Published - 13-May-2006
SUBHASH CHANDRA. Media visionary. Chairman of the
country’s largest vertically integrated media and entertainment
giant, Zee Telefilms Limited. And ranked as the eighth Most
Powerful Person in the country by India Today.
PRADEEP GUHA. One of the most respected media professionals in the country. CEO of Zee Telefilms Limited. The man who is one of the most important captains the team of Mr Chandra and his brother, ZTL Vice Chairman Laxmi Goel. Busy with all its companies ever since he joined ZTL, Guha has preferred to remain low profile and hasn’t given a media interview on his role at Zee so far.
PUNIT GOENKA. Business Head of ZTL flagship Zee TV, and Zee Smile. Also Mr Chandra’s son. With Guha, he has taken Zee TV to its strong Number Two Position amongst Hindi GECs. And, like Guha, had never given a media interview ever since he joined Zee TV. Till now. Impact Editor Pavan R Chawla and Senior Correspondent Noor Fathima Warsia met up with Subhashji, Guha and Goenka for a freewheeling chat on things Zee. We present the interview in two sections. In the first, ZTL Chairman Subhash Chandra speaks on a wide range of topics ranging from the priorities and expansion plans for ZTL in the new Financial Year to its individual businesses and the importance of being prepared for the next great challenge from a rapidly evolving Television industry. He also comments on Punit Goenka’s performance, and shares his inspiration and mantra of staying on top of situations.
This is followed by a wide ranging chat with ZTL CEO Pradeep Guha and Zee TV and Zee Smile Bsuiness Head Punit Goenka on the specifics of the businesses and their vision for their flagship channel Zee TV and the other strong player Zee Cinema, along with Zee Smile and Zee Sports. And much more.
Subhashji, congratulations on last year’s strong performance. Yours is India’s largest vertically integrated Media and Entertainment company which is present in more than 120 countries and reaches more than 300 million viewers across the globe in more than seven different languages. In the next year, which of these numbers will hopefully increase?
The major part of our thrust is going to be in increasing the languages in the coming year and of course thereby the number of viewers also has to increase. We are expecting excellent results from our initiatives for Malaysia and Indonesia – where we will present our content in the local Bhasa language. In Malaysia, it is a JV with Astro. We’re also putting our content in Hindi in Afghanistan. So the plans are afoot, and we hope to make good headway and growth with languages and new markets.
You have said earlier that 2004 was a year of consolidation for Zee. Since then, what has been achieved, and what are you key priorities for the near future?
Yes, 2004 was a year of consolidation. 2005-06 has seen more efforts being made in the marketing side, and 2006-07 will see more efforts on the content side. The focus this year will be on creating the right kind of content. As for the rest, I think every day is a new day in the media business. I really don’t think you can plan for 365 days and then just leave the rest for implementation.
Are you satisfied with the level of vertical integration that your company — India’s largest vertically integrated media and entertainment company — has achieved?
A lot has to be achieved. For this kind of integrated media companies, the revenues and profits should be four to five times what they actually are today. The foundations of this business, which has been laid – it needs to be developed further. The expenditures that have been incurred, the seeds that have been sown, well, their true potential value has yet to be realised.