News9 Plus, World’s first News OTT platform, launched in India by TV9 Network
An innovation in the present-day news arena, the world’s first news OTT platform – News9 Plus coming from the TV9 Network is here to benefit the discerning English audience.
The TV9 Network has always believed in revolutionising the news landscape and their latest offering is sure to create an important benchmark for the news world. TV9 Network’s News9 Plus operates at the intersection of journalism, presentation, and cutting-edge technology.
"We have a commitment to bringing about a qualitative change in the news genre landscape. News9 Plus is one such out-of-the-box idea that promises to radically change the art of storytelling in news media,” explains Barun Das, MD and CEO of TV9 Network, who was recently awarded India’s Transformational Leader 2023, while News9 Plus, the world’s first News OTT platform launched by TV9 Network, has been recognized as WCRCINT India’s Transformational Brand 2023. Das further elaborates, “News9 Plus is turning news into content. News keeps breaking on social media. So, everything is content. Its presentation, perspective, and analysis is their own. That’s where news becomes content.”
Content differentiation is achieved through the proposition of offering a diverse menu of subjects that find pride of place on the world’s first news OTT - News9 Plus. The content that has been curated on the News9 Plus platform is as eclectic as it can be. From geopolitics to geo-economics, terrorism, citizen journalism, to society and books, the group has gone beyond headlines and lent News9 Plus an added edge through perspective and treatment. It goes beyond the obvious, exploring the underlying causes and implications of events, and gives us a deeper understanding of the world around us, their series uncovering the mastermind behind the Bombay Blasts, ‘Jihadi General’ and the plunder of the East India Company in India, ‘India’s looted treasure’ are a testament to this.
Their 'Smart New World' segment delves into the latest technology trends while 'Make the Cut' explores the world of fashion. 'Bulletproof Economy and 2023: The Take-off Year' and 'You're Fired' segments focus on the business world while 'Slumdog Billionaire' discusses stories of entrepreneurs who rose from humble beginnings. In the defence vertical, 'Special: Inside India's Elite Units' takes us behind the scenes of India's armed forces, while 'Galwan 2.0: How India Gave China a Bloody Nose' gives an in-depth analysis of the recent India-China border tensions. Sports enthusiasts can tune in to 'India's World Cup Dream', 'Knights Tale', and 'Batman Returns' segments. In the world of politics, they have 'Frenemies', '80 Not Out', 'The Enigma of Pawar', 'The Rahul Saga', and 'The House of Thackerays' which provide insights into the political arena. For society-conscious individuals, 'The Rat Race', 'Sextortion', 'Same-Sex Marriage', and 'How Safe Is Your Building', segments discuss issues that matter. With such exclusive and impactful content, News9 Plus strives to keep us ahead of the curve. One of the centrepieces of world-class content on News9 Plus is the series ‘Duologue with Barun Das’ in which the MD and CEO of TV9 Network shares ideas for a new India in a cerebral conversation with thought-leaders from various sectors.
Their award-winning docuseries have captivated audiences with their unique perspectives and in-depth storytelling. ‘Delhi's Garbage Mountain’ delves into the man-made disaster caused by the city's excessive waste. ‘Demons in the Head’ sheds light on the taboo topic of mental health in India, while ‘Bombs in the Backyard’ uncovers the alarming presence of military-grade explosives in the heart of India's cities. ‘The Monk-ster’ uncovers a mega-trading scam and the downfall of a once-celebrated businesswoman, while ‘White Froth Black Truth’ explores the dire state of the once-pristine Yamuna River. ‘Nepal's Saffron Surge’ follows the country's transformation from a Hindu kingdom to a secular state amidst political chaos, and ‘Hijab Ban: The Distorted Debate’ showcases the controversy surrounding six girls asserting their right to wear the hijab in a government college. ‘Bringing Down the Towers’ exposes the corruption and deceit behind the construction of Supertech Twin Towers, which ultimately led to their demolition.
News9 Plus is a trailblazing platform that is changing the way news is consumed. It is the first of its kind and offers a completely new way of experiencing news. The platform offers an exquisite, curated collection of nuanced news reportage and news documentaries presented in a new-age OTT environment. Veteran actor, producer Anupam Kher is all praises for the platform and explains, “In the times when news broadcast is witnessing a rapid transformation, News9 Plus is an innovative platform giving viewers short and crisp news storytelling keeping international standards in their broadcasts.” Deep Kalra, the Founder of MakeMyTrip.com congratulated TV9 Network & gave them two thumbs up, “TV9 Network has picked a very exciting segment and I have no doubt that it will do really well. My best wishes to News9 Plus. I think the team is doing something fantastic with the app. I think it's going to be a gamechanger.”
