Chandra top media baron among 5 on 'BS' billionaire list

MUMBAI: Five media barons who have been raking ip the billions in the year gone by have made it to The Billionaire Club - pink paper Business Standards' annual rich list.

So what is different this year? Well, what's striking is that the heads of the media companies who have regularly featured in The Billionaire Club have moved down in rankings terms from the positions they held in 2003.

Media baron Subhash Chandra of Zee Telefilms, worth Rs 28.49 billion, who classically tops the list amongst the media barons, is ninth in the overall rankings for 2004. However, he has slipped down a place from eight, which is the position he held last year.

Nonetheless, and rather remarkably, the pioneer of the Indian television media space ranks third amongst the Power Billionaires' list of five (after Mukesh Ambani and Sunil Mittal). The criteria of selection delved upon the notion as to which business magnate can influence policy decisions the most.

The Power Billionaires list also highlights the point that Chandra offered only one media interview throughout 2004.

As for the other notables on the list, TV Today promoter Aroon Purie, worth Rs 3500 million, slipped to 82 from 64. Subrato Roy, the czar of Sahara Media, is pegged at 86, down from 61 in 2003.

NTDV promoter Prannoy Roy, worth Rs 2330 million, is at 97 today, down from 86 last year while Balaji Telefilms' Jeetandra Kapoor, worth Rs 1980 million, also slipped form 95 to 127.

The listing also accentuates the pay packages of the best paid executives in the Top Earners. Crest Communications (rechristened as Crest Animination) CEO AK Madhavan earned Rs 13.1 crore while TV Today CEO G Krishnan received Rs 12.7 crore.

Balaji Telefilms' managing director and CEO Shobha Kapoor and creative director Ekta Kapoor took home Rs 11.3 million each.

As the ranking list scrolls down, the only new entrant from the media frat is Adlabs Films' Manmohan Shetty and Vasanji A Mamania, worth Rs 1060 million.

According to the methodology adopted by The Billionaire Club, media promoters are all listed companies, and the wealth has been estimated on the basis of the market value of their direct holding companies. The survey has eliminated cross-holdings in their stakes.

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