CAI trims cotton crop estimate for 2018-19 to 340 lakh bales

The Cotton Association of India on December 7 lowered its November estimate of the cotton crop by three lakh bales to 340.25 lakh bales for the 2018-19 season.

The decline in cotton crop estimate is mainly due to unfavourable weather conditions, CAI said in a statement.

Last month, the association had estimated cotton output at 343.25 lakh bales for the 2018-19 season, which began on October 1.

CAI reduced the crop estimate for Gujarat by three lakh bales, Maharashtra by one lakh bales and Telangana by 1.50 lakh bales.

However, it increased the crop estimate for Haryana by one lakh bales and upper Rajasthan, lower Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh by 50,000 bales each.

The association has projected total cotton supply during October and November at 95 lakh bales, which consists of the arrival of 70 lakh bales up to November 30, imports of two lakh bales and the opening stock at the beginning of the season as on October 1, that the CAI has estimated at 23 lakh bales.

Further, the association has estimated cotton consumption during October and November at 54 lakh bales, while the export shipment of cotton up to November 30, at 10 lakh bales.

The stock at the end of November 2018 is estimated at 31 lakh bales, including 27 lakh bales with textile mills and the remaining four lakh bales estimated to be held by Cotton Corporation Of India (CCI) and others (MNCs, traders, ginners among others).

The total cotton supply till end of the season is estimated at 390.25 lakh bales of 170 kg each, which includes opening stock of 23 lakh bales at the beginning of the season, cotton crop for the season at 340.25 lakh bales and imports of 27 lakh bales, which are estimated to be higher by 12 lakh bales, compared with the import figure of 15 lakh bales estimated for the 2017-18 crop year.

The CAI has estimated domestic consumption for the season at 324 lakh bales, while the exports at 53 lakh bales, which is lower by 16 lakh bales against the exports of 69 lakh bales estimated during last year.

The carry-over stock at the end of the 2018-19 season is estimated at 13.25 lakh bales.


Why Finance And Innovation Are Perfect Business Partners

The importance of innovation is oft-discussed – in media, books and, perhaps most importantly, in the boardroom. What’s little discussed, however, is how to execute on that innovation and who to partner with to get it done. At Blue Shield of California (BSC), a symbiotic relationship has formed between the finance and innovation teams, highlighting the benefits of working closely together for business efficiency. This month I spoke with BSC CFO, Sandra Clarke, to learn more about her perspective on innovation, how she works with the chief innovation officer and why finance and innovation ultimately go hand in hand.

Jeffrey Thomson: You recently assumed the role of CFO at Blue Shield of California (BSC), previously serving as CFO at Daiichi Sankyo’s U.S. subsidiary, a global pharmaceutical company. What do you like about working in the healthcare industry? What unique challenges does the finance and accounting function face in this competitive, highly regulated industry?

Sandra Clarke: I really like being able to contribute to the health and well-being of our society and the opportunity to innovate in an industry that touches every person in our country. Our mission at Blue Shield is to provide access to high quality healthcare that is worthy of our family and friends, and that is sustainably affordable. We have a lot of work to do to achieve that goal. But I like a challenge, and I’m energized by what lies ahead.

Being part of a nonprofit healthcare organization also really resonated with me. We are driven by the needs of our members, not the returns for shareholders. We voluntarily cap our net income at two percent of revenue, returning anything above that to our customers and the community. From a finance perspective, this somewhat limits our access to capital for the investments we need to make to change the way care is delivered, but there are also benefits. Because we are focused on the satisfaction of our members and not on the satisfaction of investors, we can make long-term investments that will improve the member experience, healthcare quality and affordability without having to worry as much about their initial impact on quarterly earnings.


Lionsgate’s ‘Wonder’ Tops DVD, Blu-ray Disc Sales and Rental Charts

AUGGIE (Jacob Tremblay) and JACK WILL (Noah Jupe) in WONDER. Photo courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment.

