India’s Position Improves on B2C eCommerce Index; Smart Phone Sales Amount to USD 9.4 Billion spent on Cyber Monday; Setback to Pharmaceutical Sales Online; The Scheme of Differentiation Brought to You by Apple Music; Instagram to Verify Ages of New Users; BBC’s CBeebies Now Available on Voot Kids App; Michelin Guide, Trip Advisor and its Subsidiary: A Strategic Alliance; Jay-Z’s music back on Spotify after Two Year Hiatus and more.
India’s Position Improves on B2C eCommerce Index
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Business-to Consumer (B2C) eCommerce index 2019 pegs India in the 73rd position out of the 152 countries participating, which marks a marginal improvement from the previous year where India was given the 80th rank. Countries are assessed on the access to secure internet servers, reliability of postal infrastructure and services, the portion of their population that uses the internet and those that have an account with a financial institution or mobile money service provider.
European Nations occupy 8 of the top 10 positions, whereas at the other end of the spectrum we see that 18 out of the last 20 positions are occupied by the Least Developing countries. This index has again brought to the forefront and highlighted the digital gap between developed and developing countries further elucidating upon the assistance required to aid these countries to have a presence in the sphere of eCommerce. The top ten developing nations are all from Asia and are classified as high income or upper middle-income economies.
Smart Phone Sales Amount to USD 9.4 Billion spent on Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday marked a record breaking start to the holiday season, with total online sales amounting to USD 9.4 billion in online sales. At its peak, consumers were spending USD 12 million per minute. Sales via smart phones, on an eCommerce platform first contributed to USD 3 billion, doubling the number of sales via smart phones from the previous year. While Black Friday sales involve competition from Brick and Mortar Stores and Thanksgiving is underpinned by traditional festivities within the household, Cyber Monday which marks the return of many employees to places of work induces maximum product procurement from the Web.
Unfavourable weather conditions too have played an active part in increasing online sales. Bigger retailers owing to their ability to give greater discounts and their wide range of products recorded an increase of 71 percent in sales, whereas smaller retailers recorded an increase of only 32 percent. Owing to the breakout season of smart phones, sales are expected go up another USD 14 billion by the end of the holiday season.
Setback to Pharmaceutical Sales Online
V.G Somani, the Drugs Controller General of India, had directed all States and Union Territories to ban the sale of medicines through unlicensed platforms online. The current narrative depicts the effect that online sales has had on the traditional drug stores. The States and Union Territories have been urged to take action if drugs are being sold online. The discounts offered by online sites are greater than margins earned by traditional drug stores. Furthermore, it was argued that instances where one prescription would be used to buy medicines more than once as well as an abuse of the same without proper verification would increase. Sales growth for traditional store pharmacies has averaged a growth of 8.2 percent a year after 2015-16 when sales grew by 12.3 percent.
Apple Implements Scheme of Differentiation
With firm competition from Spotify, which seems to be aligned with the success of artists, Apple Music runs the risk of being viewed the world over as overly capitalistic in structure owing to the array of products and services provided by the company. In an attempt to be seen as more than a money making entity and to be seen as an ally to musicians and music in general, the music giant hopes to show respect to the artists by handing out the first Apple Music Awards. The hope seems to be that the winners of the awards and other artists will begin to view Apple as a true musical ally.
Furthermore, Apple Music is making concert streaming a more central part of its strategy. The Apple Music Awards Concert featuring Billie Eilish was streamed on the app live and will also be available on demand later for the subscribers of the service. This is definitely additive to the music ecosystem that Apple Music is currently providing and could provide stiff competition to YouTube which incorporates the element of music with video and streaming of concerts like Coachella.
Instagram to Verify Age of New Users
Instagram, after 9 years of social media presence has finally undertaken the responsibility of protecting children from the problems that come intertwined with the use of social media. New users will now be asked to enter their age and users under 13 will not be allowed to register. Instagram however will turn a blind eye to the 1 Billion users it already has. The defence taken by the social media giant was that they wanted their platform to transcend all boundaries and allow users from all different ages to express themselves, which sounds like a cushioning statement at best. It has failed to take responsibility of all the underage users currently on the platform as an acknowledgement will result in a USD 40,000 fine per violation as prescribed by the Child Online Protection Privacy Act. Though Instagram has taken the first step to protect underage users, it is merely conforming to the standard. Many however feel that, as the service is so alluring to the younger audience, Instagram must set higher standards and not merely follow the herd.
BBC’s CBeebies Now Available on Voot Kids App
Voot Kids will now have shows such as Hey Duggee, Go Jetters and Dinopaws available on the watch section. Voot Kids is setting to burst the envelope offering watch, read, listen and learn segments for Children. It has only further fortified its visual library by engaging with BBC studios. This application is aimed at simultaneously increasing the learning and entertainment aspects through the visual and sound representations. The app is meant to provide a curative learning experience with fun and entertainment attached as indispensable elements. Parents who seek to try and infuse learning into the entertainment aspect owing to the interest of children in cartoons and colourful animations can greatly benefit from this collaboration as BBC Studios is a pioneer in the entertainment industry and has been present for a substantial period of time.
Michelin Guide, Trip Advisor and its Subsidiary: A Strategic Alliance
The Michelin Guide, US-based Restaurant and Travel website platform Trip advisor and its subsidiary, The Fork have entered into a content and licensing agreement. The collaboration is aimed at bringing Michelin Guide’s Chefs and Restaurants into the view of the large user base of Trip Advisor. It is further aimed at increasing exposure of quality high end restaurants to the public offering better dining experiences. The Fork’s advanced booking systems will also help increase the number of reservations at Michelin Guide’s Restaurants. Michelin has also further agreed to divest its UK booking platform Booktable to the Fork, adding 14,000 restaurants to the Fork in addition to the 67,000 restaurants already available on the platform. This will further expand the Fork’s presence into UK, Germany, Austria, Finland and Norway Markets.
Jay-Z’s Music back on Spotify after Two Year Hiatus
Jay-Z’s catalogue of music is finally back on Spotify after he removed his collection on Spotify in 2017. This was attributed to his ownership of the Norweigian Company Tidal, which was considered to be competition to Spotify at the time. While his catalogue of hits returned to platforms such as Apple Music very quickly, it has taken two years for the reputed Hip-Hop sensation to be back on Spotify. As of now the deal which was required to lure him back is still undisclosed, however the fans do not seem to mind as they can finally listen to the musical legend on their favourite music streaming platform.
Authored and compiled by Neharika Vhatkar (Associate, BananaIP Counsels) and Shashank Venkat (Legal Intern)
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