Frank Brown, president, MTV Networks, Asia Pacific has an additional task at hand until MTV Networks India has a new CEO in place, the position left vacant with the departure of Alex Kuruvilla.
Filling the gap, as the interim CEO for India operations, Brown has chalked up growth plans that include venturing into consumer products and focus on digital media in addition to launching channels for DTH space and testing new genres in India. “We are also open to acquisitions,” says Brown.
Brown would be working very closely Cyrus Oshidar, content and communication head for MTV Networks, and Sanjev Hiremath, senior VP, Network Development, South Asia and licensing and merchandising. Apart from this, talent from international MTV offices will also be brought in to help the core team in various functions.
“We do this very often,” says Brown, “Bringing people in India and taking people from here to other countries. Presently, Nigel Robbins from MTV Australia is on loan and we are bringing in others as well.”
As is known, in the present state, MTV Networks is looking for both CEO and COO. Not that this has slowed its growth plans in any way. “In India, we have already grown from one channel to three channels – MTV, VH1 and Nick. In the next phase of development, we want to continue to expand and deepen the roots of MTV and investing in Nick seriously. As for VH1, the channel has started off well and we want to grow it further.”
In addition to these, MTV is in the process of launching two ‘wingmen’. “Digital Media will be a key area of focus now. It makes more sense for us, as we are already dealing with the target group (TG) – youth and kids – who are the direct target for this media. For us, digital exposure and new media business could turn to be bigger than the core TV business in the next four or five years,” expresses Brown.
The next wingman is consumer products and merchandising. “Internationally, it is great business for us,” divulges Brown, “With the growth of organised retail in India and our TV businesses expanding, the timing is perfect.”
The channel’s intention is give its brands the 360-degree treatment. While MTV will make its presence felt in products related to music and fashion technology, Nick will be connected with toys and games.
However, for MTV, these units comprise “business as usual”. And this is not all, the network has other expansion plans as well. “We are actively looking at other channels, brands and properties to invest in. Another area we are keen on is a small collection of DTH channels. We also want to try one or two TV genres that we don’t have and explore opportunities for home grown channels, using India as the test space,” Brown elaborates.
MTV Networks sure has quite a lot chalked for itself, but as Brown is quick to reiterate, “A lot of this is work in progress, but this is a sense of the vision that we have and where we are headed. India is a very important market for us and we are giving it that much attention.”