Television

ZEEL CEO Punit Misra says: "We intend to compete fairly"

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MUMBAI: Last year in October,  Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) appointed Hindustan Unilever (HUL) sales and customer development executive director Punit Misra as ZEEL domestic broadcast business CEO.  Coming from the FMCG sector Misra has entered the television industry with an advantage - ‘ both the businesses depend on consumer behaviour’.

ZEEL is now the largest broadcaster in India.  First it acquired Anil Ambani led Reliance Broadcast business and recently bagged 9X Media.

In a conversation with Indiantelevision.com’s Sonam Saini, Misra shares his one year experience and plans going forward.

Excerpts:  

How do FMCG and TV broadcasting compare since both of them depend on understanding audience behaviour?  

As you said rightly, it’s all about consumer and consumer practise and not building brands. Building brands happens through content- that’s the difference because people use soap once in a day for those 3-5 minutes, but here people sit and consume and get emotionally attached. They can talk about hours but I don’t think consumers can sit and talk about consumer brands this much, so that’s the difference.

You have completed a year in ZEEL. How has been the experience of heading a broadcast business?

I am loving every minute here. I began with knowing nothing but there are a lot of things to do.

Did you initiate the change after you took charge?

It’s our initiative, not any one individual's. Nothing works in any industry or any company because of one person. Deepak Rajadhyaksha has been raising and crafting a lot of things. Pratyusha is there and the agency team. I can’t even claim that I have done something.

Did Punit Goenka take you through the company's process in your first few days? How did he guide you?

He is guiding me today as well. He's just an amazing person. He guiding and gives space and I marvel at how he manages both at the same time. It is just incredible to have him as coach.

What were the challenges that you faced? What milestones are you personally proud of?

Firstly, we are supposed to learn before we start taking decisions. For me that was important because coming from a non-TV background I had to spend time to know the business, the people and the brand.

Along with the team we are fantastically proud with the fact that we are the number one network. The fact that Zee TV is the number channel in HSM, I am proud of that.  I am  proud of the team that I have. We have retained key talent in the company since so many years.

How do you view Zee's presence in the market given competitors like Star and Sony are ramping up properties?

They all have been in the market while competing. We are proud that we are number one in the Hindi speaking market Zee TV and Zee Anmol. Competition is good for the industry and for us as well.  We intend to compete fairly. KBC has grown fantastically, Sony has done a really great job. Star got IPL and congratulations to them. Colors suddenly took a hit but are back from the lead. Things to learn from them. We are all friends but otherwise we are competing tooth and nail in the space to win the viewer.  

What was the idea behind 9X acquisition? What is the strategy for it?

It’s the number one group in music genre that’s the reason we acquired the channels. We are still conceptualising the strategy.

Why are you doing this channel refresh? Was there a need?

All brands will come to a stage and think that now is the time to change and we believed that we were not doing well last year. We slipped to be in the middle. As today you know we are on number one and the timing is right.

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