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Top 10 stories of the week: November 14th to November 20th 2016

In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 20th November 2016

MediaNama would like to thank its sponsors: Akamai, Fortumo, Info Edge, MapmyIndia, Microsoft, Times Internet and E2E for their support.

The Ken raises funding from Vijay Shekhar Sharma

The Ken, a subscription based online media publication, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, which it disclosed as a footnote to a story today. Rohin Dharmakumar, co-founder at The Ken, speaking to MediaNama, said that the publications policy is to disclose investor names as and when when they do a story where disclosures are necessary. Today, the Ken did a story on Paytm competitor Snapdeal. Dharmakumar said that The Ken hasn’t yet closed their funding round, and declined to comment further. This investment had been disclosed in a previous story, but we had missed that. Read it here

Update: Card payments on POS terminals suffered outages and failures over the weekend

Update: MediaNama spoke to Manish Patel, CEO of POS machine company Mswipe who spoke told us that card networks are unable to deal with the sudden surge in payments on their networks. He added that on Saturday between 7 pm to 9.30, pm Visa’s servers failed but POS machines were still able to process payments from MasterCard.

MediaNama was unable to independently verify this but we have written to Visa and will update once we hear from them. Read it here

WhatsApp launches video calling globally

WhatsApp has launched video calling across its Android, iPhone and Windows app, although the feature doesn’t seem to be live for all users yet. The feature has been live on beta builds of the Android app for nearly a month. Read it here

Our take: RuPay cards get a push, as switching fees for online and PoS txns are waived

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has waived off switching fees for all RuPay cards for ecommerce and PoS terminal transactions. This was in effect since November 11 and will extend to December 31, 2016. Of the 755 million debit cards in circulation RuPay cards account for 40%, around 302 million in total. IMPORTANT: this waiver of fees is not applicable to MasterCard and Visa. Read it here

Koovs raises £3.9M from Times Group; Ads for equity?

Online fashion retailer, Koovs has raised a total of £10.9 million as investment, which includes £3.9 million from the Times of India Group and £7 million through the issue of 21,700,000 new ordinary shares at 50 pence per ordinary share from new and existing shareholders. The release quotes Mary Turner, CEO of Koovs saying, “We are delighted to bring on board our new strategic partner in the Times of India, a leading media company, which will give us access to TV, outdoor and digital platforms in addition to print and radio and will help to incrementally extend our coverage nationwide.” Read it here

With demonetization and card payments failing, the first experience for many card holders in now a disaster

With the demonetization in swing, Manish Patel, CEO of POS terminal company MSwipe, narrated an incident to me, when a person was trying to pay for medicine using his debit card, presumably for the first time.

Patel said that the individual had a worn out magnetic stripe card which he handed to the shopkeeper who asked him to enter his PIN. The gentleman who was trying to buy medicine said that he did not know what a PIN was. Read it here

How the government can help ease the cash crunch – Probir Roy, Co-Founder, Paymate

In one fell swoop 86% value of the currency in circulation in India, comprising Rs 500/1000 rupee notes, has been phased out. By end of the year this could be around half with the demonetization drive.

It’s the economy Stupid

How does demonetization affect the economy in terms of GDP, prices, output, inflation etc? Sure, there will be the usual set of known consequences like the wealth & consumption affect dropping aggregate demand for goods & services in short term. Read it here

Rediff is selling its India Abroad newspaper to 8Kmiles Media

Rediff.com is selling its US based India Abroad business to 8kmiles Media, MediaNama had learned from multiple, reliable sources. 8kmiles Media is a sister concern of cloud computing firm 8kmiles. On being contacted, Rediff Founder and CMD Ajit Balakrishnan declined to comment, saying that the company is currently in a quiet period, and hasn’t responded to a mail for a written comment sent three days ago. R.S. Ramani, CEO of 8kmiles confirmed the acquisition to MediaNama, but declined to comment further, and offered to connect us to Suresh Venkatachary, the founder of 8kmiles; we haven’t heard back from them, and will update about their plans once we do. Read it here

Live blog: As demonetization kicks in, here is how India is reacting

In an attempt to crack down on black money, Prime minister Narendra Modi has phased out two major currency denominations – Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes. While this may prove a major boost for people to use digital means of transactions, there are a lot more ramifications for the larger public. Read it here

Delhi HC asks Govt to examine allegations of soft porn on Hotstar

The Delhi High Court has asked the Government of India (pdf) to examine allegations of objectionable content (including soft porn) being made available for download on the online streaming app Hotstar. Hotstar is an application owned by STAR India.

The Court order comes after a plea by Un-Canned Media alleged Hotstar to be running an illegal distribution platform, unregulated by the government and outside the purview of censorship which also distributes soft pornography. Read it here

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