Jehangir Pocha: The modern-day chronicler - Indrajit Gupta

Jehangir Pocha, former Editor of BW| Businessworld, passed away in Gurgaon on July 11. Paying tribute to him, Forbes' Indrajit Gupta traces Pocha’s growth as a professional smitten by the story-telling bug

e4m by Indrajit Gupta
Published: Jul 15, 2014 8:46 AM  | 8 min read
Jehangir Pocha: The modern-day chronicler - Indrajit Gupta

I first met Jehangir Pocha in 1990, when we both entered Mumbai’s SP Jain Institute of Management and Research. I didn’t know then our paths would cross several times, over the next three decades, as he broke one rule after another during his unconventional, yet brilliant career.

Even in those early days, he stood out from the rest of the class. He had an amazing sense of humour, was a great storyteller and loved a good debate. He was SP Jain’s biggest star at all inter-business school competitions, winning prizes in debating, and many other categories. He could charm attractive women across our campus. He rarely competed for top grades, didn’t enjoy heavy quant-based courses and believed in the value of a good, liberal education in broadening one’s mind.

When we graduated, Jehangir and I were handpicked by Hindustan Thompson Associates (HTA), which was then India’s premier ad agency. The stint proved nothing what we had imagined it would be. There was little intellectually stimulating work. Much of what we did was run up and down Lakshmi Building in Mumbai’s Fort area, getting artists to complete a pile of artworks in record time. Neither for us stayed there.

I quit advertising a few months before Jehangir did. He moved to the US to pursue a career with technology major Unisys, and I took my first, uncertain step into business journalism. We lost touch for most part, as he moved from the US to Singapore to head marketing for another software company. But every time he came back to see his mother and his family on his occasional trips to Mumbai, we’d catch up at his sprawling apartment near Breach Candy.

After returning to Mumbai in 1998, he pottered around for a while at an investment bank. But I never got the impression it was something he enjoyed. Destiny had something else in store for him.

In 1999, Jehangir went to Harvard to study foreign policy at the Kennedy School of Government. Around the time he got back, I was working on a cover story for Businessworld on the Pallonji Mistry family. Even though they were the largest shareholders at Tata Sons, little was known about them. No one had attempted to tell their story and how they had come to own a chunk in such a sprawling empire.

Jehangir knew the complex web of relationships and history that defined the Parsi entrepreneurial story. I remember listening intently in the balcony of his home, as he narrated the history of the Tatas, pointing out specific buildings in the vicinity where momentous events had taken place. Those nuggets were invaluable in reconstructing history because until then, it was almost as if someone had deliberately smudged out the Mistry family from the official biographies of the Tatas.

Perhaps this modern-day chronicler in Jehangir came to the fore soon after, as he embarked on the most adventurous chapter in his life: moving to Beijing as a global correspondent at The Boston Globe. China was making its presence felt. And he took it upon himself to unravel the mysteries of that mammoth economy, market and society. It was an expensive place to live on a stringer’s salary. And so, I developed a plan with him to cover China for Businessworld. When Tony Joseph, our editor then, received his pitch, he immediately agreed to a regular feed of stories that would help Indian readers understand China.

Right from the engrossing opening cover piece on how to do business in China, it was an amazing body of work. Jehangir brought to life different facets of the China story — how its big cities were pushing out the poor, the looming water crisis, the surge of the big Chinese brands that were headed to the West...all written with colour and detail. Many stories carried risks. Often times when he called me, he’d surprisingly switch into speaking in Hindi. Later I learnt his phones were tapped and the Chinese authorities monitored his internet activity. Jehangir didn’t care a damn — and continued filing stories for us and other leading publications across the world.

Just when you though he had found his mojo, life took a different course. Many of us moved out of Businessworld around 2005. And two years later, Aveek Sarkar decided to invite Jehangir to take over as Editor of the magazine. It was a bold move, given that he had never worked inside a newsroom. But then, this wasn’t the first time Sarkar had picked an untested editor. Jehangir was back in Delhi steering the ship, rebuilding the team — and putting together a stronger philosophical underpinning that had gone missing.

He had many detractors. In the hidebound environs of Delhi media, not many people understood his new-fangled ideas for the newsroom, his obsession with China’s economic model, his accent on a broader, global perspective shaping our work as journalists or even his ideas on magazine design. I remember hearing that even the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram once got annoyed with him for arguing with him on some economic policy issue during a post Budget interview. Even though Aveek Sarkar may have heard these voices of dissent, he continued to support Jehangir. He allowed him to bring in global designers and trainers to work with the team — and upgrade skills and standards.

