Shemaroo's Jai Maroo on bridging generation gap, transformation journey and growth plans

MUMBAI: If reinvention is the key skill for surviving any business, 56-year-old company Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd (Shemaroo) has exemplified this art. The company, which embarked on a five-year transformation journey with an aim of 5x growth, reoriented existing talent and brought in people from diverse sectors to scale up the functioning.

At the recently concluded’s first edition of Media HR Summit, Shemaroo  Entertainment Ltd ( director Jai Maroo spoke on the various aspects of the transformation journey in a freewheeling fireside chat with founder, CEO and editor-in-chief Anil Wanvari.

One of the biggest challenges the industry is facing today is accommodating five different generations in the same company but Maroo seems confident. While building the first transformation more than a decade ago, the company has bridged the gap of bringing in the talent that is needed without disrespecting the talent that is there. He also added that leadership and HR have to play a key role in bringing that balance.

Maroo mentioned that the company has been reinventing itself to stay relevant in the changing times. That has been the biggest transformation. He pointed out that Shemaroo is media-agnostic serving just about every screen of consumption that exists.

The company founders made transformation a priority in the early decades of the company. “The ability to not look at where you have been but where your consumption is going and follow that, that ability and humility is something our founders practised for the last three decades but for the last two decades the founders have given a lot of leeways to the team and make the entire organisation do it,” he commented.

The second transformation of the company was scaling the business including getting listed, changing the nature of deals, own capital allocations. “The third transformation which is to say is that we saw an opportunity more than five years ago for this boom that was coming. Everyone saw the boom was about to come, the disruption that was happening. But it was impossible to time the market that’s why we chose to scale incrementally,” Maroo added.

He contended that the transformation is not just about outlining strategy and getting content and customer right. It’s also about getting talent, marrying it with the talent the company has, in terms of changing the way business and processes. It is also important to spend enough time supporting all of the various entrepreneurs within the company. Maroo added that attrition has not risen substantially despite Shemaroo having undergone this huge transformation journey.

From the key learning from two decades, he outlined some key winning traits. Maroo emphasised on putting the other person first and added that relationships with people including employees, customers and vendors hold an important place. Another important point he added was the ability to map and extract value from the ecosystem by seeing where someone is in the value chain. The focus should be on value that accrues in the future. He also pointed out the importance of unwillingness to compromise any commitment.

“Our current growth is very healthy. We are doing slightly better than the industry. We are growing at 18-19 per cent CAGR while the industry is at 12-13 per cent CAGR. Digital is growing at a much better rate of 40-45 per cent CAGR. And if we continue to grow at that rate, in five years we will be double our size but we want to grow 5x in five years; that was the mission,” Maroo added.

“We have set certain milestones for the journey; both in terms of business plans and building teams and developing their journeys as well. Like everything else in life, some of it is on the mark, some ahead of time and some behind. That last one is my focus at present,” he commented. Moreover, the company recently started piloting a very interesting product, a device which is a Bluetooth speaker with devotional content pre-loaded.

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