Lionsgate topped the national home video sales charts the week ended Feb. 17 with “Wonder,” the acclaimed drama about a child with Treacher Collins syndrome – a genetic disorder characterized by deformities of the ears, eyes, cheekbones, and chin – who is trying desperately to fit in.

The film debuted at No. 1 on NPD VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, the film earned more than $131 million in U.S. theaters (and $290 million worldwide) on a budget of $20 million.

Universal Pictures’ “A Bad Moms Christmas” slipped to No. 2 on both charts its second week in stores, after having bowed at No. 1 the prior week.

The Sony Pictures’ firefighter drama “Only the Brave” slipped to No. 3 on the overall chart and No. 6 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart after debuting in second and third place, respectively, the previous week.

Top 10 Home Media Magazine rental chart for the week ended 2/18/18:

1. Wonder (new)
2. A Bad Moms Christmas
3. Roman J. Israel, Esq. (new)
4. Only the Brave
5. Geostorm
6. Blade Runner 2049
7. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween
8. It (2017)
9. American Made
10. Jigsaw

For complete sales and rental charts, visit


Marketing and IT Departments Need to Get In Sync to Best Capitalize on Mobile Technology

IT decision-makers report a much higher importance of mobile apps than their marketing counterparts.
Getty Images

While the decade between 2007 and 2017 marked the genesis and maturation of the mobile industry, technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to accelerate this evolution even faster in the decade to come, according to Adobe—and it found marketers may not be as prepared for the coming changes as their counterparts in IT.

That’s according to Adobe’s latest report, The Next Mobile Decade, which includes a survey of nearly 500 marketing and IT professionals’ priorities and investments in mobile.

Adobe said most respondents have a centralized mobile leadership team, which means mobile strategy is no longer an afterthought. That being said, there’s still potential misalignment between marketers and that must be reconciled if brands want to capitalize on mobile technology and derive maximum benefit for their customers.

Marketers at least seem to view mobile websites as slightly more important than apps: Sixty-nine percent of marketers and 84 percent of IT professionals said apps are extremely or very important, whereas 81 percent of marketers and 83 percent of IT professionals said mobile websites are extremely or very important.

“IT decision-makers report a much higher importance of mobile apps than their marketing counterparts,” Adobe said. “This year we saw a year-over-year decline in the importance of mobile apps and mobile websites for marketers, with more ranking them as ‘very’ important versus ‘extremely.’ This might suggest that marketers are beginning to see mobile as a central component of an integrated strategy and no longer the hot new thing.”

Both groups said they’re somewhat more likely to focus their mobile efforts on apps over the mobile web with the top reason being broader reach and customer preference.

“At least two-thirds of marketers and IT decision-makers report apps being an extension of their web strategy,” Adobe said. “The primary functions and use cases for apps vary, but customer loyalty is still key to both audiences.”

Both IT pros and marketers said roughly one-third of their technology spend goes to apps or mobile sites—and retail companies report the highest overall tech spend for apps and mobile websites, with 42 percent of their budgets going toward apps and 45 percent toward mobile websites.

More than half of marketers said at least a quarter of their digital marketing budget is allocated to mobile acquisition, with an average of 34 percent. Adobe said a balanced approach to
 media—including paid, earned and owned—works best. But, for apps,
 paid media is chosen most often to drive
 customer acquisition, whereas owned media is preferred
 for mobile websites.

Adobe found IT professionals are more likely than marketers to
 measure app engagement and usage over time and said marketers “seem to be missing an important opportunity to learn more about their customers and their marketing efforts.”

Adobe also found IT professionals are more concerned than marketers about leveraging AI and other emerging technologies.

When asked how important leveraging AI will be to improve the mobile experience in the next three years, IT professionals said they are more concerned (53 percent) than marketers (34 percent).

Adobe found a similar split when it came to AR and VR experiences and the Internet of Things (IoT) and also that IT professionals are more likely to have a defined strategy for deployment or limited releases and tests in location-based marketing, IoT, AI, near-field communication (NFC) for content/offer delivery, personal assistants, chatbots, mixed reality, AR and VR.

