You have had a diversified portfolio of leadership roles in leading OTT platforms and content studios in India. Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
The world of media always excited me. Even as a child I was glued to the television set and wanted to understand & create content for the same. I have been fortunate to follow that dream.
My career journey started with Big Synergy Media where I got to learn the craft of creating tentpole non-fiction shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati, Dus Ka Dum and many more. In 2015, when digital content consumption was at a nascent stage in India, we set up the country’s first home-grown OTT platform – Alt Balaji. There, as a core founding member, I understood the essence of running an OTT platform.
Post launching the OTT platform, I joined Applause Entertainment, India’s first Content and IP creation studio, as a core founding member. At Applause, I donned many hats (Acquisition, Legal, Commercial, Operations & Talent) which further enhanced my understanding of setting-up, building and execution of a Content and IP studio.
Additionally, at Applause I also got the opportunity to set-up the international base from inception wherein I got a chance to bring several successful global scripted formats like Fauda, Call my Agent, Luther, Criminal Justice, The Office, Hostages, Unreal, Your Honour, and many more shows and book adaptations for the Indian market.
Currently, at IN10 Media Network, I lead strategy and development for the 8 business brands across linear TV, digital and production. In close to two years, we have expanded from one channel, EPIC, to 8 business brands, I’m proud to be a part of this expansive journey.
Content for television must evolve and keep pace with the changing taste of the audience. Your thoughts on this?
Television has a large base of loyal audiences. However, the digital boom during pandemic did digress a percentage of that audience towards the world of OTT.
While television continues to rely on the hit formula(s) of the past two decades, I think it’s time to tweak the content strategy for television.
In today's dynamic time, to retain the successful and stable position that television enjoys in the world of entertainment, then its content will need to evolve keeping in mind the changing dynamics of the consumer needs and preferences.
There is an increased affinity in India to local languages? How do you intend to cater to this Indian audience?
We live in a ‘glocal’ world by which I mean local content with a global appeal. In order to appeal to the local sensibilities, content needs to be produced in the local language.
With the diverse spread of 28 States and 8 Union Territories, India becomes a market producing content in multiple languages like Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati etc. Hence, in the recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in investment in regional language content.
At IN10, we have content available in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu and Bhojpuri across platforms.
Due to shifting focus towards OTT, do you think theatrical releases will come down in the coming years?
I believe that every medium has its USP and people will consume good content on any platform.
Audiences go to theatres for a larger-than-life experience – be it a bag of popcorn or 3D effects. It is a source of entertainment which connects family, friends, colleagues.
Have people stopped going to restaurants because of the boom in food-delivery apps? No.
I’m confident that as soon as theatres will reopen, people will flock to the big screen.
The Best Businesses Are Built Around Passion. What are your views on this?
I’m a big fan of the quote by Zig Ziglar.
“You don’t build a business. You build people and then people build the business”
If people are financially invested in a business it will see a stable growth, but if people are emotionally invested in it, then it will grow by leaps and bounds.
I have been fortunate to work with some of the best bosses in the M&E industry; their passion and determination for the craft has always been an inspiration to me in my professional journey.
On a personal note, what have been the highlights of your career so far? Your key learnings?
At Alt Balaji and Applause Entertainment, as a core founding member, I was a part of launching the country’s first home-grown OTT platform and country’s first Content & IP studio.
I’m proud to say that at Applause, I got a chance to bring several scripted global formats for adaption to the India market for the first time in the digital space.
The numerous hats I wore across all the companies I worked in have helped me shape my career and reach where I am today. From an assistant director to a Network VP, the journey has been real.
Every company and person, I have interacted with has left an impression on me and I hope to do the same on others. I have been in the media and entertainment industry for over 13 years with experience across television, digital & production, and I’m happy to say there has never been a dull moment for me and the student in me refuses to die!