04 April 2020 22:59

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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Since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency in January, we’ve taken steps to help people access accurate information, stay safe, and stay connected.

We're announcing additional updates:

Including more educational resources in Instagram Search

Adding stickers to promote accurate information

Removing COVID-19 accounts from recommendations, unless posted by a credible health organization

Rolling out the donation sticker in more countries and helping people find relevant nonprofits to support

Creating a shared story to help those practicing social distancing connect with others, using a “Stay Home” sticker

Launching a new way to browse Instagram with friends over video chat

Accessing Accurate Information

People who search for information related to the coronavirus or COVID-19 on Instagram will start to see an educational message connecting them to resources from the World Health Organization and local health ministries. We are working quickly to make this available globally over the coming weeks.

We’re also launching new stickers to help people share accurate COVID-19 information in Stories. These new features include reminders to wash your hands, distance yourself from others and more. These will be available in the camera in the coming days.

Over the past few weeks we've added a notice at the top of feed for countries affected by COVID-19. The notice includes reliable resources from expert health organizations. In addition, we’ve been highlighting resources from these organizations when people view related hashtags.

Keeping Our Community Safe

In addition to promoting credible information throughout our app, we’re making several changes to reduce the spread of misinformation.

We’ll remove COVID-19 accounts from account recommendations, and we are working to remove some COVID-19 related content from Explore, unless posted by a credible health organization. We will also start to downrank content in feed and Stories that has been rated false by third-party-fact checkers.

This is in addition to our existing policies on misinformation. If posts are rated false by third-party-fact checkers, we remove them from Explore and hashtag pages. We also remove false claims or conspiracy theories that have been flagged by leading global health organizations and local health authorities as having the potential to cause harm to people who believe them.

To prevent people from exploiting this public health emergency we’ve already put several new policies into effect. We prohibited misleading ads for products that refer to COVID-19 in ways intended to create urgency, guarantee cures or prevent people from contracting it, and we have temporarily banned advertisements and branded content that promote certain medical supplies, including face masks. In addition, we removed the ability to search for COVID-19 related AR effects unless they were developed in partnership with a recognized health organization.

Staying Connected and Supporting Communities

To help people support relief efforts, we’re making our Donation sticker available in additional countries and adding a new COVID-19 section so people can quickly identify relevant nonprofits.

To help people stay connected, we’ve launched media sharing, a new feature that allows you to view Instagram posts together with your friends over video chat. You can start a video chat by tapping the video chat icon in the Direct inbox or in an existing Direct thread, then view saved, liked and suggested photos/videos by tapping the photo icon in the bottom left corner in an ongoing video chat.

Finally, we’ve launched a “Stay Home” sticker. Any accounts you follow who use the sticker will be added to a shared Instagram story, allowing you to see how others are practicing social distancing at this time.

The COVID-19 lockdown may have hit life hard, but it has boosted media consumption patterns worldwide. Television news and smartphones saw an increase in eyeballs as the need to stay updated and connected is today's essential commodity.

Digital news publisher BISBO has stressed on these insights as some of the emerging trends from India's COVID-19 lockdown period. BISBO, from the GoBisbo Broadcasting Network Pvt. Ltd is India's first YouTube channel for animated news explainers and commentary. The organisation also keenly follows and expounds on the latest trends in news and media consumption.

Out of the current total 959 billion minutes of viewing time per week, the highest views went to three genres - news, movies and kids content.

"Right now, the Indian audience covets credible news, even children between 2-14 years of age. There is also a lot more reliance over credible news sources on television and apps, rather than news aggregators", shared Shakir Ebrahim, founder and creator of Bisbo.

He stressed on the recent insights shared by BARC India and Nielsen, a media research organisation, in their report 'COVID-19 Impact: What's Happening In the TV and Smartphone Landscape'. This report lists changes in television and smartphone behaviour over the last month, against our media habits in January 2020.

What we watch and why

We're watching a lot of television - an approx 70 billion minutes of it! The average daily viewers clock 32 more minutes each day, with each of our 592 million viewers watching at least 3 hours and 51 minutes of it. They are spending an average 17% more time on the news, 4% more on films and 11% more on kids content.

Age-wise, children between 2-14 years and teens between 15-21 years are the ones who're watching the most television. And what they watch is chiefly in Hindi - Hindi content consumption is the highest, rising in this time by an overall 8%, followed by Malayalam and Tamil content. The number of children who are sitting in front of their television screens also shares a disturbing insight. There are not enough online options for education - meaning that this disruption from schooling will leave a dent on their learning.

Another trend is the surge in non-prime time watching habits. There is an overall 20% increase in the consumption content between 6 AM to 6 PM (18% in urban areas and 23% in rural areas). So, not all Indian viewers have found suitable work from home routines and our spending their days with daytime TV. There is also a surge in viewership from noon, indicating that families have fallen into daily routines, which free them by this time.

