In no particular order, here are MediaNama’s top 10 stories of the week ended 26th February 2017

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

Update: BharatQR to be launched today with only card networks

Update: Card network American Express is also part of BharatQR. The card networks also sent an FAQ about the payments on this system:

– For any BharatQR transaction to be successfully completed there is authentication usingMPIN. This is in keeping with the norms prescribed by RBI.

– The following banks are operationally ready to deploy BharatQR: Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Citi Union Bank, DCB, Karur Vysya Bank, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, RBL Bank, State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Vijaya Bank and Yes Bank. Read it here

How Gati dealt with plummeting Cash-on-Delivery ecommerce sales during demonetization

“Yes, of course November we saw a pretty large dip in the volumes,” Dhruv Agarwal, Chief Strategy Officer of Gati Kintetsu during the company’s earnings conference call post announcing its results for the September to December quarter. This has typically been the strongest quarter for Gati, given increased ecommerce purchases during the festive season, but this year was different, because the Indian government unexpectedly removed the legal-tender status of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes, effectively rendering 83% of the cash in circulation in India worthless. This move is colloquially referred to as demonetization. Cash on delivery is a key component of deliveries in India: it accounts for as much as 60% of ecommerce purchases in the country, and has led to the growth of ecommerce in a market where debit card usage was abysmally low, and credit cards have limited usage. Read it here

‘Re-verification of existing subscribers could cost telcos up to Rs 2,500Cr’: COAI

Telecom lobbying association COAI estimates that the proposed re-verification of existing subscribers via Aadhaar might cost up to Rs 2,500 crore, as indicated by this PTI report. In a letter to the department of telecommunications (DoT), COAI also sought exemption of bulk corporate connections, post-paid accounts, SIMs used for non-voice usage (with iPads, PoS counters), and data cards from the mandatory re-verification. Read it here

Jio crosses 100M subscribers; unveils ‘prime membership’ starting at Rs 99 per year

Reliance Jio has crossed 100 million subscribers since the launch of its commercial operations in September last year, Reliance Industry Limited’s Chairman Mukesh Ambani said in a statement today. This is up from 72 million subscribers as of January. On an average basis, the telco claims to have added “7 customers every single second, of every single day”. Read it here

Balaji Telefilms releases its video on demand app, ALT Balaji

Balaji Telefilms’ digital company ALT Digital has finally launched its app, ALT Balaji on the Google Play Store. As planned earlier, the app has launched with content in Hindi, English and in regional languages (presently only Tamil). Balaji Telefilms has been postponing the launch of its video streaming service. The company was due to launch the app in June 2016. Read it here

Snapdeal confirms layoffs at FreeCharge and Vulcan Express

Ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal is laying off close to 600 people within the company’s logistics unit Vulcan Express, and in its payments division FreeCharge, according to this PTI report. A spokesperson from Snapdeal confirmed the development with MediaNama but did not comment on the number of people being laid off. The spokesperson added that employees will be given a three-month severance pay and that its offices in Gurgaon (where Vulcan operates from) and Bangalore (FreeCharge) will be affected due to the layoffs. Read it here

Airtel acquires undisclosed stake in lending company Seynse

Bharti Airtel has acquired a strategic stake in Seynse Technologies, a fintech company, through its subsidiary Bharti Airtel Services. The financial details of the deal were undisclosed. Read it here

Netflix has 2-3 lakh paying subscribers in India: RTI

Exclusive: Netflix has 2-3 lakh paying subscribers in India, an investigation of the company’s India tax records by MediaNama has revealed (see methodology below). Of the company’s 93.8 million subscribers, between 211,500-337,300 are from India. This is a small share of Netflix’s international market, but it’s significant, considering India’s nascent broadband infrastructure; the video-on-demand market has also been mushrooming only in the last couple years. The company gained over 14 million new subscribers from outside the US since last year, when it expanded to all countries except China. India, which is the most populous Netflix market, has contributed to around 2% of that growth. Read it here

Several Indian websites may have been affected due to Cloudflare’s data breach

Several websites including Indian sites using Cloudflare as their storage or host partner could have been affected due to an internal bug that mistakenly leaked sensitive user data. The company confirmed the data leak in a blog post and said that it put together a special team to fix the bug. Read it here

Paymate is surrendering its wallet licence to the RBI

Mobile payments company Paymate is surrendering its wallet licence to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The RBI website shows that the surrender process began in February 2017. The company has a pre-paid payment instruments known as Paymate Wallet. Read it here