awaiting their theatrical releases. This was the time we entered into further collaborations with filmmakers, etc. and released 58 shows in less than 20 months, across six languages. The customer reach for these movies was phenomenal not only across India, but also across the world. We realized the fact that we can play a very important role in getting the films to the customers. We are taking one step forward there with original films now which we are announcing today, and of course, expanding on co-productions such as Ram Setu, amongst others. With our launch of our movie rental service, I believe it is one more way for customers to consume content besides joining Prime so I think this way we are fueling the creative economy, by playing a role so that everybody can make more movies and content for our customers.

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