As a digital video magazine, News9 Plus goes beyond the obvious and draws out detailed and multi-faceted narratives built on the pillars of fact-based and rigorous journalism. News stories and infotainment content for the discerning audience - rich on perspective and insights, presented in true OTT storytelling formats.
Should movies be released in the cinema before you can watch them at home?
Traditionally, films premier at the cinema. For cinema-lovers, the big screen, smell of popcorn and larger audience all contribute to the overall experience. Yet there are drawbacks. Many consumers prefer the flexibility of home-viewing and half of all consumers worldwide say that going to the cinema is too costly. Generally, viewers who eschew the cinema have had to wait longer for home-release. Is this fair? Nearly half of consumers in 18 markets surveyed believe that it is.
Recent data from YouGov shows that 44% of consumers worldwide believe that major movies should always be released in cinema before they’re available to watch at home while only 18% disagree with this statement. About a third of respondents (31%) are undecided. Men (47%) are more likely than women to favour cinema-first release, compared to women (42%).
There is also significant variation in how people approach movies across markets. Consumers in Asia are more likely to favour cinema-first release, with the UAE (57%), India (56%) and Indonesia (53%) topping the list. Mexico is also well-above average at 52% agreement. This is unsurprising as previous YouGov research has shown that consumers in these markets are more likely to favour watching movies in cinema.
Of all the markets surveyed, the US is by far the least likely to agree that movies should be released in cinemas first, with only 30% of consumers saying so. Poland (35%), Germany (36%) and Canada (38%) are the other countries least likely to agree with the statement. While a significant proportion of global consumers favour traditional cinema-first release, an even greater proportion are at least open to other schedules.
Ads on Streaming Platforms Capture More Attention Than Ads on Social Media in India
64% of streamers in India report that they are more receptive to ads on streaming platforms than ads on social media
Magnite, the world’s largest independent omnichannel sell-side advertising platform, today released a study entitled “India Embraces the Streaming Era” that found ads on streaming platforms capture more attention than ads on social media. Nearly two thirds of India’s streamers (64%) are more responsive to advertising on streaming platforms, with many stating they often search for the product (48%) and make a purchase (33%) after the fact.
The study also found that free or ad-supported content is preferred to paying for an ad-free experience. 80% of streamers prefer to watch ad-supported content versus subscribing to an ad-free platform for a monthly fee.
“OTT is unmatched in its ability to engage viewers and we commissioned this study to better understand consumption patterns across the rapidly growing India streaming audience,” said Gavin Buxton, Managing Director, Asia at Magnite. “One of the study’s key findings shows that OTT advertising outperforms other mediums like social media when it comes to attention and purchasing power. With three quarters of video viewers streaming more now than a year ago, advertisers should be actively exploring this channel to reach the right audiences.”
Streamers prefer streaming to traditional TV and plan to stream more
The study found that two thirds of streamers prefer to watch streaming services over traditional TV and streamers rank the quality of content, platform usability and content discovery as the top factors driving their decision to stream. The majority (75%) of streamers are streaming more video content than a year ago and 66% expect to stream more next year.
“We are witnessing the next stage in streaming’s evolution – one where the lines between SVOD and AVOD and FAST are being blurred as we see audiences continue to fragment,” said Prabhvir Sahmey, Senior Director at Samsung Ads, India. Whilst globally we’re seeing the major streaming giants introduce ad-funded and hybrid models, locally we’ve seen the adoption of these freemium models in India gain considerable viewership. It is exciting to see such a promising future for ad-supported streaming confirmed both recently in our TV Ad Engagement Study and validated in this new report from Magnite.”
