Pressure on social media giants like Facebook is increasing with the number of companies joining the ad boycott growing by the day.

Meanwhile, more Bollywood movies are taking the video streaming route amid uncertainty over the reopening of theatres in India

ETtech Top 5: Facebook's ad boycott goes global, direct-to-digital premiere & more
Facebook ad boycott

Civil rights groups-led Facebook ad boycott campaign ‘Stop Hate for Profit’, which has found support among large brands like Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s and Verizon in the United States, is now planning to take its battle to a global front to increase the pressure on Facebook to roll out stricter policies against hate speech.

What’s the campaign?

The “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign was started by six organisations including Sleeping Giants, Color Of Change, Free Press and Common Sense, Anti-Defamation League, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People following the death of George Floyd last month.

As of now, the campaign has received support from more than 160 companies in the United States who will pause advertising on Facebook for the month of July.

That said, it is yet to be seen how much this ad boycott will impact Facebook. CNN reports that the highest-spending 100 brands accounted for only 6% of Facebook’s ad revenues last year, due to a long-tail of small and medium-sized businesses. Although, Mark Zuckerberg did become $7.2 billion poorer.

What about India?

Large consumer-facing multinational firms are engaging with Facebook and are yet to take a call on advertising, ET reported on Monday. Media agencies, however, said the advertising ban by global majors may have a far-reaching impact in India. Read more.

ETtech Top 5: Facebook's ad boycott goes global, direct-to-digital premiere & more
More Bollywood movies opt for streaming

Disney-owned video streaming service Disney+ Hotstar is premiering seven Hindi movies that were originally slated for a theatrical release on its platform, in a move that could intensify the tussle between multiplexes and movie producers.

These movies will be streamed between July to October this year, starting with late Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer ‘Dil Bechara’ on July 24.

What about others?

Amazon Prime Video had picked up seven Bollywood and regional films including Amitabh Bachchan-Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ and Vidya Balan-starrer ‘Shakuntala Devi’ last month for a direct-to-digital premiere while Netflix picked up Janhvi Kapoor-starrer ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’ earlier this month.

Why are they doing this?

The uncertainty over when movie theatres will be allowed to re-open across the country along with worries of subdued footfalls when they reopen due to social distancing guidelines and safety concerns is driving movie producers with ready-to-release films to offset carrying losses and protect their investments through these streaming deals. Read more

Also read: Film producers and multiplexes at loggerheads over video streaming releases

Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Drones to ward off locusts

India’s aviation regulator has approved the Agriculture Ministry’s request to operate drones at night and to use engine-powered drones rather than battery-operated ones in its fight against the spread of desert locusts in the western and central states.

India is the first country in the world to utilise drones in anti-locust operations, with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) appreciating the government’s work in combating the spread of locusts by using latest technologies.

Agriculture use cases

The use of drones in battling locusts could lead to increased reliance on unmanned aerial vehicles in India’s overall agriculture industry, multiple government officials told ET. While spraying pesticides is the most immediate use case, drones could soon help in crop mapping, crop analytics, and yield improvement analytics. Read more.

Indian IT to reprioritise China biz

IT services providers such as Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro and Infosys are likely to reprioritise their China businesses, as economic stress and unstable geopolitical relations are impacting their already struggling units that have failed to scale up in the Middle Kingdom, analysts said.

What’s the issue?

Indian IT firms, which deliver services to the biggest technology companies in the world, have struggled to make inroads in China. This is because Chinese companies have been conservative in seeking out non-Chinese technology service providers that have led to a negligible local client base for these IT firms

The Covid-19-related economic uncertainty has also complicated growth prospects for IT firms in China in the immediate term, said Peter Bendor-Samuel, founder and CEO of outsourcing advisory firm Everest Group.

What does the future look like?

Indian companies may want to revisit their China strategy in the next financial year if they see an improvement in global political relations or if there are better economic prospects. The conclusion of US elections is also expected to provide clarity for these firms, analysts said. Read more.

ETtech Top 5: Facebook's ad boycott goes global, direct-to-digital premiere & more
Kiranas focus on tech solutions

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the willingness of small businesses to use technology to scale up operations, opening up a market that had in the past viewed technology companies as a competitor.

What’s the opportunity?

About 75% of 13 million kirana stores in India have no exposure to technology platforms for payments or procurement and the remaining 25% are deeply underpenetrated, as per a report by retail consulting firm Redseer Consulting

Unorganized retail is expected to dominate the Indian retail sector that is set to grow to $1.3 trillion by 2025 from $1 trillion now.

ETtech Top 5: Facebook's ad boycott goes global, direct-to-digital premiere & more
Why are kiranas dominating?

The dominance of corner stores in India is due to

  • Footprint
  • Locally relevant stock
  • Perception among consumers that they are convenient
  • Consumer’s personal relationship with shop owners. Read more.

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