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Top 15 stories of the month: June 2016

MediaNama would like to thank its sponsors: Espn, Microsoft, Times Internet and E2E for their support.

In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 15 stories of the month ended June 2016

– What we don’t know yet about Delhi’s planned WiFi hotspots

Better late than never. The Delhi government* says it will finally roll out its WiFi project by the end of the year, beginning with East Delhi, and 1000 hotspots in 571 locations.Read it here.

Facebook’s new algorithm is bad news for everybody

Facebook has updated its algorithm which will place more importance to posts from friends and family rather than from content publishers. This means that posts from some Pages will get lesser referral traffic which could affect distribution for many media companies… badly. Analytics and content optimization company Parse.ly says that Facebook now accounts for 39% of referral traffic and even pulled ahead of Google from its network of nearly 400 digital publishers.Read it here.

Grofers to lay off 10% of its workforce while revoking 67 job offers: Report

After shutting down operations in 9 cities in January, online grocery delivery startup Grofers is now laying-off 10% of its work-force while retracting job offers given to fresh graduates, reports Livemint. The company’s Human Resource head notified its employees through an email that most lay-offs would take place in the customer support and content teams; exiting employees will receive a one-month severance package, the report added.Read it here.

SoftBank and Nikesh Arora to face SEC scrutiny: report

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has opened an inquiry on Nikesh Arora’s alleged conflicts of interest and also into SoftBank disclosures to investors, reportsBloomberg. Arora stepped down as president and COO of the SoftBank Group earlier this month shortly after being given a clean chit regarding investor allegations that he was compensated by private equity firm Silver Lake for helping with potential technology company investments that were similar to the investments he made for SoftBank.Read it here.

GST will complicate tax for online marketplaces, hurt platforms by removing safe harbor

Provision in the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Bill is set to adversely impact non-ecommerce Internet and mobile platforms, the Internet and Mobile Association of India has said. Issues raised by the IAMAI:
1. Ambiguity over terms which apply to aggregators: According to IAMAI, the Bill defines ‘aggregators’ and ‘electronic commerce operators’ (or ‘operators’) as two separate categories, with tax liabilities defined for the ‘operators’, possibly leading towards uncertainty about whether the ‘aggregators’ too are subject to the same liabilities. Read it here.

SC dismisses case asking for Whatsapp licensing in India, but this isn’t over yet

Earlier: A case filed asking for the ban on messaging applications such as Whatsapp, which use end to end encryption, has been dismissed by the Supreme Court of India, MediaNama has learned. According to a Rahul Narayan, a lawyer present in court, the case got dismissed within a few seconds of being called out.Read it here.

Eros Now has 44.4M users and 1% are paid customers; Q4 digital revenues at $20.5M

Eros International has reported digital and ancillary revenues of $20.8 million for the quarter ended March 2016, down 6.3% from $22.8 million in the preceding quarter and up 11.22% from the same quarter last year. For the full year, digital and ancillary revenues stood at $63.9 million up 6.7%. Eros Now, its video streaming service, now has 44 million registered users with a majority of its users in India.Read it here.

Money On Mobile report: Transaction volumes decline to $78 million in April 2016

Money On Mobile, the Mumbai-based mobile payments subsidiary of Calpian, says that its monthly transaction volume decline to $78.6 million (Rs 523.4 crore) for the month of April. This represents a decline of 16% from $93.6 million (Rs 623.3 crore) in March.Read it here.

RBI’s vision document wants to regulate payment gateways and aggregators

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be bringing in regulation for payment gateways and aggregators, it said in its latest Vision Document for Payment and Settlement Systems in India. The RBI highlighted the growing importance of such players with the boom in ecommerce and m-commerce as they facilitate online payments.Read it here.

– Understanding why Knowlarity’s services were shut down by a telco in Delhi

“On last Tuesday,” he told MediaNama, “we were finishing our day, and we started getting popups on our customer care line. A crazy number of popups. Our phones started buzzing. We came to know that a large number of our lines are down. We called up the telecom operators and came to know that there’s some technical glitch. We thought it would recover in 15-20 minutes, but it didn’t recover.Read it here.

– MediaNama turns 8: thoughts on funding for media businesses

Today marks the end of what has probably been MediaNama’s most important year of existence, and a year since my last post writing about MediaNama instead of the industry we cover. The question I ask myself sometimes about MediaNama is – Why are we here? Why should we even exist? What would it be like if we didn’t exist? The answer, which I reiterate every year, remains the same. Read it here.

– Ola to invest Rs 350 crore in Haryana and also launch its other services

Cab aggregator Ola will be investing Rs 350 crore in Haryana over the next five years. Ola has signed a memorandum of understanding with the state to create 10,000 driver-entrepreneurs. It is currently present in five cities in the state: Gurgaon, Faridabad, Panchkula, Kurukshetra and Ambala. Read it here.

– Update: HT Media buys over 50% stake in an elusive football portal

HT Media has bought a majority stake of 50.5% stake in an online football portal called Sports Asia through its Singapore subsidiary HT Overseas, the company informed the stock exchanges. Sports Asia is a Singapore-based company and has a website, mobile and tablet app, and a messaging app.Read it here.

– Smart robots should be ‘electronic persons’, follow basic civil laws says EU draft paper

Robots that run on autonomous code or are powered by Artificial Intelligence could be governed by a “special legal status”, the European Union (EU) council has recommended in a draft paper. Robot owners would need to procure registration, insurance, and even the robots would have to follow basic ‘civil laws’ if they fall under the category of “smart autonomous robots”, if the draft paper on robotics issued by the EU becomes a reality. Read it here.

– RCOM will roll out 4G services pan-India starting today

Reliance Communications (RCOM) is launching pan-India 4G services today, while telecom circles including Mumbai, Maharashtra have already got 4G presence, as per information provided on RCOM’s official website. The website earlier ran a teaser suggesting that 4G services will be launching by 9.30 AM (IST) today; this was first spotted by TelecomTalk. Read it here.

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