Our handheld zone

Our smartphone consumption patterns have also changed during the lockdown period. We're now spending nearly 25 hours per week with our devices per week (at least 1.5 hours more than earlier). Age-wise, 33-44 year-olds are occupying most of their time on these handheld devices.

They spend most of this time on chat and social networking (277 minutes and 242 minutes per week respectively), followed by video on demand (VOD), gaming and news. The changing times have, however, increased their need for the last segment the most - news consumption is up by 8% users and 17% in terms of time spent.

They're also looking forward to people to people connections, though not necessarily through calls. Direct calls have risen by just 4%, which means that we look forward to these connections on chat instead. "Chat conversations are high as they are easier to get in and out of. They also link into the larger slice of time we're dedicating to social media as well", Ebrahim added.

Speaking of social media usage, we're now spending more time on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok than ever before. The number of sessions per week per user have also increased by 20% across all three, while time spent is also up by an average of 25%.

These are unforeseen times, where the Indian audience is evolving to indoor isolation and seclusion. It would be worthwhile to see how this continues to impact their media habits over the next few weeks.

Music industry body PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd.), which collects sound recording royalties on behalf of the music industry has appointed G.B. Aayeer as its new CEO.

The appointment was announced today by Mandar Thakur, COO, Times Music and Chairman of the board of PPL.

GB Aayeer, who till recently was with Saregama in various capacities including CFO, Interim CEO, Executive Director on the Board of the listed entity, amongst others comes with a long experience of 38 years in senior positions in large corporates.

In his long stint, in the music industry and outside the industry, GB has closely handled challenges and changes, consequent to paradigm shifts in the music landscape with changing formats of music consumption and evolution of exploitation of different elements of copyrights.

GB will take over from Rajat Kakar under whose leadership PPL underwent a radical transformation with relentless focus on professionalism, ethics and transparent processes. PPL is now a leading sound recording Collective Rights Management Organisation (CMO) and has made a mark for itself globally, by passionately driving engagement with users for mutual benefit, enhancing repertoire strength with surge in membership and ease of doing business initiatives by going completely digital in its licensing and lead generation processes .

GB Aayeer commented, “I am excited at being chosen to lead PPL in its rejuvenated avatar. Rajat has made PPL into a data oriented, transparent and professional organization and I now look forward to continuing the momentum built in the last 2 years with the help of a highly talented team of employees and efficient systems, a combination that offers immense potential for growth. I look forward to working with stakeholders and users alike to create an environment of respect for Intellectual property.”

Said Rajat Kakar, the outgoing MD & CEO of PPL, ”GB is a seasoned professional who has a proven track record in building successful teams and systems and will bring his experience and maturity as we enter the next phase of growth for the Music Industry. I am delighted that GB will be taking over the reins of PPL from me and am leaving with the satisfaction that PPL is in safe hands under GB”

PPL is the only CMO in India which is affiliated to International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI), the apex body of the global music industry.

Global Top-2 TV Corporation, TCL, announced its partnership with India’s fast-growing and leading entertainment streaming platform, MX Player.

Following the partnership, TCL has successfully added over 150,000 hours of content by MX Player on the TCL content platform and its cutting-edge range of Smart and AI Android TVs.

Driven to bring all-inclusive content solutions for its customers, TCL has been aggressively growing the content portfolio. The recent partnership helps TCL expand the diversified content offering on its platform with MX Player’s large content library spanning over 10 regional languages across categories like movies, TV shows, web series, music videos, sports, and news.

Commenting on the recent partnership, Mike Chen, TCL India General Manager, said, “At TCL, we have been determined to bring the most well-rounded and all-inclusive home entertainment solutions for our customers. While we have leveraged the latest advancements in AI x IoT to bring the most intuitive, seamless, and intelligent range of Android Smart TVs, associations with reputed content partners allow us to offer the most integrated solutions. To the same end, we are glad to partner with MX Player, one of the fast-growing entertainment platforms in India. We are hopeful that patrons of TCL will enjoy the diverse content available in MX Player’s library.”

With over 175 million Monthly Active Users, MX Player emerged as the #1 Breakout Video Streaming App of 2019 (Source: App Annie) and offers users a holistic entertainment platform, for FREE.

Elaborating on the same, Abhishek Joshi – Head of Marketing and Business Partnerships at MX Player added saying, ““We have the largest collection of premium entertainment content available for video on demand in India. With this association, we endeavour to give viewers easy access to watch their favourite content not just on their mobile but also on a bigger screen of their choice. We constantly strive to find new avenues for our premium content to be accessible, and for it to be a seamless experience for the viewers. We hope this will also pave a path for more engagement and result in an uptake of our content on the bigger screens as well.”

Driven with a vision to make everyday life smart and more intuitive for its customers, TCL has disrupted the status quo in the Indian market with its AI x IoT offering that enables a seamless Smart TV experience with AI-powered voice control, dynamic picture and sound quality regulated by an AI-algorithm, and interconnection with other smart home devices.

