Rohinton Maloo, born May 11, 1960, passed away in the Mumbai terror attacks last week. Maloo was Managing Director of CuttingEdgeMedia -MediaScope Associates. Many knew him as the visionary, who saw things much ahead of many others. He pioneered media sales representation in India; was one of the first who expected satellite television to take off in India in a scale that would change the media space as the industry had known it then; recognised the importance of domains like kids’ entertainment, sports and niche programming and brought many specialty magazines like MAD to India. Over 25 years, Maloo’s contribution to the Indian media industry had been across domains.
His CuttingEdgeMedia was originally a Zee Telefilms-owned company. In early 2000, Zee Telefilms assigned Maloo the task to re-launch the revenue stream for their channels Zee English (now Zee Cafe) and Zee MGM. Subsequently, he bought out CuttingEdgeMedia from Zee Telefilms. By his own admission, Maloo believed in running a ‘tight ship’. In a conversation with exchange4media reporters once, he had said, “The mantra for us has always been ‘work smart, work very hard and multitask’.”
Over the last eight years, Maloo launched and re-launched TV channels, radio, specialty magazines, web business, retail media and mobile media. Technology and digital media – whether PC, online or wireless – was a domain that Maloo dabbled in since the early 80’s, and professed in any media future conversation that one would have with him. He had once said to exchange4media on this: “I just put my passion to professional use for myself and my nation”.
When asked once on what were some of the personal learning that Maloo had taken from the media domain, he had said, “Two important ones: Always be two steps ahead of all whom you encounter – both with domain knowledge and ability to implement. And always remember in sales, as you run up the steps of success, be careful how hard you tread on them. As sometimes you are bound to have to walk down a few of them. You will need those steps to be in place at that time, or else you could be history.”
He would often say to the younger colleagues of the industry: “If you think you know it, be rest assured someone else knows it better. And if you don’t know it, then you must be very quick to learn it”, and that is one insight of how Maloo thought and why he had made a mark in the lives of many.
Maloo had worked with several international organisations, who were clients of CuttingEdgeMedia, and many in India that included names like HUL, Paras, Samsung, Videocon, Tata to Bata and so on. Maloo belong to the generation that has seen names like GroupM and Star establish and evolve in India. Many counted on him for advice from that experience.
His loss is an irreplaceable one for the industry and his team, but more importantly, for the people who knew him and who had become used to relying on him for his support and guidance.
There is a Prayer meeting organised for Rohinton Maloo on December 2, 2008 in Delhi. The meeting is at the Chinmaya Mission, 89 Lodhi Road, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi 110003. The meeting is from 4.30 pm to 6.30 pm.