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Every few years, we get disrupted by technology: Kranti Gada, Shemaroo Entertainment

19-February-2018
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Every few years, we get disrupted by technology: Kranti Gada, Shemaroo Entertainment

Shemaroo Entertainment Senior Vice President, Kranti Gada joined the family business at Shemaroo in 2006 after a successful stint of over two years in marketing at Pepsi Co. She has been associated with the company for 12 years.

She was the one to set up Shemaroo’s mobile business in 2006. Gada’s understanding of the digital future for content also enabled Shemaroo to become one of the early adopters of Youtube for monetization of its content and launched successful online propositions, like Filmi Gaane and Shemaroo Movies. In a conversation with Exchange4media, Gada, talks about her 12 year journey with Shemaroo, learning and future plans.

Excerpts:

How has been your journey with Shemaroo?

I started working with Pepsi before joining Shemaroo in 2006 and will complete 12 years in April. However, I didn’t join Shemaroo in a marketing role just because I had an experience of marketing. I think it was accidental that I stumbled upon it, which has now become the passion and key strength for me. Also, going to the unknown and finding the most, and establishing yourself in the leadership position in the unknown territory. Plus, marketing in the media industry is very different from FMCG.


In 2006-07 the mobile industry was just picking up. The entertainment and mobile industry was figuring out how they could maximise this new platform to reach more consumers. I was given the in-charge setting up of the entire mobile division. Right from the first agreement we did in late 2006 with Reliance, to setting up with each and every operator and working on a revenue model when mobile bandwidth was very low, was a new experience.

At that time audio was happening and we tried to fit in with our portfolio. So we actually aggregated lot of audio content that we didn’t have. Starting from there Shemaroo has gone up and today it’s among the top five partners for all the mobile operators. It has been a very exciting time. We and operators learned a lot of things together. That was the very initial days of seeds which we call today as digital. In the acquisition side, Shemaroo has been the pioneer in the digital space. We started buying digital rights in 2001-02 when the industry was not even talking about digital.

What has been the challenges and learnings in these 12 years?

Looking at Shemaroo not just as a digital business but being a second generation of the family, we had the responsibility and the passion to see where this organisation was going. Moving from a CD and DVD named company to a digital company was the biggest challenge which also included the huge challenge of people as well. Shemaroo has employees working for 35 years and to make them connected in today's world, re-skilling and deploying was not that easy. Leveraging some of those skills from the older guys and marrying with the digital savviness of the younger guys and getting this tuning of these two generations has been one of the biggest learnings.

Also if you see the Media and Entertainment industry, every few years we get disrupted by the technology. Right from the fact that there were projectors and movies could be put out on screens was disruption, from the recording facilities which led to the video cassette industry and now to the digital world, the most interesting part is how media can lead the way by using this technology and reach out to more consumers.

How has the year 2017 been for Shemaroo?

2017 has been a fantastic year for us. Shemaroo took the virtual movie watching experience to a new level with Shemaroo Live Cine with Stars. From the house of Shemaroo comes #ShemarooLiveCineWithStars, a special show where the fans get to virtually watch a great collection of movies from Shemaroo, live with Bollywood celebrities and indulge in a chat with the stars and movie buffs across the world. 'Masoom' became the first movie to be screened on #ShemarooLiveCineWithStars.

Another thing, Tata Sky ‘Marathi Cinema’ service was launched on 14 December, 2017. Shemaroo crossed 3 bn cumulative views on our YouTube channel ‘FilmiGaane’.
We also strengthened our social team in last 2-3 years in a big way, and if you will see the kind of initiatives we took in last two years which won lot of awards to us.

Strengthening and beefing up the internal team. We hired a great talent from industry peers like Viacom, Zee, Jio etc. To do a lot of futuristic things. We need great talent for which we are building a base. Last year we ran management trainee programmes where we recruited seven management trainees and this year we have recruited 12 trainees across IIMs and some of the best institutions.

The idea is that we are looking for future leaders and we want to be in the number one position. In our industry we need two things: talent and content. Content we have been investing in throughout our lives and now the world is changing and so is the market, hence the talent need is superlative. Also we are doing a lot of changes in our policies internally we want to match to the best organisation in the world.

What were deals that happened in 2017?

Shemaroo signed a content deal with Vuclip, Spuul and many others. There is no platform be it digital, cable, or broadcast which doesn’t have content deals with us. From Netflix to Sony Liv, Star to Colors are content is available everywhere.
Also, mobile content we have taken to the international markets, so we have tie ups with 19-20 international mobile operators in the countries like Middle East, African Countries and South East Asian countries. That’s another big way for us to engage with consumers outside India. We also do lot of cable distribution.

What's in store for 2018?

A lot of new initiatives will be coming this year. However, now we are looking forward to working directly with the consumers rather than dealing with them through platforms. So you will see more such things coming up from our end. There somethings which are in testing, beta and over the next few months that launch will also happen. Other than deals you should look out for products from Shemaroo.

Tags Shemaroo Entertainment Limited Kranti Gada

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