But soon, his own ambitions for the magazine began to outstrip the ability of the somewhat somnolent business system at ABP. They simply couldn’t see eye to eye on the pace of the scale-up. Neatly conceptualised events would go abegging with sponsors. Investments in digital would be woefully inadequate. And hirings would take ages to happen.

That may have provided the springboard for Jehangir’s final adventure: as co-founder of his own venture. After patiently waiting for ABP to play catch up, he chucked it all up to team up with the promoter of Nai Duniya to make an audacious bid for NewsX. Just before that, Jehangir told me that he had the backing of several leading industrialists. But when it came to putting up the money, many of them disappeared. Eventually, he raised money and started running it. Despite his best efforts, the channel did not deliver results and it was put on the block.

Congress politician Vinod Sharma’s younger son Kartikeya took over and Jehangir was asked to continue as Editor-in-Chief. It may not have been an easy transition. But NewsX stuck to its core news agenda, eschewing the shrill prime-time debates that dominated the air waves. This was a tricky period, and I am not privy to everything he had to go through to save jobs and offer a sense of continuity to his team.

Around December 2011, the Tata Group picked Cyrus Mistry as Ratan Tata’s successor. I was into my third year as founding editor of Forbes India and couldn’t think of anyone better to script the back story of the two families over the years. It was meant to be a sharp 1,000 word piece. In less than a couple of days, Jehangir wrote a defining story. He sheepishly told me after he started, he couldn’t stop writing all night. What emerged was 4,500 words from a master craftsman — and we didn’t have the heart to edit even a wee bit of it. The piece eventually won an award for Best Feature Story at the Red Ink Press Club Awards the next year.

While the transition was on, Jehangir did not give up trying to dream up new ventures. But money had almost dried up in the media industry. We would often talk on the phone and lament the declining fortunes of our profession. He now had a family to look after as well. Perhaps, that curbed his natural instinct to take risks. If images attached to his Facebook posts were any indication, he had quietly begun enjoying his family life.

Earlier this week, I got a call from him. He sounded agitated. Venture capitalists had promised him they’d step in after the elections. But they hadn’t to back his plans. He wanted to bid for some distressed media assets in play. The frustration was beginning to creep in. “I’m completely frustrated with the Indian system. I’m dying to go abroad,” he told me. I told him we should catch up for a drink the next time he was in Mumbai and talk this over. That meeting never happened.

Today, I’ve lost a dear friend, a confidant who was willing to offer advice whenever I needed — and a fellow professional smitten by the story-telling bug.

Jehangir, I will miss you dearly. May your soul rest in peace.

(The author is a senior journalist.)

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

BBC to pay Rs 40 crore to make up for their tax evasion in India-Reports

The broadcaster has reportedly admitted that they evaded taxes in India from 2016-22

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 6, 2023 9:44 AM   |   1 min read


After tax authorities claimed they have  uncovered irregularities in the BBC's accounting books in India, now The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reportedly admitted that they evaded taxes in India and are now committing to pay Rs 40 crores in tax arrears. 

According to a report by, the BBC has agreed to cough up Rs 40 crore to make up for their tax evasion over a period of almost 6 years – from 2016 to 2022.

It must be noted that in February 2023, the BBC offices were surveyed by tax authorities for 3 days. After the survey, the Finance Ministry had issued a statement explaining the depth of tax fraud committed by the BBC.

The statement said that the income/profits shown by various group entities under BBC India do not match their scale of operations in India, as the quantity of content in India is substantial. In the raid by the Income tax department, which has been described as a survey, several pieces of evidence were found that show that tax has not been paid on certain remittances which have not been disclosed as income in India by the foreign entities of the group.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

CM Eknath Shinde to unveil bust of Pradeep Guha on the media legend's birth anniversary

The sculpture will be soon installed at Pradeep Guha Chowk on DN Road, Mumbai

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 5, 2023 3:47 PM   |   1 min read

Pradeep Guha

The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Eknath Shinde will be unveiling the bust of celebrated media personality and film producer Pradeep Guha at 6 pm on June 6, which is his birth anniversary. Guha, fondly known as PG, passed away on 21 August 2021 after a prolonged battle with cancer.

The bust will be unveiled at the Cricket Club of India and be installed after a few days at the Pradeep Guha Chowk on DN Road, the lane outside the iconic Times of India building, an organisation he was associated with for close to three decades.

