He began his career as an ordinary newsreader on the State-controlled All India Radio and Doordarshan television channel. But is this man the unsung hero of Indian media? A real visionary who saw the television explosion before any of his peers and compatriots with decades and centuries of journalism in their blood could?
We are talking of Raghav Bahl, the bossman of TV18 group, who now runs two business channels (CNBC and Awaaz), two news channels (CNN-IBN and IBN-7), a clutch of websites including moneycontrol.com, is rumoured to be buying a newspaper (Business Standard), and today inked a deal with Viacom for general entertainment channels, which will also bring MTV and Nickleodeon into his stable.
To understand the Raghav Bahl phenomenon, all we need to do is look at the rest of the crowd.
The Times of India, technically 169 years old, still can’t launch and run a credible news channel for all its assumed marketing acumen. Hindustan Times, nearly 80 years old, had to quickly shut its television venture with the BBC. India Today‘s Aroon Purie‘s success with Aaj Tak came unstuck with Headlines Today.
Prannoy Roy deserves all credit for setting the benchmark with his NDTV stable but the numbers are not very encouraging. Zee head Subhash Chandra has never been able to replicate his success, either in television or in print (DNA). Ramoji Rao is still struggling to meet ends meet with Eenadu.
In contrast, Raghav Bahl’s rise has been steady and unwavering. His companies are listed, his investors are happy, the deals are coming in fast and quick with global majors. There is always the danger of speaking too early, and there is such a thing as quality, but are we looking at the new media mogul of India?
Photo courtesy: indiantelevision.com