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Top 10 stories of the week: November 21st to November 27th 2016

In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 27th November 2016

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

AskMen and IGN switch from Times Internet to Fork Media

Ant Farm’s media and advertising business Fork Media has announced a five year partnership with publisher Ziff Davis, wherein Fork will run publications AskMen (mens lifestyle site) and IGN (games, movies and entertainment site) in India. These publications were previously being run by Times Internet’s Times Global, and as per a deal which was inked three years ago. Samar Verma, CEO of Fork Media, told MediaNama that the brand names (and domain names for AskMen India and IGN India have always been owned by Ziff Davis. The model is similar to the deal that they had with Times Internet: Fork will continue to run the two domain names in India. Read it here

MasterCard jumps on the QR code payments bandwagon

Following demonetization, MasterCard is offering QR code-based payments for merchants through a solution called Masterpass, which it is rolling out with RBL Bank; mobile wallet OnGo, which is trying to bring digital payments to auto-rickshaws in Mumbai, will be the first application allowing customers to send money through QR codes. Read it here

Quikr acquires Grabhouse to offer managed house rentals

Quikr has acquired house rental and PG sharing platform Grabhouse for an undisclosed amount in an all stock deal, reports Mint. The report cites sources saying the deal was valued at $10 million. It’s worth noting that Grabhouse had raised $10 million in a Series B funding from Kalaari Capital and Sequoia Capital in October 2015, and then laid off over 100 employees in business restructuring exercise in December. Read it here

CBI asks SC for authorization to investigate rape videos shared online

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has asked the Supreme Court to authorise it to investigate and prosecute rape videos being shared on the Internet and online messaging platforms, reports DailyMail. The CBI reply comes after a PIL was filed that demanded an agency to have pan-Indian jurisdiction to probe online sexual assault cases. Read it here

Airtel launches its Payments Bank pilot

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has launched its Payments Bank pilot, becoming the first among Payments Bank licensees to go live: around 10,000 Airtel retail outlets in Rajasthan will operate as banking points, allowing customers to open Payments Bank accounts, and deposit and withdraw cash. Read it here

Matrimonial site LoveVivah makes Aadhaar sign up mandatory

LoveVivah, an online matrimonial site which launched earlier this month, has tied up with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to reduce fake and non-legit profiles on its platform. While signing up in the platform, entering the user’s Aadhaar or PAN details will be mandatory. Read it here

HT Media plans cost-optimisation as print advertising revenue declines

Shalini Gupta (from Quantum Securities): “One last question. What is the problem that you are facing with respect to monetizing your readership online, because your readership in the newspapers, in the hard copies is well established, but what is getting in the way of you monetizing your readership online?

Sandeep Jain (Chief Strategy Officer, HT Media): Let me ask you this way, do you Shalini pay for news online?

Shalini Gupta: No, why would I pay for it?

Sandeep Jain: That is where the answer lies. That is the difficulty, and it is a phenomenon which is not only prevalent in India, but worldwide. The opportunity to monetize readership on digital is so much more difficult. Read it here

Delhi court orders FIR against AskMe for fraud: report

A Delhi court has ordered that an FIR should be launched against the troubled ecommerce and online grocery portals AskMe and AskMeBazaar for cheating and fraud, reports Economic Times. This was against a complaint the court received from Limo Trading, based on initial reports filed by the Delhi Police. The court also directed the police to conduct a field and criminal investigation on the company. Read it here

No more currency exchange except at RBI counters; More updates

We’re a little slow today, but here’s the lowdown on what the government has announced regarding demonetization since last evening:

1. No over the counter exchange of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes after midnight yesterday. Oddly enough, despite the queues, the government notice says that “It has been observed that over the counter exchange of the old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination has shown a declining trend.” The government sees this as a means of getting people to deposit their old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in their bank accounts, and is hoping that “This will encourage people who are still unbanked, to open new bank accounts.” The issue with this is that those who don’t have a bank account will have to get one opened (and it’s not a smooth, quick process), then deposit their money, and then withdraw it. Read it here

Indian Govt blocked 1377 pages, 1670 social media URLs from 2013-16

The Indian Government blocked 1,377 social media pages from 2013-16 under the section 69A of the IT Act, reports the Economic Times. An additional 1,670 URLs on social media websites were blocked in compliance with court orders, for a total of 3,047 blocked pages. Read it here

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