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MK Anand

Author : MK Anand | Times Network | 2015 Apr 28

Interview Introduction : 2016 is the year of marketing and improving our sales position and mostly by improving our yield; and by improving yield I’m not going to say that I will mindlessly change my prices. I want to tell my brands and business partners that just because I am sitting, don’t take me to be a duck.

Q. What are the changes that you brought about since joining Times Network??

This is not a company that is going to sell out and move. So I am looking at 2025 in television as to what are we going to do. What position will we be in? Will we be a mass player or scale player or high profitability player? Whatever we want to be, whether it is competing with Star, Zee or some digital company, fundamentally we needed to correct the value equation of the existing products.

My first intervention was with the people. So we looked at the way that the people are organized, the way that they are tasked with functions; their actual strengths and weaknesses and how can we utilize them in a manner that you take these same alphabets and create new poetry out of it. I have not got too many people once I came in except for a few vacancies in maybe sales positions. We have.

Q. What are the changes that you brought about since joining Times Network??

This is not a company that is going to sell out and move. So I am looking at 2025 in television as to what are we going to do. What position will we be in? Will we be a mass player or scale player or high profitability player? Whatever we want to be, whether it is competing with Star, Zee or some digital company, fundamentally we needed to correct the value equation of the existing products.

My first intervention was with the people. So we looked at the way that the people are organized, the way that they are tasked with functions; their actual strengths and weaknesses and how can we utilize them in a manner that you take these same alphabets and create new poetry out of it. I have not got too many people once I came in except for a few vacancies in maybe sales positions. We have.

Q. What are your plans for the Network going forward??

If 2014-15 was the year of internal organization and distribution which is more of the basics, 2016 is the year of marketing and improving our sales position and mostly by improving our yield. And by improving yield I am not going to say that I am going to mindlessly change my prices. I want to tell my brands and business partners just because I am sitting don’t take me to be a duck. So whether you are the largest DTH players or the largest advertisers, please respect us for what we are..

Q. What are your plans for the Network going forward??

If 2014-15 was the year of internal organization and distribution which is more of the basics, 2016 is the year of marketing and improving our sales position and mostly by improving our yield. And by improving yield I am not going to say that I am going to mindlessly change my prices. I want to tell my brands and business partners just because I am sitting don’t take me to be a duck. So whether you are the largest DTH players or the largest advertisers, please respect us for what we are..

Q. Keeping in line with your growth and expansion plans we are given to understand the Times Network will be launching two to three new channels??

First and foremost bringing this network to its full potential in eight quarters was my target. So first 4 quarters are over I have done what needs to be done to ensure that it is a good plane standing on the runway, now we are going to take off. Next year this time this network would reach a quarterly run rate which will be a stable good run rate and I am not expecting that it will again start growing out of it. Simultaneously we are looking at what are the natural extensions of these products, for example Hindi and regional, and in the news space itself, keeping in mind the audience clusters that we are good with and then saying ‘ Are there channels that can come into this space?’ So we will have 1 or 2 such launches happening every year. Are we getting into a space which we aren’t in? Y.

Q. Keeping in line with your growth and expansion plans we are given to understand the Times Network will be launching two to three new channels??

First and foremost bringing this network to its full potential in eight quarters was my target. So first 4 quarters are over I have done what needs to be done to ensure that it is a good plane standing on the runway, now we are going to take off. Next year this time this network would reach a quarterly run rate which will be a stable good run rate and I am not expecting that it will again start growing out of it. Simultaneously we are looking at what are the natural extensions of these products, for example Hindi and regional, and in the news space itself, keeping in mind the audience clusters that we are good with and then saying ‘ Are there channels that can come into this space?’ So we will have 1 or 2 such launches happening every year. Are we getting into a space which we aren’t in? Y.

Q. Are you looking at launching a real estate channel??

It is not just real estate honestly; we believe that ET Now has to expand to stay relevant and bigger in a very narrow market. We are not a business news channel which has other interests and other revenue models if I may say so. So Luxury, Auto, Real Estate, etc. the whole space that ET Panache is in is what I am interested in. I am tinkering with the possibility of can you look at those 3-4 channels. This would be using ET Now factory which has the resources already there. Beyond the markets, can this system generate 3 or 4 other children and this is a strategy or thought which can eventually as a cluster be more viable..

Q. Are you looking at launching a real estate channel??

It is not just real estate honestly; we believe that ET Now has to expand to stay relevant and bigger in a very narrow market. We are not a business news channel which has other interests and other revenue models if I may say so. So Luxury, Auto, Real Estate, etc. the whole space that ET Panache is in is what I am interested in. I am tinkering with the possibility of can you look at those 3-4 channels. This would be using ET Now factory which has the resources already there. Beyond the markets, can this system generate 3 or 4 other children and this is a strategy or thought which can eventually as a cluster be more viable..

Q. What about the launch of a new Hindi channel??

I don’t put it past us to get into Indian languages and I think it is very essential if you ask me. I think it is a great shot in the arm for my distribution strategy if I had one or two Hindi channels. Maybe one more player like Zoom will only improve my distribution prowess on the ground. We are working on it. We are working on a (Hindi) GEC plan, but working on plans does not mean that it will get launched. We are also working on other spaces such as regional, youth and kids, Hindi news and luxury and the expansion of the English segment. So as of right now they are in vapour stage and not even water stage, to get it to ice stage will take some time. If you ask me 3 to 4 years down the line whether I would see such channels coming to reality, I definitely see that happening..

Q. What about the launch of a new Hindi channel??

I don’t put it past us to get into Indian languages and I think it is very essential if you ask me. I think it is a great shot in the arm for my distribution strategy if I had one or two Hindi channels. Maybe one more player like Zoom will only improve my distribution prowess on the ground. We are working on it. We are working on a (Hindi) GEC plan, but working on plans does not mean that it will get launched. We are also working on other spaces such as regional, youth and kids, Hindi news and luxury and the expansion of the English segment. So as of right now they are in vapour stage and not even water stage, to get it to ice stage will take some time. If you ask me 3 to 4 years down the line whether I would see such channels coming to reality, I definitely see that happening..

Q. Critics claim that Times Now is courting criticism for ratings, what are thoughts on this??

There is no controversy of ratings from our point of view. We do not doctor ratings or do anything that a lot of people may be doing. We never do it. I will never do it personally and the company will definitely never do it. For us ratings is the result of a lot of good work that we put out. Fortunately in English genre or youth, ratings do not matter. We are not CPRP driven businesses, they are ER driven businesses and so it actually doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect us at all a business level. We got 72% viewership on Shame in Sydney program, so what are you going to complain about when it is working..

Q. Critics claim that Times Now is courting criticism for ratings, what are thoughts on this??

There is no controversy of ratings from our point of view. We do not doctor ratings or do anything that a lot of people may be doing. We never do it. I will never do it personally and the company will definitely never do it. For us ratings is the result of a lot of good work that we put out. Fortunately in English genre or youth, ratings do not matter. We are not CPRP driven businesses, they are ER driven businesses and so it actually doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect us at all a business level. We got 72% viewership on Shame in Sydney program, so what are you going to complain about when it is working..

Q. What is the reason for the rebranding of Times Television Network to Times Network??

As a media group from newspapers and radio, when we started doing television and we started doing it one it one by one. So we had Zoom, then a year down the line Times Now, about five years down the line ET Now and four years down the line, we had the movies piece. The only common thing is that they have been launched by the Times Group’s owners. But each of these brought in new project themes, new marketing, content and sales people and they have passionately worked at it. So that is a classic situation where you have five logos and the Times Television Network is a loose sort of a marker that it belongs to this. The Times Television Network logo while it was doing the work was not really being harnessed and there is a need to start telling that story. Obviously a logo change was a good e.

Q. What is the reason for the rebranding of Times Television Network to Times Network??

As a media group from newspapers and radio, when we started doing television and we started doing it one it one by one. So we had Zoom, then a year down the line Times Now, about five years down the line ET Now and four years down the line, we had the movies piece. The only common thing is that they have been launched by the Times Group’s owners. But each of these brought in new project themes, new marketing, content and sales people and they have passionately worked at it. So that is a classic situation where you have five logos and the Times Television Network is a loose sort of a marker that it belongs to this. The Times Television Network logo while it was doing the work was not really being harnessed and there is a need to start telling that story. Obviously a logo change was a good e.

 

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