Shailesh Kapoor : Senior Marketing Manager - Zee Cinema


Name: Shailesh Kapoor

Designation: Senior Marketing Manager - Zee Cinema

Sun Sign: Leo, 26 July 1975

Educational Experience

I did my schooling from Delhi. Thereafter, like most other students, engineering came up almost like a default option. So, I went for a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi. Very early into IIT, I realised engineering was not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, the whole IIT experience was fabulous, because it helped me meet some of the sharpest brains of India, and shaped my thinking which is today proving to be a valuable asset. Also, the hostel life opened up the world for me.

From there, I joined IIM Calcutta for my MBA. The IIM-C days were very different. I enjoyed the courses and the project works and everything else an MBA education had to offer, and I did well for myself, ending up as the third rank holder in a batch of 300!

Professional Experience

I had always been an avid watcher of Hindi cinema. But it was at IIM-C that this passion really took the shape of a career option. Luckily for me, Sony Entertainment Television visited the campus, and I decided to go for it as my first option. I got into Sony as a Brand Executive in 1999. Over the 11 months I spent there, I worked on a variety of shows and films, like Saaya, Missing and the Raj Kapoor festival. I was responsible for the on-air and off-air marketing efforts on these properties. Sony was a good nurturing ground for me, as it exposed me to the hitherto mysterious world of media and programming.

Shailesh at work

From Sony, I moved to in Bangalore, where I joined as the Channel Manager for the Cinema and Music websites. The 18 months I spent at indya were absolutely out of this world. The Internet teaches you another way of working altogether. You learn in a year what you may have learnt in three to four years elsewhere. Also, since it was a new business, the passion of the team, right from the top to below, was unparalleled.

When indya downsized drastically, I was one of the 200-odd people who left what we thought was a cherished dream, in November 2001. From there, I took a break, spent time with my family for about three months, and gave shape to my first film script. Thereafter, I moved to Mumbai and worked for a film promotion company for three months, before I joined Zee as the Senior Marketing Manager on Zee Cinema.

Zee has been a very interesting experience. Handling the marketing of a full channel is a different kick altogether, compared to handling two to three shows on a main channel like Sony. You feel you are so much more in control of things and can shape the future of your channel with your ideas and concepts. I have the support and encouragement of an excellent team here, and make no mistakes about it: I am enjoying it big time!

Job Profile

My job profile includes anything and everything to do with the marketing and promotions efforts on Zee Cinema. Right from on-air promos, off-air marketing, sales inputs, coordinating with programming, contests, channel packaging... there is so much scope to work here.

The great thing about being on Zee Cinema is that it is India's No.1 Movie Channel by a fair margin, and you know that your efforts are being seen and appreciated by millions, be it the up-market Colaba in Mumbai or the relatively mass areas of Joka in Kolkata, where I spent my two years at IIMC. It's another high altogether.

Marketing as career choice

Marketing was intuitively the one area of management that caught my fancy during my IIM-C days. The interaction with the consumer was that one thing that made me go for it. Regarding television, I initially saw it as a stepping stone for a career in films. But at Zee, I have realised the true power of the medium.

But frankly, it's still the fact that I am working on a Hindi movie channel that is important. Because, at the end of the day, Hindi cinema is in my blood, in a way that I cannot explain.

Current Marketing scenario

The satellite television industry is very new in India. So, we can't expect a predictable scenario anyway. Things will keep changing, and the key is to be able to think through the changing scenario while you have the vision to shape the future.

Right and wrong about current marketing scenario

I seriously don't think there's anything wrong. Like any other free economy model, our TV industry will find its own way out. Yes, we can always say that there is a dearth of variety in the content available. But we have to realise that we are only ten years into the industry. Things will emerge. In fact, compare today to, say, two years ago, and the difference is more than noticeable.

Personally, the effort will be to understand the consumers and give them the content they want. The trick is that the consumers will never be able to verbalise their needs. You have to get the insights out of them and build your properties around that. And that's where the marketing person's challenge comes in.

Shailesh at his brother's wedding with family.

Five years from now

Tough to predict, but whatever I am doing, wherever I am, it will be something around Hindi cinema. Two of my film scripts are ready. I have not managed enough time to narrate them to some of the key producers in Bollywood. But yes, that will always be one option that I would want to take forward in the next year.

But otherwise, be it TV or films or theater or whatever else, Bollywood will never be out of my scheme of things.


I love films of course, and lot of my free time goes into watching either the new releases or the classics from the past, which I can watch again and again, and yet again. I love writing too, and have a weekly column on on Hindi cinema, which keeps me going.

The rest of the time is when I spend some moments with a few close friends. It's really important because I am aware how we let go of our close friendships because of corporate hustle and bustle. But no such thing for me.

And of course, like any other Indian, I love to watch cricket. Hope we turn things around in the coming weeks and do well in the big event!

Idea of enjoyment

Enjoyment for me is a holiday with three to four close friends... what we do is not very important. It might be a trip to some quiet, scenic place or just a few hours in town, moving around, shopping, watching a film and eating great food. It's the company that's more important. And yes, I love the two weeks I take off every year to spend time with my parents in Delhi. They are truly enriching in their own way.

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