In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 19th February 2017

MediaNama would like to thank its sponsors: Indian Express, Bruce Clay, Google and E2E for their support.

Idea Cellular lost 532K 4G subscribers during Q3FY17; net loss at Rs 478.9 crore

Idea Cellular lost 532,000 4G subscribers during the quarter ended September 2016 (Q3 FY17), taking the total 4G base to 2.54 million subscribers. The telco’s 4G base declined 17% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) from 3.07 million 4G customers in the previous quarter. It had reported 680,000 4G subscribers in the March quarter (Q4 FY16). Read it here

RCOM lost 3.1M mobile Internet subscribers in Q3FY17; net loss of Rs 531Cr

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCOM) lost 3.1 million mobile Internet subscribers during the quarter ended December 2016 (Q3-FY17): the company reported 32 million mobile Internet connections for the quarter, down 8.8% Quarter-on-Quarter (QoQ) from 35.1 million connections in Q2-FY17

In the previous quarter, RCOM lost 3.8 million data connections due to the company’s migration from CDMA to 4G, and due to the launch of Reliance Jio. However, the telco has lost more subscribers during this quarter, after Jio extended its free services till March 2017. Read it here

Why we will never know how many journalists at HT and Mint lost their jobs

Last month, HT Media, the publisher of Hindustan Times the pulled shutters on four editions and three bureaus, including its business bureau in Mumbai and Delhi, laying off an unknown number of journalists.

There is silence in the media on the number of jobs lost at HT and its business paper, Mint. Typically, media in India does not report on itself, especially, on the working conditions of journalists. Read it here

Infibeam on course to acquire CC Avenue; our take

There’s more consolidation in the payments space in the offing, and it’s becoming evident that standalone payment gateways will find it difficult to survive in a low margin business. E-commerce marketplace and SAAS major Infibeam has entered into a memorandum of association with Avenues (India), which runs the payment gateway business CC Avenue; following a deal in May last year where Infibeam put in Rs 45 crore into Avenues, the company has now put in an additional Rs 150 crore, for 7.5% share in the company. Around 3.85% had been already held in the company by an Infibeam subsidiary. It is moving towards an acquisition, adding that “Subsequently, amalgamation of CC Avenue into Infibeam by issuance of fresh shares subject to due diligence and regulatory approvals.” At Rs 150 crore for 7.5%, the deal values CC Avenue at Rs 2000 crore. Read it here

Bookmyshow picks up 75% in Townscript; Our take on the DIY space

BookMyShow has picked up an undisclosed majority stake in Townscript, a Pune-based DIY (Do-it-Yourself) event registration and ticketing platform founded by Sanchit Malik and Sachin Sharma. Multiple reports suggest that this is an acquisition, with around 75% stake acquired by BookMyShow. Townscript was launched in January 2014, and a year later, had raised angel funding from investors including Mohit Garg (Co-Founder, MindTickle), Mahesh Parasuraman (Managing Director-Carlyle Group), Nipam Shah (Founder, NRS Advisors), Dheeraj Vasisht (Director – Ameretat Technologies), Sandeep Bhandarkar (CEO – Ameretat Technologies), Hemal Patel ( CEO – Cyberoam Technologies), Lalit Singh (Executive Director – Enterprise Services HP), Kalyan G (AVP Technology Business, Mahindra Tech) and few others. Read it here

Advertising in India in 2017, in 18 Charts

Advertising spends in India are expected to grow around 10% year on year to Rs 61,204 crores, according to media buying agency GroupM. This is effectively a slowdown in growth from the 15.5% which it had predicted last year, and later ended up being a growth of 11.9%. Read it here

UIDAI CEO: We’ll ask SC to test Aadhaar Act on standard of privacy as a fundamental right

“I would urge all of you, please read the Aadhaar act and the regulations,” UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said at the India Digital Summit last week, adding “What the underlying theme is that we have presumed that privacy is…whether privacy is a fundamental right or not is a question which will be answered by the Supreme Court, finally.” Pandey was responding to a question from MediaNama, which pointed out the Union of India’s statement in the Supreme Court that ‘Violation of privacy doesn’t mean anything because privacy is not a guaranteed right’, and asked about privacy protections in the law to prevent mass surveillance of citizens. Read it here

Average call duration on Jio lowest among all operators: Truecaller report

The average call time per day in September for Jio was around 13 seconds, far lower than any other operator, according to Truecaller’s TrueInsights report for Q4-2016. Given the telecom operator’s interconnection issue peaked at that time, the statistic makes sense – call drops caused frustrated customers to not try calling again. Read it here

RBI wants differentiated debit card MDR for POS machines & QR codes

To promote payments on debit cards, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed new slabs for merchant discount rate (MDR) banks will be allowed to charge merchants, in a draft paper. The RBI floated a concept paper in March 2016 which was looking to increase the card transactions in the country and push card acceptance network. MDR is an inter-bank exchange fee that banks charge merchants for enabling digital transactions. Read it here

JustDial goes back to basics

A little over six months after JustDial founder VSS Mani said that revenues from its Omni business will (eventually) match its Core Search revenues, he was singing a different tune in the company’s recent earnings conference call:

“I would also like to highlight that we made several mistakes in the last several quarters, one was taking our eyes off the core business; we try to over-achieve by including several new products and trying to do too many things. We have a great running business, when we lost sight and it, you know, kind of, I have to tell because obviously it’s a question of management bandwidth right from the CEO downwards and experimenting with new products also kind of disturbs the entire sales rhythm, you know. Read it here