Balance-sheet, impact, fun is the mantra; Raghav Bahl & Ronnie Screwvala

MUMBAI: At the IAA Knowledge Series held at ITC Maratha in Mumbai today were the two successful entrepreneurs Raghav Bahl and Ronnie Screwvala. Bahl is known for pioneering TV news in India - along with NDTV's Prannoy Roy - whereas Screwvala (a serial entrepreneur ) is known for building a robust TV and film business which was acquired by Disney in India. Both shared the tale of their journey in the media business. The duo shared their business secrets for young budding entrepreneurs. They also opened up about their plans of their new trysts with media.

Bahl began by saying that his new business venture The Quint was not here to reinvent any business models like he did with CNBC TV18 by creating the business news genre. "We have to bring disruption through superior and quality content. We started CNBC TV18 11 and the revenue line was Rs 4-5 crore. Today, the business news market is worth Rs 400 crore. As equity knowledge goes deeper, investors will come in. The USP has to be content. We have to be independent and the editorial issues have to be edgier and bolder. That’s a big thing."

"We crossed paths and swords during the launch of the UTV-Bloomberg channel and when the UTV ticker went out through CNBC channel,” adds Ronnie Screwvala.

Both known for their gutsy moves of launching several channels, Bahl pointed out that CNN-IBN and Colors are the two things he made big bet son, while Screwvala is of the opinion that Bindass was a risky decision that he took.

With digital booming in India and emergence of several platforms for content consumption, broadcasters, multinationals and Indian non-media start-ups entering the OTT/VOD space. Screwavala was of the opinion that MNC’s like Netflix and Amazon have figured out that India is a local market and expensive series will not be successful.

“At the core of this is whether the consumer is willing to pay? This will again bring back to the advertising economy or the fee economy. It is not a venture capital game but advertising where it’s always going to be cost-minus. So, that’s the real disruption which will again only happen by the people who really want to shake up this market.”

The two of them accepted the fact that payment gateways are essential make-or-break tools for these services.

“There are too many different businesses. What I think is, you cannot mix content business with OTT business. You have to decide whether you want to be in the content game or in the distribution game. Netflix, according to me, is an exception which proves it. It will have to figure out whether it is a content company else they can end up in the same confusion as Yahoo. If you can build a compelling proposition for a consumer, then everything will follow,” explained Bahl.

But, did we not want to know more of the duo’s impatience and gutsy decisions? Certainly, yes. Explaining the exit Bahl said, according to the regulations, a partner needs to have 51 per cent equity in a business which is not something entrepreneurs are open to as it means giving up control. “I was not allowed to not dilute it further. The regulations are very first-generation thing. It was either diluting ourselves or exiting."

“Exits cannot be timed. You cannot rewind the clock whether in media or in life. I have no regrets. It is as exhilarating now as it was when I started UTV,” added Screwvala.

Witnessing several ups and downs in the business, both of them shared their success mantras for young entrepreneurs, Bahl said, “Just go by your balance-sheet. Do not go beyond it. Young entrepreneurs should not get seduced by the media. You guys have not become superstars until you do not have a strong balance-sheet. Be resistant to changing times because it's not a sexy, glamorous field to be in but very stressful.”

“You build what you want to build and stay constant about it and your vision. Today’s ecosystem is forcing you to grow a little bit horizontal, but do not go by what investors want. If you are not curious, then this is not the space for you,” concluded Screwvala.

Latest Reads
CNNMoney new section will be about the fastest growing economy; MoneyStream app launched

MUMBAI: Attracting 1.8 million average monthly page views, witnessing a 37 per cent growth in video consumption and 16 per cent in unique browsers month-on-month from India in less than a year’s time is not smooth. In its ambitious plan of global expansion, CNN Digital is leaving no stone unturned...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Content a 'Game of Thrones'; AT&T's control over HBO, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros faces regulatory lens

The global media landscape is resulting in a new juggernaut as an internet and cable behemoth yesterday purchased an entertainment conglomerate making the former unmatched in its size and reach to consumers through home broadband, smartphones, satellite television and a battery of movies and cable...

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
US$ 4.5 bn expected from IPL rights; SC recommends accounts scrutiny

The Supreme Court on Friday froze all financial transactions between the BCCI and state cricket associations by directing the apex body not to disburse any funds till it resolves to abide by the Justice RM Lodha panel recommendations on reforms by 3 December . The top court ordered that none of...

Television TV Channels Sports
TVS Tyres is co-presenter for Asian Champions Trophy 2016

Continuing its strong connect with sports, TVS Tyres has associated with Asian Champions Trophy 2016 by becoming the co-presenter. The Asian Champions Trophy is one of the premier hockey tournaments, a much sought after annual international competition promising some great hockey action. This...

Television TV Channels Sports
Q2-17: Zee Learn declares maiden interim dividend

The board of directors of the Essel group’s education company Zee Learn Limited (ZLL) have declared a first time ever dividend of 5 percent per equity share of Re 1 each for the quarter ended 30 September 2016 (Q2-17, current quarter).

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Whether BARC action can stop unethical practices?

MUMBAI: Can businesses and industries practise their art of selling fairly although they have 'Fair Practices' training during academic courses, workshops and several ISO and other certifications? There seems to be the fear of the lawman, and not the law in India. If the traffic cop is watching,...

Television TV Channels Viewership
TV Superhighway: beIN, Yaddo, AfricaXP have joined us, says Magine CEO Ambuj Goyal

CANNES; Magine has secured partnerships with four of the industry’s most exciting sports, documentary and entertainment content providers. Partnerships with beIN, the international media group and owner of MIRAMAX; Yaddo, the new documentary streaming service headed up by former head of The BBC’s...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
Colors emerges strong on strength of Naagin I & II

MUMBAI: One of the top rated shows Naagin Season 2 helped Colors reach a top-ranking position.

Television TV Channels GECs
Pakistan Broadcasters Association to oppose PEMRA Indian content ban

MUMBAI: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) shocked both Pakistan and Indian broadcasters when it issued an order blanking out  all Indian content from Pakistan’s television channels on 19 October.

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories