This is a carefully considered business decision: Siddharth Jain

13 Apr,2012

It wasn’t an easy day at office for Siddharth Jain, Managing Director- South Asia at Turner International India Private Limited. Mr Jain, who had assumed his current role in November last year, took time off to respond to MxMIndia’s questions in an emailed interaction.

 

What exactly happened… there were promos running for forthcoming shows and then this announcement of pulling down curtains?

This is a carefully considered business decision based on performance of the channel. We invested substantially and put all possible resources behind Imagine TV throughout. As in any other business, the investments were directly linked to reaching a certain performance benchmark. However, in the two years, Imagine did not grow or perform as per expectations and as a result, Turner made the carefully-considered decision to cease operations of the channel.

 

Did you consider selling the channel (a la 9X)?

We worked incredibly hard to exhaust all options to avoid cessation of business operations.

 

This is the second GEC from the Turner stable that has failed. But your other channels are doing well, with Pogo hitting an all-time high recently. Will Turner try its hand at another GEC or is it quits for now?

Absolutely. Turner remains fully committed to future investments and long-term participation in India. Having been pioneers in the Indian M&E space in international news and kids’ entertainment, Turner currently operates some of the strongest media brands in India. POGO is indeed doing very well, being the Number one channel in the kids’ TV genre for the last six months (as per TAM). Turner will continue to be leaders in the media and entertainment industry and to explore expansion opportunities in this key priority market for Turner.

 

What happens to the team and staff of Imagine? Anyone being retained or moved to other businesses?

Turner will retain some employees for a transition period and some others are being offered permanent roles within other Turner channels to fill current vacancies.

 

For the other Imagine employees getting impacted, Turner has set up an HR outplacement service which will provide advice on how to write a better CV, interviewing techniques and other job hunting skills. We will also introduce the employees to recruitment consultants, HR professionals from other media organizations and facilitate their new job search. Our focus is to ensure the closure is executed in a fair and appropriate manner for all of them and in full compliance with all legal requirements, employment terms and company policies. We will use our best endeavours to make this as smooth a transition as possible for them.

 

The integration exercise that Turner carried out in May 2011 didn’t seem go down well with a few key personnel exiting the company eventually. In hindsight, was that what triggered the channel’s downfall?

The two are not related in any way. Integration really helped in getting better operational efficiencies between Imagine and our other networks. While exits happened in the last one year, if you look across the industry it is in the normal course of any GEC. There is not one person or one department that was responsible but a number of factors that led to the channel not delivering consistent ratings that were required to sustain the business and continued investment.

 

Why wasn’t there a suitable replacement to Sameer Nair post his exit?

We are not in a position to comment on Mr Nair.

 

Are there any plans for your library of programming? And what happens to the programmes signed up?

As of today, we cease all business operations of Imagine TV. The closure is a complicated process as we are ensuring fulfillment of all our business commitments to advertisers, distributors, production houses and other partners.

 

As you look back, do you think it was an unwise decision to buy Imagine from NDTV? And would it have been better for you to have launched an all-new channel so that it doesn’t come with the baggage of an unsuccessful channel?

The acquisition of Imagine was a wholly appropriate, strategic and extensively-considered decision.

 

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