A very common comment from most media experts is that television in India, in its present form, is one medium that is too cluttered to be successful. This year, however, is set to see two media houses — INX Group and NDTV — adding more to the Hindi general entertainment space. INX Media along with INX News will enter the space with a bouquet of channels, with three being launched in 2007.
The group’s Promoter and Chairperson Indrani Mukerjea stated that across India, most television today is still the television of 1996. She said that INX’s endeavour was to be the television of 2007 — in terms of both strategy and structure.
Throwing light on the overall INX structure, Mukerjea explained that INX Group has four units — INX Services Pvt. Ltd, INX Executive Search Pvt. Ltd, INX Media Pvt. Ltd and INX News Pvt. Ltd, of which the latter two are in the media space. She is the Chairperson of all the four units. INX News already has a CEO in Vir Sanghvi and Mukerjea will look after the commercial aspect.
Speaking more on INX News and her decision to get Sanghvi on board, she said, “Vir is an old family friend and in my view, one of the best journalists in the country. When we first discussed this, I was clear that if Vir were not on it, I would probably not do a news channel. We share a very comfortable professional understanding and with Vir on board, it makes this whole venture so much easier. We agreed that we would have a channel that is based on ethics and integrity and I know that is what INX News would be about.”
The first channel from INX News is an English news channel, News X. Following this, Mukerjea explained that the news side would look at city specific channels in the next year.
INX Media, on the other hand, doesn’t have a CEO yet. Mukerjea is both Chairperson and Executive Director of the entity. She said that she would definitely like to ask Peter Mukerjea to join the entity as Executive Director, supporting all functions along with the CEO as she has signed a six-year employment contract and is clearly committed. She will, however, continue to remain the Chairperson of INX News.
Mukerjea also stated that the INX Media structure would be more progressive than any other structure seen today. She explained that a position of a COO might not even exist in the organisation. She said, “We have a team of real top notches from the industry — nationally and internationally. We are looking for a Commercial Director surely, but I’m not sure we would want a COO, simply because the structure is not of a vertical nature.” She explained that INX Media would see more Controllers and Directors for the different functions, and there would be international consultants as well, like Anthony Pettifer as the Brand and Marketing Consultant.
Two channels from this structure already are 9X and 9X Music, which would roll out by the end of 2007. Mukerjea pointed out that the launches of the three channels would be spaced out.
Answering why the company decided to begin with these genres, she explained, “There is no doubt that there is a mass fatigue that has set in the audiences today. Everyone knows that and everyone is addressing it, but with little success, and so we keep seeing similar kind of television. I think we would be able to address this at INX. The reason to get someone like Dilip Ghosh is because he knows the audience today rather than the kind of television that is already being made, and he can bring that fresh perspective to the content.”
She added, “As for the music channel, it is based on a 21st century model, that will give you that 10 minutes of extra commercial time and bring to you the young audiences.”
Television is a new medium to Mukerjea and she confessed that she is undergoing intensive training in different functions of the medium to be able to contribute to the growth of INX Media and INX News. The three-month training, where she is interacting with international experts, culminates in May 2007. “I have really put my family life to a halt right now. But I’m learning the television business and I know that will make all the difference in my way forward in this venture,” said Mukerjea.