Jan 24, 2020

India Conference at Harvard, February 2020

Dear Friends, 

We are excited to let you know that our Founder & Director, Dr. Brij Kothari has been invited to speak at India Conference, which will be held at Harvard next month on 15-16, February 2020. 

The India Conference is one of the largest student-run conferences focusing on India in the USA. It is hosted at the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School by the graduate students of Harvard University. This year marks the 17th anniversary of this event. 

The conference will bring together business leaders, entertainment professionals, government officials, philanthropists, and many other leaders to engage in a conversation about India's path to global leadership. Our 2019 conference had 1000+ attendees and was a resounding success.

Brij Kothari will be speaking on 16th February at Harvard Business School, in the session titled Technology & Education from 03:00 PM - 03:50 PM. 

For more information visit: 

Conference information: https://indiaconference.com/

Brij Kothar's profile: https://indiaconference.com/Speakers/Details.php?xcd=MTMx


Best wishes, 

PlanetRead Team 

Oct 28, 2019

PlanetRead featured in "The Hindu"

Woman watching SLS program in rural India
Woman watching SLS program in rural India

Last month on 8th September 2019, PlanetRead turned 15. We started with Same Language Subtitling (SLS) in 1996 as a small research project Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A) in Ahmedabad, India. Since then, SLS has given reading practice to up to 200 million people per week. Independent studies have shown that regular exposure to SLS for just 30 mins per week can make a person functionally literate. To know more visit: https://www.planetread.org/slsgroup

3 days after our anniversary, on 11th September 2019, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) in India mandated captioning for TV programming in order to make it accessible to the Deaf or Hard of Hearing population.

Read more about MIB's mandate here: https://www.livemint.com/industry/media/i-b-ministry-announces-accessibility-standards-for-the-hearing-impaired-1568210103296.html 

To commemorate this announcement by MIB, which marked a very important milestone in our journey our Founder, Dr. Brij Kothari has written an op-ed in The Hindu, a well-respected and popular newspaper in India. 

Here's an excerpt from this op-ed: 

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) recently mandated captioning for TV programming in order to make it accessible to the Deaf or Hard of Hearing population. The decision comes nearly four decades after the United States first implemented captioning for the same purpose. India’s phase-wise implementation plan requires all 800 plus channels to start this on at least one programme a week, beginning August 15, 2019, Independence Day. By 2020, 10% of all programming must have captions; the figure is to grow by 10% every year, covering up to 50% of all programming by 2025. 

The policy impetus for this decision is rooted in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which made “sub-titles” on TV a right. The major challenge for the Ministry now is to ensure compliance by all channels, state and private, as set in the time table. 

Captioning on TV for the aurally-challenged is not new. Many countries have followed the U.S.’s lead. Still, India’s foray into TV captioning is significant for two reasons. It is one of the first major countries in the Global South to embrace captioning for media access, Brazil being the other one. But India is the first country where the importance of captioning, or Same Language Subtitling (SLS) has been established for mass reading literacy. 

To read the rest of the article, please visit: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-larger-picture-about-inclusive-programming/article29385941.ece 

The policy mandated by MIB marks a crucial point in our journey. We are currently looking for support to run the SLS program not only for providing reading practice to millions but also to set an industry benchmark for quality subtitling, which we have researched and implemented for over 20 years.


Jul 30, 2019

Oracle Giving supports production of more AniBooks

Children watching an AniBook
Children watching an AniBook

Dear Friends,

We are happy to announce that Oracle has extended its support for the production of AniBooks i.e. animated stories powered by Same Language Subtitling (SLS).

Last year with Oracle’s support, we produced the following 5 AniBooks in English and Hindi: 

  1. A Cloud of Trash
  2. The Monk's New Shawl
  3. Pishi Caught in a Storm
  4. Rain Rain
  5. Did and the Colorful Treasure

Watch all five English AniBooks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5-Zg1SrGII&list=PLPDzF0B97OtFboNoA4HxKsv0G5n6MXtHf

Watch them in Hindi here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7141x157Uw&list=PL_YQntlygLzYdYzXdx8lOy1Ljff7qwgRz

We have partnered with BookBox, a social enterprise born out of PlanetRead’s SLS innovation. BookBox has been creating AniBooks with SLS and is using its YouTube channel to promote reading. All AniBooks are all available free on BookBox’s YouTube channel, which has over 100 million views and more than 500K subscribers.

AniBooks are platform agnostic and available in the form of CDs, DVDs, internet downloads, mobile Apps and videos that can be played on TVs too. Usually produced in English the first time, they can be easily converted into any language. They currently available in a mix of over 45 languages (15+ Indian and 30+ international).

Currently, we are in the process of identifying the stories that we will be taking up for this project. The next phase will involve the main production stage i.e. artwork creation, animation, music composition, narration and addition of SLS. The final phase of the project will be to make all AniBooks available on YouTube and distribute them via other educational programs run by other ed-tech companies.

For more information about PlanetRead’s work:

President Bill Clinton speaks about PlanetRead: http://tinyurl.com/39epgrm

Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster: http://youtu.be/K7XDMzsLd5o 

Coverage by SBS Dateline, Australia https://youtu.be/tOsWToI2PIw

Visit http://www.planetread.org

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