Guha was also associated with many industry bodies during his career with TOI. He was the President of the Indian Newspaper Society; Chairman of National Readership Studies Council; President of Advertising Club Bombay; Chairman of Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA); and later, the first Chairman of the Broadcast Audience Research Council.

He also served as the CEO of ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd and Managing Director of 9X Media Private Limited.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Creativeland Asia Network acquires 62% stake in London-based Creators Inc

The total deal value of this acquisition is three million pounds

By exchange4media Staff | Jun 1, 2023 5:19 PM   |   3 min read


On its 16th anniversary, CLAN announced Creativeland Studio's acquisition of London-based Creators Inc – in a total deal value exceeding UK £3 million (three million pounds) to solidify its entry into international long and short content production and the expansion of CLAN's global footprint aligned to its vision of building a global creative super ecosystem.

Further, Creativeland Asia Network (CLAN) has launched Creativeland Studios to focus on the growth of its long and short-format cinema and tv content offering – focussing on creating, producing and distributing high-end films, documentaries, television series and audio content.

With this acquisition, Creativeland Studios has consolidated ten active slates, including two titles in production and now will have over 50 titles in its pipeline.

Creators Inc. is a unique long and short format production house with a roster of directors that includes Oscar, Emmy & BAFTA-winning directors such as Guy Ritchie, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Sarah Gavron, Philip Barantini, Colin Tilley, Mark Osborne and many others.

Creators Inc., founded and led by Jani Guest, brings together award-winning industry specialists from advertising, film and television. Creators Inc. use various synergies across these industries to position themselves worldwide at the top of the production market across all formats.

On the back of this acquisition – Creativeland Asia Network has begun its successful foray into CLA’s creative, technology, marketing & media services ecosystem to the global market.

Sajan Raj Kurup's vision for Creativeland Studios is to provide a platform for filmmakers and creators to express their vision and bring their ideas and unique stories to viewers. The acquisition of Creators Inc is a significant step in achieving that vision. With this new global acquisition – the possibilities are endless, and CLAN is ready to take on the entertainment world.

Sajan Raj Kurup, Founder & Chairman of CLAN, said, “At Creativeland Asia – we are on a passionate journey to create a formidable creative infrastructure for the new world where media, technology, creativity and humanity will come together to curate a more entertained life. The core strategic insight for this acquisition is to build on our ability to bring brands, content and talent together – through a consolidated platform. Today, more than ever before, we recognise that content plays a pivotal role in keeping us connected, informed and entertained.”

Jani Guest, Founder & CEO of Creators Inc, said, “Creators Inc. places its incredible directorial talent at the heart of the company. The partnership with Raj and CLA allows us to accelerate the development and production of stories - created by our talent - to entertain, move, and impact positive change. I could not have wished for a better partner as we move forward to achieve our shared visions and goals.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Media executives Rahul Sood and Rohit Jaiswal launch Brandwith

The company will focus on distribution and marketing for global OTTs in India and South Asia

By Ruhail Amin | May 31, 2023 1:31 PM   |   1 min read


Rahul Sood, former MD of BBC India & South Asia, and Rohit Jaiswal, Ex VP & Head of NDTV Distribution have launched Brandwith in India, covering India and the South Asian region.

Brandwith is the representative and distributor of OTT streaming services like Hallmark Movies Now, Curiosity Stream, PBS Kids, Viaplay, and several other highly differentiated brands, including soon to launch Good Times SVOD. Since Brandwith’s inception in the Asia Pacific Region in 2017, the driving force has been to provide the world’s leading brands across genres like movies, general entertainment, factual entertainment, kids, food, lifestyle and sports in the evolving OTT landscape. 

“With paid video subscriptions having reached 99 million in 2022, across almost 45 million households in India, the success of which will require establishing a durable subscriber relationship, our vision is to aid OTT aggregators and their viewers with a diversified offering of the world’s leading streaming services to help increase ARPU and reduce churn,” said Rahul Sood, Founder & MD, Brandwith India.

