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When data is the new oil, one can’t imagine such prolonged data darkness: Hersh Bhandari

The Group COO of Broadcasting Division at Republic Media Network, in an exclusive chat with e4m, spoke about his big priorities, return of TV ratings and more

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Published: Mar 3, 2022 8:37 AM  | 3 min read
Hersh Bhandari

A fortnight ago, Republic Media Network elevated Hersh Bhandari as Group COO – Broadcasting Division. His elevation coincides with the return of BARC news channel ratings. Taking over at such a crucial time, Bhandari is all set to take over the big responsibilities. In an exclusive chat to e4m, he shared his big priorities, the resumption of TV ratings and much more.

Below are excerpts from the interview:

What will be your big priorities as you take on the new role?

My priorities are not any different from the organisation's and the leadership team, which in essence, is to strengthen the core business and at the same time get ready for the future. Needless to say, the aforesaid objectives subsume strengthening performance culture, team-building and the excitement in the organisation for surging ahead with our strategic aspirations.

What does the next phase of growth look like at Republic Media Network?

As a five-year-old organisation, our hunger for growth will take time to satiate. In the news business and in the languages that we are operating, there is still a lot of headroom for growth. As a market leader and the fastest-growing news organisation, there is scope for further growth in English, Hindi and Bengali markets. There is also scope for market expansion and innovation for serving our business partners. As part of our organisational culture, we don’t believe in resting on our laurels. As a consequence, we have always been renewing our vision both on the content side and on the marketplace monetization aspect.

Tell us about your TV Plus strategy, how are you approaching that?

For any business, digital transformation has become a hygiene activity. Republic Media Network started developing this capability two years back. I must admit that we have been receiving significant traction from our users. In fact, it is in line with our linear television's stickiness. Our viewers’ love for our content is uniform in a platform-agnostic way. This trend gives us an impetus to serve the changing taste and preferences of our audience in a dynamic manner.

The strategy business partnership will now be hived off into separate business divisions, each with its own leadership and goals. How will this strategic architecture work?

Every business organisation has Strategic Business Units (SBU) that act on a profit-centre basis. The rationale for this business axiom doesn’t require any elaboration. In the case of Republic Media Network, as we are on a fast-growth track, we need to create a structure that supports our strategic architecture. This also enables us to focus on the priority of each SBU and engender synergistic and multiplicative impact on the organizational growth momentum.

What is your view on the return of ratings? Many broadcasters say BARC still needs to build a more robust and inclusive metric system. Your views?

Return of ratings is like music to our ears. In an age and time when data is considered as the new oil, one can’t imagine such prolonged data darkness, especially for the news genre. BARC data is not only a great decision support system for our business partners, but also directly reflects viewers’ preferences.

So far as your query on data robustness is concerned, I think, domain experts have been engaged with BARC with their valuable inputs and I won’t be a competent authority to comment on the same. Having said that, one can’t over-emphasise the importance of robustness in any research and data-related activity.

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