The Indian media and broadcast world was sailing through its worst period during the aftermath of the pandemic. Adding to the woes, it lacked strong leaders who are capable of playing ball with stakeholders and policy makers, and script a turnaround story.
With events like ZEE-Sony merger, Viacom18 rejig and news of Disney Star being up for sale, the sluggishness was visible during the past 18 months as every other media network was going through some kind of transformation either in the form of merger or management rejig.
The SAT verdict favouring Mr Punit will certainly speed up the merger process which in turn will set in motion the real challenge for leadership in the Indian broadcast ecosystem. The rollout of new investment from the merged entity will trigger the competition in content making. On the other hand the industry needs the right leadership to lobby with the power centres and get favourable policies that enable the industry’s next phase of growth.
As an entrepreneur with a vast experience, Mr. Punit Goenka is one of the most proficient business leaders of the industry and has a sharp business acumen. He has identified trends and steered ZEE successfully as a media and entertainment powerhouse for well over two decades.
At just 48, he is amongst the youngest and most prolific leaders with several achievements to his name. With a sound understanding of the audiences’ preferences, Mr. Goenka has led ZEE’s expansion in the regional markets, revival of the studios business, launch of India’s second largest music label and more.
He plays an active role in shaping the future of the entertainment landscape, in diverse capacities. Presently, he serves as a Board of Director for the Indian Broadcasting & Digital Foundation (IBDF). In the past, he has served as the Chairman of the TV measurement body BARC India, being a key part of its founding team; Chairman of IBDF and leading key conversations with policy makers; and President of the International Advertising Association’s (IAA) India Chapter, addressing key industry-level interests and launching several intellectual properties catering to the advertising and marketing fraternity. In many of these roles, he was unanimously reelected for a second term by the members as well.
Mr. Goenka has been extremely successful in enhancing ZEE’s performance over the years by identifying the right opportunities to scale and build a well-diversified portfolio. His futuristic vision has led the company to a global stature today, with ZEE having an international presence across over 190 countries, and its reach to over 1.3 billion viewers.
As the MD & CEO of ZEE since 2010, Mr. Goenka has vast knowledge and capabilities in leading the operations of a large organisation of 50 domestic channels, 36 international channels, 1 OTT platform, 1 movie studio and 1 music label. This experience will enable him to translate the success witnessed by ZEE, to the merged entity as well, which is expected to be a M&E behemoth.
As the leader of the largest public-listed M&E company in India, Mr. Goenka has a sound understanding of the overall legal and regulatory environment; and has continued to harbour a sharp focus on value-creation for all the shareholders of the company.
With an unflappable style of functioning and an optimistic mindset, Mr. Goenka has the ability to withstand adverse situations and has taken on challenges with determination. For instance, when TRAI implemented the New Tariff Order, leading to uncertainty for businesses, Mr. Goenka played an active role in leading conversations with partners, and other key stakeholders, to find solutions that drive the growth of the pay TV ecosystem.
He also has deep knowledge and understanding about both technology and content, which is the most essential skillset to have in today’s evolving entertainment landscape.
Mr. Goenka not only enjoys an overwhelming confidence and support from the shareholders and investors of the Company, but he has also developed strong industry relations as well, with his ability to keep the interests of all the stakeholders at the forefront of his business decisions.
Coming from an entrepreneurial background, he has encouraged and instilled strong values and an entrepreneurial spirit in ZEE, that has enabled talent to grow and thrive under his leadership. Under his guidance, ZEE is today known as an Academy of Talent, having nurtured several industry stalwarts to their heydays.
He continues to attract the best of talent to the company, not just from the M&E industry, but even other sectors including FMCG, banking etc. With the M&E industry increasingly facing a dearth of quality talent, for an organisation with the scale of ZEE, drawing in the right talent at the right time is a key factor in ensuring stability and growth.
(The author is Managing Editor, Medianews4u.com. Views are personal.)