 “The thoughtfully curated portfolio of brands will help OTT aggregators segment their audience, and super serve the English audience base in India, which has increased from 19m pre-pandemic to 42.7m now as per the latest report by Ormax Media,” he added.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

OTT space is ripe for aggregating: Piyush Gupta, HT Media

During the Q4 earnings call, Group CFO Gupta stated that the company has not yet gone back to its pre-covid prices in Delhi and Bombay; he also announced launch of OTTPlay

By exchange4media Staff | May 31, 2023 8:41 AM   |   5 min read

Piyush Gupta

Apart from just the input cost, one of the other big problems that have been plaguing HT Media is yields, said Piyush Gupta, Group CFO, HT Media. Answering one of the investors during the Q4 earnings call about the results, Gupta said, “The pricing that we had pre-Covid, if you talk about HT in big markets of Delhi and Bombay still has not come back. As a matter of fact, in places it is short by 20% - 25%. Now that's really what is hampering our revenue and taking away the operating leverage from the P&L.”

He added, “Now, as we embark on the next fiscal year, we've already completed the month of May nearly. There's a big program on yield improvement that we have put in place, with which we are hoping to unlock the value and go back to our pre-Covid yields. The paper prices, of course, are coming down, which you will see translating into EBITDA, and therefore PBT and PAT in the coming year. But with the revenue uptick you will see the profitably come back to a pre-Covid, at a very robust level.”

For Q4 FY23 company’s total revenue, stacked to Rs 494 crore, as against Rs 456 crore same period last year, growth of 8%. EBITDA is, however, substantially down 75% primarily due to certain investments that they are making in OTTPlay and the elevated newsprint cost which have hampered us in this quarter. PBT margin, as a consequence, came to a loss of Rs 34 crore against Rs 10 crore earlier and net cash, however, still remains reasonably strong at Rs 935 crore which is a decline of 14%.

"On a full year basis company revenue stacked to Rs 1,862 crore, which is a growth of 11%. EBITDA however, because of the same reason which plagued us in Q4 came in at Rs 13 crore, which is a sharp decline. PBT, therefore, came at a loss of Rs 156 crore and net cash at Rs 935 crore which I have articulated earlier," said Gupta. “Now, if you go by business unit, we look at our print business. On the Print business our ad revenues for the quarter came at Rs 269 crore, a growth of 8%, with circulation revenue growing 12% at Rs 60 crore. Operating revenue therefore at Rs 374 crore, a 5% growth, and operating EBITDA declined by 65% to Rs 15 crore.”

In English, in Q4 FY23 the ad revenue grew 17% to Rs 154 crore. On a full year basis, the growth was 15% at Rs 588 crore. Circulation revenue at Rs 16 crore, a growth of 64%, and for the full year it is nearly doubling itself from Rs 28 crore to Rs 54 crore. Moving on to Hindi, for the quarter our ad revenue came flat at about Rs 116 crore. On a y-o-y basis it was a growth of 8% at Rs 474 crore. Circulation revenue again flat on a quarterly basis, on a full-year basis there was a marginal increase of 5%. 

According to him, for radio business quarterly revenues came at Rs 36 crore, which is an 18% increase. Operating EBITDA, however, came in negative as opposed to Rs 1 crore in the same period last year. The full year, however, was a very different picture. “The full year we saw our revenue soaring 42% at Rs 144 crore, as against Rs 101 crore earlier and operating EBITDA came at Rs 6 crore.”

He said, “We have taken an impairment in the standalone results, which is all consequent to our radio performance. Though the Radio performance has substantially improved this quarter, and the growth is close to 40%. But given the fact, impairment testings have to be done this quarter, there is a substantial impairment which has come. This is all on our Radio One business and with this and the growth that we are seeing in Radio, we are very hopeful that this is the last time that we have seen this impairment, and from here on Radio will grow from strength to strength. If you look at various other Radio operators, their profitability, indeed, has also been impacted. And you know this is one sector which is directly linked to the performance of various MSMEs and what Covid did to MSMEs, is taking a slightly longer time to recover. But we are very hopeful now that we have seen a 40% growth in this year. Next year we will again have a stupendous year, and a profitable year on our Radio segment.”

Digital businesses in HT Media Group remained flat, with the top line of Rs 32 crore and a bottom line of Rs (22) crore in Q4 FY23. On a full year basis, again, it was flat at Rs 133 crore, with the bottom line of Rs (75) crore.

Gupta also spoke about OTTPlay, which has been in beta stage for about 6 to 9 months. "Now, since we've understood this space, we have decided to commercially launch this thing. What exactly is OTTPlay? As you understand OTT is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Indian media and entertainment industry, it is growing at somewhere between 18%- 20%, as against the other media properties which are growing anywhere between 10% - 15%. If you look at subscription video on demand, that side is expected to reach about INR 16,000 to INR 17,000 crore by 2026, and it is growing at a very healthy rate. This space is now ripe for aggregating," he said.