World’s Best Stories coming to India on 3rd April with Disney+ Hotstar

Enjoy over 250 superhero and animated films, over 100 series including Disney+ Originals and engaging kids’ content, along with latest Bollywood blockbusters and Hotstar Specials 

Language-based subscription offering: Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscribers can enjoy content in their own language (Hindi, Tamil and Telugu)

Additionally, Disney+ Hotstar Premium subscribers will have access to content in English including Disney+ Originals 

Advertising-supported content will continue to be available across TV Shows, Movies, News and Sports at no cost to viewers 

Star India, the nation’s foremost media company, has announced the upgrade of Hotstar to Disney+ Hotstar on 3rd April 2020. With a fresh new look and enhanced user interface, Disney+ Hotstar brings together the magic of Disney’s storytelling and the scale and technological expertise of Hotstar, giving users an unparalleled video streaming experience.

As people across the country practise social distancing and stay at home, Disney+ Hotstar is set to offer an unmatched entertainment experience for families with the world’s best superhero movies, unrivalled animated films, popular kids programming, recently released Bollywood blockbusters, exclusive Hotstar Specials shows, unlimited LIVE sporting action, and much more. Starting 3rd April three distinct offerings – Disney+ Hotstar VIP, Disney+ Hotstar Premium and an ad-supported basic tier will be available, offering consumers an abundance of choice.

Uday Shankar - President, The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India, said, “With the success of Hotstar, we ushered in a new era for premium video streaming in India. Today, as we unveil Disney+ Hotstar, we take yet another momentous step in staying committed to our promise of delivering high-quality impactful stories for India that have not only entertained but also made a difference in people’s lives, a promise that is even more meaningful in challenging times such as this. We hope the power of Disney’s storytelling, delivered through Hotstar’s technology, will help our viewers find moments of comfort, happiness and inspiration during these difficult times.”

Stay Safe and Stay Entertained 24x7 in a language of your choice

From the comfort of their homes, Disney+ Hotstar VIP subscribers can explore the world of great entertainment in a language of their choice. Subscribers will now get expanded access to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and the best of superheroes movies like The Avengers, Iron Man, Thor Ragnarok, latest and biggest movies including The Lion King, Frozen II, Aladdin and Toy Story 4. Families can spend quality time together with engaging content and characters like Mickey Mouse, Gajju Bhai, Doraemon and Shin-chan. Stay entertained with the latest Bollywood movies like Panga, Tanhaji and more immediately after theatrical release, watch exclusive Hotstar Specials shows in seven languages like the hugely popular Neeraj Pandey’s Special Ops, Out of Love, Criminal Justice, unlimited LIVE sporting action, and STAR serials before TV and much more. Users can now enjoy all this at an affordable price of INR 399/- for a year.

Subscribers of Disney+ Hotstar Premium will receive all the benefits of Disney+ Hotstar VIP, with the addition of access to English language content and 29 critically acclaimed Disney+ Originals, including The Mandalorian from executive producer and writer Jon Favreau; High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, a creative modern take on the hit franchise; and the live-action Lady and the Tramp, a timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic; and many more to come; as well as the latest American shows from studios like HBO, Fox, Showtime at the price of INR 1499 for a year.

All existing subscribers will be automatically upgraded to their respective new subscription plan and will be charged the new rates upon renewal.

Exciting New Features

A separate Disney+ branded section will help users navigate the wonderful Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic content available on the service. Subscribers will enjoy the benefits of unlimited downloads of all Disney+ movies and shows, as well as personalized recommendations. Additionally, parents can navigate through the kids-safe mode to access age-appropriate content.

Continued Access to Free Content

Users will continue to enjoy high-quality free content such as daily catch-up TV shows in 8 Indian languages, a vast library of blockbuster movies like Housefull 4, Chhichhore, Badhai Ho, Komali and many more, and LIVE and on-demand news in 8 languages from the leading news channels in the country. Disney+ Hotstar will also have a comprehensive sports clips offering for its free users, covering major sporting events such IPL, BCCI cricket series, Premier League, ISL and PKL, with all the exciting action from the day available as match highlights, key individual performances and match analysis.

Interactive Viewing: Disney+ Hotstar Red Carpet Premiere

As a prelude to the launch, Disney+ Hotstar will host India’s largest virtual red carpet event on 2nd April with the premiere of The Lion King (in English, Hindi, Tamil & Telugu) at 6pm followed by the popular Disney+ original The Mandalorian at 8pm. Helping build a virtual community and conversations in these times of physical and social distancing, users will be able to interact on the social feed on the platform, as these premieres are happening. They can chat with their friends and family, share photos and badges with them and the rest of India, and also interact with some of their favourite celebrities who will be at the red-carpet premiere event with them, all while staying safe at home.

Watch the magic of the world’s best stories unfold on Disney+ Hotstar on 3rd April 2020

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