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  • Streaming platforms have a new addictionRoshni P. Nair
    Streaming platforms have a new addiction

    The man is part exhilarated, part rueful. It’s almost as if he is beating himself up for not thinking about it sooner. He is middle-aged, in a casual T-shirt and jeans, and wreathed in smiles. An executive at one of India’s top video streaming companies, he is excited to share what his team is building. “It is a no-brainer,” he says. “It is the most obvious next step.”

    The man is talking about the new obsession in the streaming industry, one that is beginning to dominate conversations across the board—gaming. 

    Over the past few months, a string of video streaming companies including Sony Pictures’s SonyLIV, Zee Entertainment’s Zee5, Disney-owned Hotstar and Times Internet-backed MX Player, have come out with mobile gaming ambitions in one form or another. SonyLIV kickstarted the wave with an announcement last year that it wants to become an online “gaming destination”. 

  • Xiaomi’s juggernaut in India hits a rough patchAbhishek Baxi
    Xiaomi’s juggernaut in India hits a rough patchIf you bought a new Xiaomi smartphone in India recently, you are unlikely to have missed a small sticker on the top of the box: “India’s No. 1 smartphone brand”. The company’s fantastic success in the growing Indian smartphone market has made it the top smartphone brand in the country, displacing behemoths like Samsung, while warding off the challenge from other Chinese brands that hit Indian shores around the same time Xiaomi did. In 2019, Xiaomi completed five years in the Indian market. Between anniversary celebrations and taking some pot-shots at the competition, Xiaomi kept pushing the numero uno narrative in every way it could. But if you look past all that glory⁠—and some complacency in 2018⁠—Xiaomi faces more than one conundrum in 2020.
  • The realities of Flipkart’s and Amazon’s Diwali salesSaif Iqbal
    The realities of Flipkart’s and Amazon’s Diwali salesBusinesses love making vague statements. Nowhere is this more obvious than the Indian e-commerce pursuit, and especially during the annual festive season sales that inevitably turn into a highly publicized battle between Flipkart and Amazon India. The companies will tell you they are No. 1 without actually revealing any qualitative information on what No. 1 means or on the market that awarded them the podium finish. Some will parade their significant reach in rural markets and count the city of Jamshedpur while they are at it. Then there are the pointers, dropped almost nonchalantly, but with the precise aim of dazzling a room or a presentation: pin codes, order volumes, category leadership, loyalty, gross merchandise value—the list is as vast as the marketing department’s payroll. The simple truth is, you cannot make sense of a business and do annual comparisons without any defined standards. So we created some.
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