He concluded, “We've been working in this place for quite some time, and now that we have got the proof of concept, we are investing behind this function which is sitting in our Digital segment of the business and you will see results coming out in this year. 

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

Tribes group acquires V-Square Media to create media entity - praNetR Tribes

V Square Media is a Bengaluru-based branding, media and marketing agency

By exchange4media Staff | May 29, 2023 2:59 PM   |   2 min read

praNetR Tribes

Tribes Group, an independent full-service media and advertising group, has acquired Bengaluru-based V Square Media, a branding, media, and marketing agency, and created a new entity - praNetR Tribes.

This acquisition brings together the complementary strengths and expertise of both companies, paving the way for a new era of innovation and growth. By harnessing their collective strengths, praNetr Tribes aims to deliver unparalleled content, services, and experiences to audiences worldwide.

This strategic acquisition will fuel the development of groundbreaking initiatives, leveraging cutting-edge technology and creative storytelling to engage audiences across multiple platforms. With an unwavering commitment to quality content, insightful narratives, and captivating entertainment, the new entity will redefine the media landscape. The acquisition is expected to unlock synergies, drive operational efficiencies, and create a solid foundation for sustained success. By integrating talent, resources, and distribution networks, the combined entity will be better positioned to meet the evolving needs and preferences of audiences, advertisers, and partners.

Recognising the fragmented nature of the ad production industry, praNetR Tribes presents an integrated platform for specialists and technicians to collaborate and work efficiently on projects in conjunction with brands and talent. The leadership teams of both organizations will work collaboratively to ensure a seamless integration and maximize the potential of the acquisition.

On the launch of praNetR Tribes, Gour Gupta, Chairman of Tribes Communication, shares his thoughts, saying, "Together, we will leverage our collective strengths to deliver innovative and compelling content that resonates with audiences globally. This acquisition is a testament to our shared commitment to excellence and our vision for the future of media.”

Lokesh Kumar, CEO of praNetR, comments on the new venture, “This acquisition is a transformative step that will elevate our collective impact on the media industry. By combining forces, we will unlock new opportunities, accelerate growth, and provide our audiences with unparalleled content experiences. We look forward to the exciting possibilities that lie ahead."

Headquartered in Bengaluru, praNetR Tribes operates across markets in India and abroad through the extensive Tribes Communications network.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube

HT Media consolidated revenue up 8.3% at Rs 494 cr in Q4 aided by growth in print & radio

Ad revenue from the company’s print business grew 8% at Rs 269 cr

By exchange4media Staff | May 19, 2023 8:06 AM   |   2 min read

HT Media

HT Media Group reported a 8.3% rise in the fourth quarter with the consolidated total revenue at Rs 494 crore as compared to Rs 456 crore in the same quarter last year. The company reported a loss before tax of Rs 34 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2023, versus a profit before tax of Rs 10 crore in the year-ago period.

The rise in revenue was supported by continued growth in print and radio segments, while the margin was impacted due to higher newsprint prices and investment in new business in the digital segment.

Commenting on the full-year results, Shobhana Bhartia Chairperson and Editorial Director of HT Media Ltd. & Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd said, “Geopolitical strife hampered supply lines across businesses and impacted raw material costs, especially in the first half of the year. The second half of the year witnessed a relatively subdued festive season on account of sluggish retail spending but the year ended with an uptick in business sentiment in our key segments and a slight softening in raw material prices.”

Ad revenue from the company’s print business grew 8% at Rs 269 crore for the quarter while on a full-year basis, it grew 12% from a year ago. Improvement in ad revenue on a full-year basis primarily led by ad volume and growth in both English and Hindi businesses.

The radio segment also saw an 18% rise in operating revenue in the quarter to Rs 36 crore.

Bhartia said, “Indian OTT space is one of the fastest growing pillars of the Media & Entertainment industry. Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd. looks to tap this potential with the launch of, a platform that aggregates OTT content, with a focus on abundance, convenience, personalisation, and affordability.”

“In the current fiscal, we are focused on building on our growth momentum from last year as we navigate the larger macro environment as well as the evolving media ecosystem. As always, our endeavor is to be a source of credible news and engaging content for our audiences,” she added.

Read more news about (internet advertising India, internet advertising, advertising India, digital advertising India, media advertising India)

For more updates, be socially connected with us on
Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & Youtube