“What has happened is that marketing—becoming increasingly digital—deals more with analytics and the need for real-time automation,” an Adobe rep said in an email. “The net effect is that marketing now becomes an important stakeholder when it comes to IT tech purchasing. It requires that the two teams work together, to implement and manage the tech stack that every company has. The two teams have to work together to drive having a clear/comprehensive view of the customer and be able to deliver a consistent experience on every touch point.”


10 Ways Blockchain Could Change The Marketing Industry This Year

Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency. Ethereum. These related buzzwords have been in just about every business publication lately, and it seems that everyone wants to learn more about blockchain, the decentralized ledger technology behind it all.

Experts predict that 2018 will be a huge year for blockchain, noting that the technology is poised to dramatically change a wide range of existing industries. What does the rise of blockchain mean for digital marketing? We asked members of the Forbes AgencyCouncil to share their thoughts.

Images courtesy of FAC members.

FAC members weigh in on the blockchain.

1. Brands Will Be Able To Better Target Consumers

Like many emerging technologies, it is very early to truly understand how blockchain will impact marketing. It has the ability to remove the middleman in digital advertising. However, that may take years to displace Google and Facebook, if ever. Because of blockchain’s transparency, it will initially help brands build trust with consumers. – Lisa Allocca, Red Javelin Communications

2. Malicious Ads Will Grow

JavaScript-based cryptocurrency miners have already been found in the wild, wasting visitors’ CPU power to send “coins” back to website owners. 2018 will see an explosion of this type of shady ad to top-tier sites, especially as “on by default” ad blockers become more popular. Website owners will be searching for new ways to monetize but must balance the ethical use of their visitors’ resources. – Marc Hardgrove, The HOTH

3. Privacy Concerns Will Be Resolved And Advertiser Trust Will Increase

Giving users control over the amount of personal information they reveal appeases privacy concerns from the user perspective and promotes social responsibility from the advertiser’s side. Studies routinely show that if you ask permission first, users are more than willing to give you personal information if there’s a reward in turn. That reward is paying users directly to view ads. – Kristopher Jones,

4. Decentralization Will Remove The Media Middlemen

Marketing and advertising startups in the blockchain space are already popping up. These aim to tokenize user behavior and offer a sort of credit system between advertisers and the consumer, which completely removes the massive middlemen managing big media. As we continue to decentralize our world, this is inevitable. Be smart. Move away from being a middleman. Be the source. – Trevor Chapman, Trevor Chapman Group

5. The Fraud Verification Industry Will Grow

Advertising online is complex when it comes to ensuring media is bought and delivered as intended. Blockchain will make this more transparent. I predict that fraud verification companies will, or have already begun, the blockchain process to evaluate how we can stop bots and fraudsters from stealing ad dollars from brands. Blockchain will allow us to verify who, how and where ads run. – Ashley Walters, Empower MediaMarketing

6. Delivery And Reporting Will Transform

The first marketing area affected last year by blockchain, even on a small scale, was video content delivery. That will extend beyond video to more content producers this year. They will love how they can control how their assets are delivered and ensure it’s properly tracked. Then, once advertisers experience verified delivery and reporting, it will be required. – Todd Earwood, MoneyPath Marketing

7. Advertising Will Become More Transparent

Marketers love to publish case studies of their outliers that are getting amazing results. The gradual implementation of blockchain will provide transparency on marketing claims by every journey having the ability to be analyzed and validated. This will even lead to the ability to also negotiate contracts and accept terms based on those results. – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

8. Influencers Will Become Fewer In Number But Better In Quality

Influencer marketing campaigns are going to change dramatically. With blockchain, marketers will be able to see if the influencer’s followers are true people or simply bots. Essentially, it will reduce the number of influencers but leave the top influencers at the top. – Loren Baker, Foundation Digital

9. Publishers Will Become More Accountable

Technologies like Ethereum make publishers more accountable as transactions become more transparent. Advertisers can see exactly where their traffic is going. Ad data is paramount — it’s shocking how much information we don’t have. Measuring impressions doesn’t cut it. Blockchain technology will unveil everything, decreasing fraud and increasing attribution. – Michael Weinhouse, Logical Position

10. It Will Solve Numerous Industry Issues

There are blockchain projects being created that might provide solutions around payment processing or fraud prevention within the ad exchange environment. Other areas of interest blockchain technology could solve for are measurement, invoice reconciliation and publisher/advertiser transactions. – Chad Recchia, Awlogy


Code of practice on junk food marketing is worthless

Recent dubious marketing tactics by junk-food manufacturers included a competition to win your height in pizza to mark National Pizza Day.

Recent dubious marketing tactics by junk-food manufacturers included a competition to win your height in pizza to mark National Pizza Day.

 It’s hard right now to imagine future generations looking back on the State’s response to our childhood obesity crisis as anything less than a catastrophic dereliction of duty.

Recent State-funded research estimates that 85,000 of today’s children on the island of Ireland will die prematurely due to overweight and obesity – more than twice the entire Irish death toll in the first World War.

Yes, there has been significant progress, such as the impending introduction of sugar-sweetened drinks tax. But this is nowhere near enough to change the future and alter our current course towards perhaps the most fatal failure of political will, and of our children, in the history of the State.

This shouldn’t be taken as an attack on the Department of Health or the Health Service Executive, where those leading the fight against obesity care as passionately as anyone can about turning the tide. The deficiency of the policy response to date is largely down to a broader failure of government in areas including education, the environment, communications where responsibility for vital elements of health policy is devolved, along with other powerful areas of government where vested interests can find champions to protect them.

A cursory look at the latest litany of dubious marketing tactics includes competitions for children to get their faces on to packets of a well-known crisp brand

The Government’s latest initiative to tackle a big-ticket driver of obesity – a code of practice to restrict non-broadcast junk food marketing – smacks of a policy approach more acceptable outside than within the walls of the Department of Health. Because it’s a plan more likely to safeguard the multinational processed food industry from the requirements of public health than protecting the public’s health from the excesses of junk-food marketing.

Voluntary code

The problem is it’s a voluntary code. The department knows well these just don’t work, not least from its own regulatory impact analysis of the Alcohol Bill, a succession of failed UK codes and the current Irish advertising industry standards which have not diminished the relentless online targeting of children. A cursory look at the latest litany of dubious marketing tactics includes competitions for children to get their faces on to packets of a well-known crisp brand and another to win your height in pizza to mark National Pizza Day.


The New Sony Xperia XZ2 Has Tools for Small Business Content Marketers

The New Sony Xperia XZ2 Made for Creators

Sony (NYSE: SNE) announced the Xperia XZ2 at Mobile World Congress 2018, where the prevailing theme amongst smartphone manufacturers this year has been cameras and entertainment.

Hideyuki Furumi, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for Sony Mobile Communications, explained in a press release, “If entertainment is your priority, then our new Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are your smartphones. We have pushed Sony’s boundaries even further with our new products for movie recording, viewing, and music listening.”

However, for content creators, particularly small business marketers, the XZ2 also has some noteworthy features which may persuade them to consider it as their daily driver, especially if the price is right.

The Xperia, Sony’s flagship phone, comes in two different versions. The XZ2 and the XZ2 Compact have been designed with quality cameras, display and audio technology content creators involved in small business marketers can take advantage of.

For small businesses operating in a creative field, the XZ2 is a smartphone packed with powerful features for creating and consuming content.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Specs

The specs both phones share include: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage expandable up to 400GB with MicroSD card, 18:9 Full HD+ (1080×2160) HDR display, TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, 19MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, fingerprint scanner on the back, and Android 8.0 Oreo.

The XZ2 has a 5.7-inch display, Dynamic Vibration system, QI Wireless charging, 3180mAh battery, and is covered in a 3D Gorilla Glass surface.

