Mediaah! Who will be the Impact Person of the Year 2013 + Why Uday Shankar is the Mediaperson who created maximum impact this year

06 Dec,2013

By Pradyuman Maheshwari


As I write this, I have been inundated with calls and smses asking me who the Impact Person of the Year is for this year. I was associated with the exchange4media group for nearly three years, but I am not much in touch with people from the group. So I don’t really know.


And I am not invited for the IPOY event ever since I quit. Nothing alarming about it. This is how things work in the media. You will not find the Filmfare editor at the Screen awards or vice versa. You will not find the Overdrive boss at the Auto Car India awards. This isn’t how it works in advertising… many of Lowe’s competitors assembled for its internal awards earlier this year.  And you can be sure to find rival film-makers at each other’s film release.


But that’s not the reason for writing this. The question is who will win the Impact Person of the Year to be presented this evening (Friday, Dec 6). Since IPOY is based on voting monitored by IMRB, the award-winner is selected as per voting from the fraternity. There have been rumours that it is Vineet Jain, Vice-Chairman of Bennett, Coleman & Co, and a little birdie has told me who the winner is, but let’s look at the nominees (in alphabetical order of their last names):


Rajan Anandan Managing Director, Google India

Punit Goenka, MD and CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL)

Vineet Jain Managing Director, Times Group

Bharat Patel, Former Chairman, ISA and Hemant Bakshi, Chairman, ISA

Rahul Sharma, Co-founder, Micromax Informatics

CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM South Asia

Sameer Suneja, Global CEO, Perfetti Van Melle


Let’s start with the process of elimination. Messrs Patel and Bakshi have done some splendid work in their own professional lives and they need to be commended for the ISA to the stand up to the IBF in the controversy on the television measurement boycott, but I am not very sure whether they would quality for the IPOY.


Sameer Suneja goes out next. His ascent is noteworthy, but he’s not the first Indian corporate honcho to go overseas. Rahul Sharma’s rise is well-known, but 2013 was not the year of Micromax. In fact, Nokia has been shining high.


The four nominees in balance are Rajan Anandan, Punit Goenka, Vineet Jain and CVL Srinivas. Google has done great work for the last few years, but nothing buzz-creating in 2013. So the choice has to be from amongst Punit Goenka, Vineet Jain and CVL Srinivas.


All three are good contenders, but the buzz around the time the voting is done was maximum for Vineet Jain, especially since The Times of India is celebrating 175 years.


My vote though for the Person of the Year who created maximum impact in 2013 is Uday Shankar. The year has been clearly his – given Star’s major foray in sports, consolidating Star Plus, the rise of Life OK, his own stature as an industry leader and every thing else that Star India has been doing. Aaj ki tareekh mein, Uday Shankar is the man with the midas touch. Unfortunately, Impact magazine doesn’t repeat Person of the Year winners, which many think is unfair, but then that’s their rule. Uday was IPOY 2010.


Next year, assuming the successful implementation of a BARC-administered television measurement system, I would think Punit Goenka and Shashi Sinha will be Persons of the Year. Both deserve huge accolades for the rapid strides being taken on measurement. Yes, it took BARC a huge amount of time to take off, but then building a consensus amongst three sets of stakeholders isn’t easy. The buy-in has to be complete because they all need to pay for the new service.


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