our three-part series of interviews looking at the year that
was and on into 2008, we turn the spotlight on NDTV Imagine
CEO Sameer Nair.
a candid chat with
the former Star Entertainment India CEO offers his take on
the entertainment industry, why he feels the TV industry needs
a kick up, the importance of not just ambling along, and the
potential that 2008 offers.
were the key points of reference which defined 2007? One would
be for you personally and also if you could offer a sense
of where the industry is in general?
Well, I left Star TV, in which I was working for about 13
years. But I think 2007 opened on a good note because we did
KBC with Shah Rukh Khan and so I thought that was a good swansong
of sorts for me. We also got Gajendra Singh from Zee to Star.
He was with Zee for I think 16 years and so this was something
those were the last good things to do at Star. On a personal
level it was of course moving on and setting up a whole new
company, whole new business and preparing for the launch of
a new channel.
basically marked preparation for 2008?
Yes! As you can see, it's been all the pre-production and
production. And now we get ready for release. So it's been
a lot of that kind of hard work. It's been about team building
It's been about company building. It was about resource building
and also financial resource building and putting it all together.
think by the time indiantelevision.com puts up this interview
we will have over 132 people, which is I think a good collection
of people across all disciplines.
were the positives that came out of this year?
One positive of course is there seems to be a lot of interest
in all things media, in all things entertainment. So there
have obviously been so many more players entering the market,
so much more money being put into the market.
that's obviously a good thing, industry per se. I think a
lot of people have announced or started new ventures, which
shows that there is obviously place for growth and a place
for new players to get into.
is some level of consolidation, there is some increased activity
of international participation in local business. The movie
business has gone through the roof.
was it a good year for the business?
2007 was an interesting year because it, in my mind, remains
a sort of a question mark. It will get resolved in years to
come as to whether it was a good year or not. But everything
is too close, so I mean this was the year where millions of
dollars were pumped into the system. You know prices went
through the roof, newer and newer players getting into it,
each man with bigger and bigger claims and promises. Nobody
talks the normal figures anymore.
is in a super inflated scenario. It's like the wire where
the string is really stretched. So whether it will be good
or bad, it is hard to say now. Currently, everyone is into
this valuation zone and everyone seems to be so rich.
The rollout of digital cable, which was supposed to proceed
in a particular manner, did not go the way it ideally should
have. Your views on this?
That is hardly a surprise. There was always this issue
about how it would roll out and if it would be mandatory or
voluntary. How does it all work? It didn't really come as
a surprise that it didn't happen in A or B or C manner.
effectively nothing of any real note happened?
No! There was no landmark legislation that occurred, there
was no landmark regulation that occurred, there was no landmark
don't really think that there has been any major change. The
world has not undergone a digital revolution, nor a mobile
television, some shows are doing better than others. The gap
between Star and Zee narrowed, Zee came within the whisker
of Star, than it again fell back. Now it is again coming back
pretty much as per calculations. But there was nothing outstanding.
It was straightforward.
But for the industry in terms of sports, a lot happened.
Sports was an interesting thing that happened. That was pretty
good if you look at the high priced acquisition of the ICC
rights (by ESPN Star for $ 1.1 billion).