Disney finally surpassed Netflix in overall streaming subscribers (at 221 million across Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, including Live TV), but it had to cut its long-term subscriber forecast—the price to pay for losing IPL.
To be fair, Disney+ Hotstar (the service for India and other Asian countries) alone added 8.3 million subscribers in the quarter ended June, more than half of the total 14.4 million Disney+ had gained globally.
While analysts predict that Hotstar will lose about half of its paid customers due to the loss of IPL, the streaming giant has been actively ramping up its catalogue and investing in local content. Plus, there is its arsenal of Marvel content, the Disney and Pixar offerings, and HBO shows as well.
So, to quote Shah Rukh Khan, “Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost.”
Meanwhile, San Francisco metro’s newest employee at the El Cerrito del Norte station is making the headlines as the Bay Area Rapid Transit system hired a 5-year-old hawk (yes, a bird)—named Pac-Man—as a station guard.
His job? To protect commuters from pigeons.
Mobility with a focus on health
E-bicycles may not have as many players in the market but their fitness-focused benefits are prompting many users to make the switch. Plus, they are cheaper, energy-efficient, and emission-free.
Founded in 2019 by Viveak M Palanivasan and Sakthivigneshwar R, Voltrix Mobility launched Tresor—an electric bicycle specially designed for urban transport—this January.
Pedalling for health:
- The Chennai-based startup is working on a vertically integrated platform for e-bicycles for consumers and B2B delivery needs.
- Tresor can go up to 80 km on a single charge. It would cost only Rs 3 per charge, and charging can take up to 4 hours.
- 60% of the e-bicycle’s reliability, performance and user experience depend on electronics such as battery management system (BMS), motor controller, and sensor system.
Using solar dryers to reduce agri waste
On average, India ends up wasting 30-40% of produce every year due to various reasons, an added burden on farmers. To curb some of this waste, Varun Raheja in 2019 launched Solar Food Processing Pvt Ltd, which manufactures affordable solar dryers that help farmers dry excess produce.
This, in turn, helps farmers create and sell value-added products such as dried tomatoes, onion, ginger, mangoes, watermelon, and rose petals.
Control the waste:
- The solar dryers are made locally. Raheja has partnered with vendors that manufacture different parts as per Varun’s designs.
- Prices range from Rs 10,000 for domestic use to up to Rs 5 lakh for mid-sized products. The company has installed 1,600 solar dryers to date.
- It also buys the dried items from farmers, sorting and checking for quality before packaging and supplying to the end consumer.
Art and culture in the metaverse
Art, culture, and a little bit of Web3. That is the premise for Spatial, an app trending on the Apple App Store, with its promise of virtual living room conversations, community hangouts, and the ability to create your own art gallery.
Self-styled as a “metaverse for culture”, it is built by the New York-based Spatial, which raised $25 million in 2021.
Work in progress:
- It has a rating of 4.3 on Google Play Store with 100K downloads, and 4.6 on iOS (from 30 ratings).
- Users can browse curated NFT galleries, as well as interact with others by voice, or by using emoticons like waving, clapping, dancing, and even ‘churning’.
- From time to time, the app creators host special events that allow you to meet and socialise with other users.