LookBack 2012: The Anchor: 20 must-read interviews

28 Dec,2012

Once the immediacy of an event has passed, or sometimes even while it is still hot to the touch, a sit-me-down (or sometimes a phone-in or a mail) brings forth some considered opinions and frank disclosures. MxMIndia interviewed many a honcho over the last 12 months – here are 20 of the voices that were heard.



“Sometimes in the newsroom we think we can do a story, but when we see the backlash the next day, we start being more careful by censoring ourselves.”


“I always say our competition is the Times of India. Because we go with the TOI. Now the TOI has massive width, they do like sixty stories at an average. So our battle is to out-think the TOI, in the sense that ‘this is what they will do, so let’s do something different’. We can get away with some naughty things that they can’t.”

– Meenal Baghel, Editor-in-Chief of Mirror




“This kind of judging has no relevance to what the purpose of advertising is. Basically the award show is a game and you play it. So it’s not about cleaning it up, I don’t value what you award.”

– R Balki, Lowe Lintas




“The beauty of ASCI lies in the fact that it does not have teeth and still works with the advertisers who make false claims.”

 – Sam Balsara, ASCI’s past chairman




“I don’t believe in changing jobs for the heck of it. People use it as a spring board for becoming financially more solvent, and that has never occurred to me. For me, a job is a gateway to learning and it’s not for pay slips.”

– Bhaskar Das




“The core issue I think is that while the readership currency has evolved on the one hand, circulation as a currency has lived in status quo.”

– Shailesh Gupta, Director-Marketing, Jagran Prakashan and Chairman of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC)




“If you called every bit of news dropping onto the wires as ‘breaking’ then you would lose the trust of your viewers in making a judgement on the relative weight of stories. I try to vary the wording eg ‘news just coming into us’ or ‘story we have been following’ or ‘an update on a story we’re following’. Our audiences are smart, they can easily spot any hype.”

– Mishal Husain, BBC World News presenter



“I think in India the printed form still has some way to go. However, digital is going to emerge over a period of time. Now whether it is going to be five, 10 or 15 years is very difficult to say. What we have to do is, be prepared when it comes.”

– Vivek Khanna, Publisher and Business Head of Mint, HT Media Limited




“Zee understood the emotions and tastes of the Indian consumer. It took a long time for the competition to figure it out… mainly by hiring Zee TV’s people.”

– Ashok Kurien, Non-Executive member of Essel Group’s Board, and Director, Ambience Advertising



“There is too much internecine warfare amongst the ad agencies. Everybody is out to get each other. I don’t know why that is, it’s perhaps the very nature of competition.”

– Ram Madhvani, Film Director



“Despite the global recession, India has managed to tide through and hence they wanted an insight into our way of doing things. In fact, they were surprised to know how our advertising and marketing industry was so vibrant even in such testing economic conditions. The kind and quantity of innovations we continue to produce was a great eye opener for them.”

– Mandeep Malhotra, President, DDB Mudra Max



“See, value for money means different things to different people. But let me put it this way: most reality shows do not make money. While there may be exceptions to the rule, on a reality show, you normally recover about 70 percent of your investment. There may be some reality shows on which you make 100 percent. But you need to have reality shows for the intangible value they bring to the brand, and to the channel.”


– Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors



“The print market is not declining. We always advise people not to look at quarter-on-quarter changes but look at the long-term trend to arrive at a conclusion.”

– Suresh Nimbalkar, Senior Vice President, Hansa Research




“One area that we really want to look at is Cannes. It is the single biggest aim that we have going forward. The other thing for us is to make great campaigns that have a high ROI.”

– Ravi Rao, Leader, South Asia, MindshareAshok Kurien




“I think where digital is concerned, the Asia Pacific market is ahead because they can leapfrog ahead of the US and UK and because they have less infrastructure issues.”

– Marco Rimini, Leader, Business Planning, Mindshare Worldwide




“I was the first guy to bring the AOR into the country. So you can blame me for the disintegration of the full service agency.”

– Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, South Asia, GroupM




“While others in the marketplace are still working in the commodified world of planning and buying, we feel we’ve carved out a unique place to operate that’s focused on where the industry is headed, not where it’s been.”

– John Sheehy, President, Global Operations, Starcom MediaVest Group




“The only lows were realizing that people working in the company did not even read your newspaper! It shows you that most non-journalists in the media industry have zero passion for their jobs.”

– Aditya Sinha, former editor-in-chief, DNA



Often the ad executives are short-term employees who only look at short-term profits. They often don’t care about the damage to the publication’s reputation, so editors have to take a stand and refuse any such interference.

– Mohan Sivanand, India Editor, Reader’s Digest



“We are seeing the corporatization and commercialization of the media having an impact on the kind of content that is being produced. The viewers of television channels, the readers of newspapers, and the listeners of radio stations are being perceived more as ‘consumers’ rather as citizens.”

– Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Media Veteran and Independent Journalist



“Here (in India), I think the measurement yardsticks become all the more important for marketers as it will give direction on how much their spend is actually reflecting on the revenue.”

– Michael Wolfe, CEO, Bottom-Line Analytics


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