Our core belief is innovation: Shyatto Raha, NDTV Worldwide

21 Feb,2012

By Akash Raha

 

Shyatto Raha, CEO, NDTV Worldwide and NDTV Emerging Markets, has been with NDTV for over 13 years and is an integral part of NDTV’s strategic team which has helped develop new growth areas.

 

He spearheaded the successful launches of NDTV Arabia in the Middle East and Astro Awani channels in Indonesia and Malaysia.

 

In his role as CEO of NDTV Worldwide and Emerging Markets, group subsidiaries, Mr Raha heads its business and operations and is responsible for the setting up of local news, current affairs and business channels targeting the local population, in emerging markets across the world.

 

In a chat with MxMIndia, Mr Raha speaks about NDTV Worldwide, its focus and growth.

 

Q: NDTV Worldwide has created a footprint in the media consultancy business and spread the banner of the NDTV group to newer areas. What are the other key focuses?

Over the years NDTV has become one of the most trusted brands in the broadcast industry. Also, we have been a very successful brand. As far a media consultancy is concerned we have only shared the knowledge from the talent that is their within NDTV. Many of us have been at NDTV for over 15 years and it’s all about taking that knowledge base and creating media consultancy and media services which is due to bring about a change in the industry. It is definitely a change for the better. Here, we are making sure that the people who are coming into the market, the new entrants, are at least buying into technology, buying into programming ideas, buying into a way of working which will help them sustain and survive in the environment. Otherwise, what happens is that we find that a lot of broadcasters who enter the industry and then after a about a year or two they wither away because they were never set up properly. So considering that this (broadcast business) has been better and better and we have run it for over 23 years now, it gives us a very good foothold to advise broadcasters who are new to the market as to how to set up channels, on best practices, and tried and tested workflow. We don’t impart bookish knowledge but rather a very practical approach to things. We have been very small to start off with and we have been a very small consultancy in the market compared to many others in the market. But we like to take baby steps because we believe in getting it right. The aim is not just to take on 78 clients and get it all wrong. The aim is to take baby steps, manage fewer clients, get it right and then expand.

 

Q: What are some of the major developments that you have seen in NDTV Worldwide since its inception?

Over the years, the kind of services that we are offering in the market has expanded. Earlier we used to do only channel set ups. But today we do channel set ups, broadcast consultancy, training, channel management services… We have also added digital consultancy, where we have set up web mobile and apps platforms based on the success of NDTV convergence. So it’s a wide array of services that we have added since we started. In terms of client base, our prime focus in the first two years was on international clients and in the last two years it has been the Indian market. And I think we have done fairly well in the Indian markets with the clients that we have and we have got it right. I think they have all seen the result and the benefit that has come out of it

 

Q: What are some of the new clients you have bagged?

We can’t talk about recent signings due to confidentiality. Last year, the big launch was the Beximco Group, which is one of the biggest television channels in Bangladesh. That was a feather in our cap because, of all the TV stations launched in that market, I think independent television has set a new benchmark in the industry.

And that’s the NDTV value that we bring to the table. Our core belief is innovation and it has been Prannoy-Radhika’s belief since the day I worked with NDTV. It’s been innovation at every level. When we set up NDTV – the news business – we innovated, not just in terms of technology platforms that we brought into the country but also innovation in terms of content. The kind of shows, the programming, the business practices, the kind of work flow and management style were all innovative. We don’t like following people. It’s not arrogant; it’s just trying to set a new standard and do something different.

 

Q: NDTV group started off with a news channel. How did the idea of this subsidiary business emerge?

It all started with one project, where we launched Astro Awani in Malaysia. We completely revamped it and created a differentiated channel for the audiences. This was NDTV’s first launch outside India and a very successful one too. We saw a business model in this that could be worked and built upon. We thought that NDTV had a lot to offer in terms of knowledge and ideas to new entrants in the market, and we could successfully leverage upon it.

 

Q: What has the growth of NDTV Worldwide been like?

Over the last year we grew by 70 percent. Our target for the current year is 100 percent and we are well on course to achieve it. In terms of expansion, our pre-eminent focus in the past few years has been India and the international market in South East Asia. However, in the upcoming years you can definitely see us entering newer countries and perhaps continent.

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