Pradeep Hejmadi, fondly known as Praddy in the industry, has been with AIDEM as their Group CEO since August 2018. He is one of the most respected leaders in consumer research, advanced analytics and, as his LinkedIn profile says, “creating, building and implementing practices towards value creation”.
He has worked with some very well-known brands such as Zee TV, TAM, MTV, Turner and Discovery in a long and illustrious career.
This month also marks the successful completion of 9 years of AIDEM. Medianews4u caught up with Hejmadi for LEADERSPEAK, and he spoke about their journey, challenges, learnings and more.
How has AIDEM’s journey been so far? What have been your key learnings?
The journey has been fabulous and studded with numerous challenges hence unparalleled learnings.
Some that stand out are – Growth must be inorganic – whether for us or for our partners, be it channels or assets.
Strategic-thinking and swift implementation are two-sides of a coin. In our currency and especially in our business, strategies do not enjoy the luxury of long timelines. Long timelines here mean beyond one year; swift implementation leads to results. With this, strategy is of paramount importance.
Win = Loss, Loss = Loss – Meeting and exceeding expectations and not meeting expectations both, do not subsume continuity of a mandate. In short, it’s a thankless service.
Team profile enhancement is very critical for leaders who aim for a business to enjoy continuity; one-man shows start but cannot survive for long. People who bring dreams to life need to be an integral part of the dream.
Last but the not the least, deep and correct market knowledge creates an edge that is impossible to beat. This goes beyond just advertisement rates and most critically must also focus on the mindset of channel and asset owners.
What changes has AIDEM seen in its 9-year journey? Within the company and externally in the market?
AIDEM has managed an unmatched portfolio of assets across Hindi GECs, Regional GECs, Hindi News Channels, Regional Cluster Channels and even digital assets which include Microsoft, The Economist etc. This makes our capability unique and powerful for a variety of businesses.
We have been pioneers in the field of Digital TV Ad delivery and thereby have created a market that several players have entered over-time and are functioning profitably while we continue to command a dominant value market share in this vertical.
We hived off our digital business with the launch of ZIRCA and it has gone from strength to strength over the years and our value system of innovation has witnessed ZIRCA building very interesting offerings for digital media advertisers.
What would you include amongst the finest initiatives and accomplishments by AIDEM — whether over the years or recently undertaken. That you are very proud of…
Tough singling out one from another but very soon we will be announcing a product we are on the anvil of launching which will be a trailblazer and I am certain that content creators across shows, movies, commercials, advertisements, etcetera, not just in India but across the globe will race to benefit from it.
Any recent project that challenged AIDEM to stand up and deliver innovative solutions?
We approach every project uniquely and build solutions keeping in mind their play and the potential we can create. No responsibility do we take lying down hence standing-up is not an alternative and neither is delivering results.
What were the challenges of the year 2018 and how did AIDEM overcome them?
2018 needed us to carve our long-range strategy and devise a roadmap for us to be known as a “company that demonstrates its understanding of the media inside-out — backwards. We have identified the vectors and our trajectory towards achieving this.
Team Revitalization – Our people have demonstrated superlative loyalty and endurance by bracing entries and exits of assets, we were required to regroup and revitalize our energies and align with our company’s vision and mission.
Diversification and Scale – The winds of change, as they blow through our industry, have helped us recognize the need to diversify our play and at the same time focus on building scale, which we triggered in the 3rd quarter of 2018 which will yield results in 2019 and beyond.
Power of Collaboration – An essential catalyst for inorganic growth. We have formed a couple of powerful collaborations which are yielding results and more will follow in the year ahead.
What are the plans for 2019?
Scale up and diversify.
As a leader, what are the most important things you look for in the people who come to join you? Values, or skills?
Values – Hands-down! Skills can tell us what one can do but Values define the person and tell us what the person is.
Who was your first or most significant mentor or teacher in the professional space you are in? Why do you think so? What specifically did you learn that has held you in good stead throughout?
I have had the true blessing of always finding the most amazing teachers and mentors in the form of my immediate seniors. Each of them has been generous in handing out opportunities which have shaped me into what I am professionally. Every professional exchange in my life has been a new learning for me and I personally want to thank each and every senior media and entertainment professional who will read this and think “Oh, it’s Praddy”, for knowing or unknowingly helping me grow intellectually and making me capable of using my knowledge and expertise in our industry.