We’re looking at strategic inputs from CA Media, Zodius: Vijay Nair

27 Apr,2012

By Shruti Pushkarna


Vijay Nair

What started as a hobby for Only Much Louder founder and CEO Vijay Nair became a business venture when he set up the first artist management company for indie bands in India. Mr Nair’s career started at the age of 15 when he started consulting Procter & Gamble on their Indian youth portal Masti.com. Subsequently, he worked with the Indian indie music zine Gigpad.com and got initiated into the music business. Excerpts from an interview


So do we see Only Much Louder getting bigger, better and louder with this investment?

Well that’s the idea… and we’ve been kind of slow in terms of picking which investors we want to work with and at what stage of our company do we want to get the investments in. So having established a few properties, I think this is going to help us amplify lot of that and take it to different cities, work out a much stronger deal as well.


What are the specific objectives of taking this investment?

Building a stronger team is the primary objective of this. And, secondly, scaling some of the things that we’ve been already working on. Thirdly, a specific reason for working with CA Media and Zodius is to focus a lot more on the digital and television part of it as opposed to our focus which has just been live events so far. So we want to take it to multiple platforms.


You’ve started out as a small enterprise doing interesting things with youth and music and then with Babblefish, you’ve done Dewarists and Sound Trippin’ with MTV. Is there a fear of losing out on the pulse as you grow bigger?

I don’t think anyone who knows OML will ever fear that…the two examples you mentioned of Dewarists and Sound Trippin’, that’s exactly the kind of stuff we want to do. What this gives us is the opportunity to work with multiple networks and more shows, but everything that OML does, will revolve around music and alternative culture. And that’s something that investors are not only clear about but I think that’s one of the reasons they’ve invested in us, because they wanted to look at a niche player.


Also read…
CA Media to invest in companies, build brands
That Rajesh Kamat was 1st CEO of Endemol is not a coincidence: Deepak Dhar
Two investments done. Many to come!

Is there a role model among the various Indian and international companies?

Not specifically… I think as far as Indian market goes, we are quite an exception in terms of what we are trying to do is only be an agency focused on music and alternative culture and not be an event management company, so definitely not with an Indian company. Within each of the divisions that we have, we have role models which are similar to that of abroad but none of them operate as one cohesive unit which is what we are trying to build.


Mr Rajesh Kamat has been a super successful GEC CEO. With CA investing, do you see him adding value on your TV production venture?

Yes, we have been working with him for the last six months now, when the deal was coming together, it’s already made an immense amount of difference. Rajesh’s inputs make a lot of difference… this year Babblefish should be doing at least six television shows, not only the GEC part of it but he was also one of the main guys who set up Endemol, so from a production perspective, his inputs have been very important because this is the area we were not familiar with. This is one of the main reasons in fact, Neeraj from Zodius and Rajesh from CA. both of them bring in strength which OML definitely needs to be a scalable business.


You’ve not had one but two investors… CA and Zodius?

The story behind is that initially I met Neeraj and we started talking about this. Zodius has always been focused on the digital part of the business and there’s only one of the divisions in OML which is really focused on digital… Neeraj in fact introduced us to CA Media saying that these are good partners to have because  they have a larger media play and they collectively work with us. So for us it actually came as a team, so it wasn’t us going to two different people, they kind of came in together and structured this entire deal.


What are your immediate targets?

Right now we are looking at building a fairly strong team and getting the right people in. But otherwise just trying to see what new properties we can seed which can last as a brand for a much longer time, wo we are working on a lot of new concepts knowing that we have the option to scale a lot of them with the investments that have come in.


Both Rajesh and Neeraj are known heavyweights in the business. Do you fear that they could be influencing (and often charting) your course of operations?

We would want them involved at a strategic level because both the companies, we haven’t looked at them as financial investors. We are very keen on them being involved at a strategic level, in fact both of them are strict believers of the fact that we should stick to the niche stuff we are doing because they have experience on the other side of the fence of building very large scale mass businesses. So they will have significant inputs and we are going to take that very seriously but there’s complete clarity in terms of the direction that OML is going to go in.


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