“The migration of audiences from linear TV to streaming signals an opportunity for our clients who are looking to invest in CTV and incorporate TV buys into their overall advertising strategies with screen-agnostic planning,” said Bharat Khatri, Chief Digital Officer, APAC at Omnicom Media Group. “With the breadth of available inventory increasing and the preference for streaming across India according to Magnite’s research findings, advertisers should take note of where viewership is moving and invest in OTT to reach highly engaged viewers watching their favorite shows. At the same time, we are seeing a big shift happening on the measurement front, with viewability amounting to three seconds or half of an ad flashed on rapidly scrolling screens. It’s easy to see a growing gap between the opportunity to be seen and actually being seen, thus the need of the hour is to start optimising based on attention to generate incremental value across creative, media planning and buying, and in turn improve brand health and performance.”
Additional key findings from Magnite’s study include:
Mobile commands the majority of streamers’ time, and 88% of viewers reported a positive viewing experience on smartphones, comparable to the number that reported a positive viewing experience on TV screens.
Mobile is the top streaming device, but time spent streaming on CTV is growing as smart TVs are introduced into Indian homes. 59% of streamers are now watching CTV and spending an average of 8 hours per week streaming content on a big screen.
Live streaming is becoming mainstream. Nearly all streamers (86%) said they watch live content through streaming platforms, with streaming particularly prevalent across news, sports, and reality content. Streamers are more likely to watch live programming on streaming platforms than on traditional TV.
Magnite engaged Dynata to execute an online survey to a nationally representative sample of 2,500 television watchers in India. Qualifying respondents were aged be
Media entrepreneur Dr Annurag Batra invests in Digital Fan Community Platform Fandrum
Fandrum,India s pioneering Digital Fan Community Platform and a Fan Community SaS started by Samridhi Katyal and Vipul Chaube has raised a large pre seed round from media entrepreneur and angel investor Dr Annurag Batra who is investing in media tech platforms given his unique position in the media industry.
Samridhi Katyal and Vipul Chaube are seasoned media professionals and content and business specialists who have spent almost 18 years each in the media industry in senior roles in large media organisations like Star India (now Disney India ) and Viacom 18. They both bring unique understanding of media business , broadcast businesses , audiences and content creation and acquisition. Samridhi and Vipul understand content across all platforms in digital and broadcast and films,
Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of BW Businessworld group and Founder,exchange4media Group, talking of his investment in Fandrum, a Social Media Platform built for fans said "I am very excited to be partnering with Fandrum and their talented teams" said Dr Batra. "Their expertise in media and content makes them a valuable asset to any media platform or movie looking to enhance their relationship and engagement with fans via marketing and analytical efforts.". Batra added “, fans provide valuable feedback and insights that can help the industry improve and evolve. Their opinions and preferences shape the direction and content of media and entertainment products.” Batra added " Samridhi and Vipul and Fandrum are on a mission to democratise Fan access to celebrities while they help media platforms and content creators deepen their engagement with fans ."
Fandrum's CEO, Samridhi Katyal, expressed his gratitude for the investment and partnership with Dr Batra. "We are thrilled to have Dr Batra on board as an investor and advisor. His experience and insights will be invaluable as we continue to grow and expand our services." She further said “Fans are essential to the success and growth of the media and entertainment industry. Without fans, the industry would not have the support or resources to create and distribute content. Fans provide support and revenue for the industry through their viewership, purchases, and engagement. Fans drive ratings and box office numbers, which determine the success and profitability of media and entertainment products. They also play a crucial role in promoting and spreading awareness of media and entertainment products through word-of-mouth and social media sharing. In short, the media and entertainment industry relies on the support and engagement of fans to continue creating and delivering content that captivates and entertains audiences.”
Vipul Cahube ,Co-founder Fandrum added that Fandrum is the solution which addresses the need of the Entertainment Industry for data. Fandrum curates imprints thus providing a channel for the industry to build a feedback loop.
Luv Ranjan, noted Bollywood director-producer is the third founder of Fandrum. His next movie starring Ranbir Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor is releasing on Holi next year.
Fandrum is online platform designed to match TV/Screen audiences into communities using psychographic analysis who have the same; not similar taste in content together to discuss or fool around with the content in various ways using images, memes, gifs, short format content and other forms.
The deal advisor was Evolution Partners, a Boutique investment advisory firm headquartered in Mumbai and Singapore who has advised its clients on investments in F and B , Media Tech, FMCH , Blockchain , Deep Tech and Fintech .
Fandrum is in the process of raising a large round in early 2023 to scale up in all aspects for all its platform stakeholders.