The compact version has a 5-inch display, polycarbonate finish and a 2870mAh battery.

The standout features of both phones are fast connection speeds (up to 1.2Gbps) with second-generation Gigabit LTE, 4K HDR Movie recording, 960 fps Super slow motion video (FHD/HD), Predictive Capture (motion/smile), 3D Creator, Movie Creator and AR effect.

Price and Availability

The Xperia line is not the first brand customers think of when they are in the market for a smartphone. But if Sony prices this phone right — meaning much lower than the $1,000 price tag of other flagship phones — it has a great chance of getting more recognition.

Sony hasn’t announced how much these phones will cost when they become available globally in March, so a decision on whether small businesses can fit this device in their budget must wait. However, when the XZ1 launched it was $699 and the XZ1 Compact came in at $599. So if the latest Sony phones come in anywhere near this, they will definitely get the attention of many businesses and consumers alike.


Direct tax collection rises 19.5% to Rs7.44 trillion in Apr-Feb FY18

The gross tax collections, before adjusting for refunds, rose 14.5% to Rs8.83 trillion during the 11-month period of the current financial year. Photo: Mint

The gross tax collections, before adjusting for refunds, rose 14.5% to Rs8.83 trillion during the 11-month period of the current financial year. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The direct tax collection has risen 19.5% to Rs7.44 trillion in the April-February period of the current fiscal, buoyed by a strong pick up in corporate tax.

The net direct tax collection represents 74.3% of the Rs10.05 trillion as per the revised estimates given in Union Budget 2018-19, presented in Parliament last month.

“The provisional figures of direct tax collections up to February, 2018 show that net collections are at Rs7.44 trillion which is 19.5% higher than the net collections for the corresponding period of last year,” a finance ministry statement said.

The gross collections, before adjusting for refunds, rose 14.5% to Rs8.83 trillion during 11 month period of the current financial year. Refunds amounting to Rs1.39 trillion have been issued till February. The growth rate for net corporate tax collections stood at 19.7% while for personal income tax is 18.6%.


Small Businesses Using YouTube Live Updates will Soon See New Features

Youtube Live Updates Captions and Chat to Help Creators Better Interact With Their Audience

YouTube has announced three updates to its live streaming service giving live broadcasters, including small business marketers, more options to engage with their audiences.

The new features give content creators and their audiences more options, whether an event is live or after the fact. The goal, according to YouTube, is to increase the level of interaction between content creators and their audiences allowing them to communicate in real time.

YouTube is used by businesses of all sizes to showcase the products and services they provide. For content creators, who are classified as small businesses, the platform is used to monetize the content they generate. And all these content creators rely on engaging with their audiences to maximize the return on their investments.

The new features YouTube has announced will improve the experience viewers have when watching live streams too.

YouTube Live Updates Captions and Chat

The first update uses an automatic speech recognition technology to provide automatic English captions to live streams. If your small business can’t afford a professional caption service, this is a great feature to make your streams more accessible, especially for people who are hearing impaired.

The captions are also important because of the amount of silent video that’s watched, especially on social media. The system is not 100 percent accurate but is an option.

The second update makes it possible for your audience to replay the chats you have on live streams. This lets them follow the conversations people were having during the live stream even after it is over. The chat stream appears just as it did during the event alongside the video.

The third update gives creators geo-tagging capabilities when they are using their mobile device to stream live and upload videos. Users can then see exactly where the event is taking place if they decide they want to visit or know the location. A location filter can also be used on the search results page to find other videos from a specific place.

Enabling Live Streaming

If you want to stream a live event and you still haven’t used this feature on YouTube, you first have to enable your channel.

You start by confirming your channel is verified and you have no live stream restrictions in the last 90 days. Once you do this, you can enable live streaming by going to the Creator Studio tools and clicking the Live Streaming tab. You are now set to start creating live video. However, it can take up to 24 hours for the feature’s setup to install. After the first event, your streams will go live instantly.