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Interview: Siddharth Jain, MD - South Asia, Turner International India

“Turner remains fully committed to future investments and our long-term participation in India”

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | April 13, 2012

In a sudden development on Thursday, April 12, 2012, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Inc. announced the decision to shut down its Hindi general entertainment channel ‘Imagine TV’. The reason given was that Imagine had not performed and grown as per expectations. Imagine TV was Turner International’s second attempt at running a Hindi GEC. Its first attempt was ‘Real’, a joint venture with Alva Brothers Entertainment, which was closed in 2010.

Imagine was originally established by NDTV Group under the stewardship of former Star India CEO Sameer Nair. It was launched on January 21, 2008 as ‘NDTV Imagine’. In December 2009, it was announced that Turner Asia Pacific Ventures had acquired a 92 per cent stake in NDTV Imagine Ltd.

In a quick interaction with BestMediaInfo, Siddharth Jain, MD - South Asia, Turner International India, denies that it was a mistake to buy Imagine and also the efforts being made by the company to help out its employees. Excerpts:

It must have been a tough decision to take. In hindsight, would you say it was a mistake to buy Imagine TV?

No. The acquisition of Imagine was a wholly appropriate, strategic and extensively-considered decision.

Do you have plans to get into the GEC space after some time with an altogether brand new channel?

I would not answer this specific to any genre but Turner remains fully committed to future investments and our long-term participation in India. Having been pioneers in the Indian M&E space in international news and kids’ entertainment, Turner currently operates some of the strongest media brands in India. We will continue to be leaders in the media and entertainment industry and to explore expansion opportunities in this key priority market for Turner.

Despite the GEC market being so large, why is it that only 4 networks seem to be doing well – Star, Sony, Zee and Colors?

I would not comment on industry peers but can speak for Turner. We invested and put all possible resources behind Imagine for over two years but it was unable to achieve the ratings consistency needed to sustain the business and support continued investment.

Would you attribute the closure to acute competition in the GEC space, lack of good content or due to inadequate marketing efforts?

No one individual or department is responsible. From the outset, Imagine was a team effort. While some programmes delivered satisfactory ratings, overall the channel was unable to achieve the ratings consistency needed to sustain the business and support continued investment.

How do you plan to appease the production houses which are now stuck mid-stream, having invested substantial amounts of money for the shows on Imagine TV?

Turner prides itself on its strong alliances and relationships in India. The closure is a complicated process as we are ensuring fulfilment of all our business commitments to advertisers, distributors and other partners. We are in constant communication with all our partners who have been supportive throughout this process.

What happens to the employees of Imagine TV?

We are grateful to the Imagine team, which includes some of the most talented and creative people in the Indian media industry. Our focus is to ensure the closure is executed in a fair and appropriate manner for all of them and in full compliance with all legal requirements, employment terms and company policies. We will use our best endeavors to make this as smooth a transition as possible for them. Turner will retain some employees for a transition period and some others may be offered permanent roles within Turner to fill current vacancies.

Turner has also set up an HR outplacement service which will provide advice on how to write a better CV, interviewing techniques and other job hunting skills. We will also introduce the employees to recruitment consultants, HR professionals from other media organisations and facilitate their new job search.

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Comments (1)
  • Adarsh sing- 8 years ago

    Sir agry that there was no such profit but by looking at the recent chennal life ok which was first knoen as star one have come up with new ideas new way of showing programs sir if it was possible than imagine would have come out with new innovetive ideas sir i have many new ideas which can be in the in the comperision of life ok and which formula is not used bt ny channels thank you