Landing Page – A big dilemma for the Broadcast Industry
No, we are not talking about some Google campaign here. Landing page, for the broadcast industry, is nothing but the first channel that appears when a viewer switches on the TV through the set top box. As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the landing page refers to the Logical Channel Number (LCN) which is displayed first when the Set Top Box (STB) is switched on. The broadcast industry use this landing page for multiple genres but it is the news channels that take the biggest chunk in using it to gain an upper hand from the competition. All cable or DTH operators have a landing page which is their exclusive property and broadcasters pay them a hefty amount to be on their landing page so that their channel is the default channel that is viewed when the TV is switched on using the set top box.
So is landing page really a tool for assessment of viewership or more of a marketing gimmick for advertisers? To know more, we asked about the landing page debate to well-known names from the advertising media fraternity. Navin Lalchandani, SVP – National Buying at Starcom says, “The landing page gives viewers an opportunity to sample a channel that they wouldn't have sampled, and resulting the channel to get default viewership. Ideally there should a method to report this separately. Otherwise with this method, paying for landing page will ensure that not only your channel is sampled but becomes the choice.” On the other hand, B. Sridhar, Group Director of Innocean Worldwide Communications Pvt. Ltd. explains, “It is principally unethical to artificially boost viewership wherein the viewer has not made the choice. While many media professionals can judge the difference when viewership is boosted by such methods, but the ones not so savvy may not be able to do so. It is thus that channels are trying to take undue advantage. As of now there is nothing illegal about paying to be the first exposed media channel to boost viewership, bur this can’t be allowed to sustain itself.” Navin Kathuria, EVP, DDB Mudramax has a more neutral point of view and feels the issue is just exaggerated. He further shares a detailed explanation, “As per my view this debate should actually not exist in the first place. Let’s give a quantitative perspective to the same – consider Hindi Speaking markets and Hindi News channels. The total Hindi News genre (approx. 50 odd channels monitored by BARC) is around an average of 100-120 weekly GRPs (based on whether there is some event / breaking news in a particular week) and this is calculated basis a 24 hour day divided into 30 min timeslots for 7 days – this means 100-120 GRPs for 336 timeslots for 50 odd channels – amounting to an average of 0.3 TVR for a 30 min slot for 50 channels. Even if we look at the individual Hindi News channels, the top 3 channels garner 19-21 GRPs on an average week for the same 336 timeslots – indicating that the difference between No. 1, 2 and 3 channel is a maximum of 2 GRPs (in certain weeks this difference is in fractions). Given this scenario, the debate that acquisition of landing pages gives an unfair advantage on numbers to the channels, in my view is highly overrated. A prudent media planner should scrutinize these numbers minutely and then take planning decisions rather than just listening to myopic views on the debate shows.”
Many advertisers want Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India to give a distinct report of landing page data from the actual viewership of television channels. “Yes, landing page should have separate ratings. There has to be a level playing field whereby the ratings are reported by only one parameter of viewership, which is by consumer choice. Otherwise, one single channel would tend to have an advantage over the others in the genre,” explains B. Sridhar. A pertinent question here is if the viewership boost through landings pages actually makes a channel or a news network popular? Navin Kathuria details out even more, “Even if BARC gives separate ratings for landing pages the total numbers – be it GRPs, Viewership share, Reach, ATS etc. is not going to differ drastically. I mean if the max difference between the top channels is 1-2 GRPs, how it is going to make a difference if BARC reports it separately. One would only know that a particular channel is on the landing page of STBs. And one should also not forget the fact that landing page position for a particular channel is not indefinite. It would be for a specific period and then what after that period is over? We need to understand the consumer media consumption behaviour especially for News genre. A viewer is interested in getting the correct and detailed news. Even if a channel acquires the landing page, a viewer will not watch that channel if he does not get the content in the way he wants OR if the news is overly dramatized / sensationalised or if there is no analysis / proper interpretation - he would switch to another channel. Gone are the days of channel loyalty, viewers of today are CONTENT LOYAL and they will move to the channel which airs meaningful content, irrespective of the position of the channel on the STB / cable / DTH platform. We also need to remember content consumption is not just happening on TV channels, the web hosts huge magnitudes of content and the trend of consuming content on the internet is increasing leaps and bounds every minute.” Lalchandani also seconds Kathuria’s thought, “Ideally the landing page should be stopped completely so that all news channels and other channels are at par and will be evaluated basis the content and not only ratings.”