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ZEEL's Punit Goenka and Amit Goenka become the first Indians to receive Médaille d'Honneur

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MUMBAI: MIPTV, the world's leading market event for the international TV industry, today announced that it will honour the top leaders of India’s most valuable listed entertainment entity, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited(ZEEL). ZEEL managing director and CEO Punit Goenka,  and  International Broadcast Business CEO Amit Goenka will be awarded MIPTV Médailles d’Honneur in a ceremony taking place in Cannes, France on Wednesday 6 April 2016.

The prestigious MIPTV Médailles d’Honneur is awarded to senior executives who have made a significant contribution to the world of television and to the development of the international TV community.  Punit Goenka and Amit Goenka are the first Indians to receive the coveted Médailles d’Honneur. MIPTV 2016 will welcome 60 Indian TV delegates among over 11,000 leading television executives attending the event from around the world.

Punit Goenka took charge as MD & CEO in 2008 and since then, he has been extremely successful in enhancing ZEEL’s performance and keeping the company at the forefront of the TV business in India. Punit’s younger brother Amit took over as the group’s CEO, International Broadcast Business late last year, and is responsible for spearheading ZEE’s foreign expansion. Today, ZEE is available in 169 countries and reaches over 959 million viewers worldwide.

“For many years, Zee Entertainment has been at the heart of the Indian presence at MIPTV and MIPCOM, and the company’s leaders, Punit and Amit, are among the most respected chief executives in the global TV industry. As the group has developed across the international market, one understands and appreciates ZEE’s corporate philosophy ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The World Is My Family’, said Reed MIDEM television Division director Laurine Garaude.

Commenting on the award, Punit Goenka said, “Receiving such an honour from MIPTV is as much a personal recognition as it is a tribute to our highly creative and dedicated teams across the globe at ZEEL.”

“It is a great honour and privilege for us to receive this prestigious award and to be named amongst such a stellar group of luminaries from the global Media and Entertainment industry;” Amit Goenka said.

In addition to Punit Goenka and Amit Goenka, three other distinguished TV industry leaders will receive Médailles d’Honneur in Cannes are  Germany's Studiocanal TV MD Rola Bauer,  Disney Mesia Networks global distribution president Ben Pyne from USA, and Mexico's Comarex president Marcel Vinay. 

Amongst the previous winners of this presitigous award figure:  (in 2014) 21st Century Fox Television International television president Marion Edwards, Channel One Russia CEO Konstantin Ernst, Tele München Group chairman and owner Herbert G Kloiber and Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner, (in 2013)  Beta Film CEO Jan Mojto, CBS Global Distribution group president and CEO Armando Nuñez , Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan TV networks, SVP Masao Takiyama,  French Groupe M6 chairman Nicolas de Tavernost, and BSkyB MD-content Sophie Turner Laing.

  Anil Wanvari is the Founder, CEO and editor in chief of the      Indiantelevision.com group. He is also the representative of Reed  Midem’s MipTV, MipCom, and Midem for India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka  and Bangladesh, apart from representing the Singapore-based Asia  Television Forum for the same territories. We reached out to Anil to  get his  views, insights  on  what the bestowing of the Medailles d’  Honneur on Zee TV’s Punit and Amit Goenka means for the group    and also for the nation as a whole.

 Excerpts:

Why are  Zee Entertainment Enterprises'  Punit  and Amit Goenka being recognised with the Médailles d’Honneur at MipTV this year?

Zee TV has consistently been a pioneer in pushing Make In India globally even before Make In India was thought of. Their presence in so many countries is a testimony of the Zee TV group’s global vision. They have operations in Indonesia, West Asia, Russia, Singapore, UK and many more countries.  The Zee TV group is the largest Indian television content exporter in terms of program syndication as well. They are the most international Indian media company. 

A couple of years ago, the Zee TV group had announced ambitious plans to drastically hike up the contribution of its international business to its top line.The group's vision is to have revenues from outside India to almost equal the business from the country. What this means it will have scale up its international operations and also increase its geographical spread. Last year, it  announced its  intention to  build beachheads in several mature television markets internationally as well. Punit and Dr Subhash Chandra brought in the talented Amit Goenka to head that international push. An announcement to launch a channel in Germany was made in mid-January this year. Other new market forays into are planned. 

Puneet is the first Indian media CEO to speak during MIPCOM at the Cannes Palais des Festivals' Grand Auditorium -   a space normally reserved for executives from more mature markets like the US and Europe.

 ZeeTV is the biggest exhibitor at MIPCOM and MIPTV and has been consistently increasing its commitment and investment in building its international business. The Medailles d’ Honneur is just a recognition of Zee’s vision of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The World Is My Family’.

I am delighted that Reed Midem has decided to recognize Punit and Amit. I believe this is the first of many more such recognitions and rewards which will be bestowed on executives form the vibrant Indian entertainment economy. 

Why is exporting Indian TV and film content so important?

What the US has done effectively is build its soft power, lifestyle   and culture through Hollywood films and TV shows. Corporations have benefited immensely from this as they have sold burgers, jeans, colas, cars and what have you through the imagery that has been built through movies and TV shows making these products desirable for consumers globally. Both corporate America and Hollywood have built a symbiotic relationship which has benefited the US economy as a whole.

India is on the cusp of change. We have a government which has the determination to deliver on the promise of the  country meeting its destiny as a global superpower. It could aid this vision by using the same soft power approach. It needs to push its products globally by integrating them in its films and TV shows globally and building brand India. I would like to see a vada pav become as desirable and part of people’s diets overseas as is the burger or the pizza.  

Yes, our quality of production and of storytelling could scale up even further, but  Indian TV shows and films are already beginning to strike an even further chord with international audiences. This bodes well for the Indian content creation and syndication  industry. As well as the economy as a whole.

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