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Interview: Sriram Kilambi, President, BloombergUTV

I can always show numbers on my channel and look intelligent…but I am going to be a little more holistic, and focus on the issues and facts that affect the numbers”

Ananya Saha | Delhi | July 16, 2012

Sriram Kilambi, President, BloombergUTV, is a man of few words but full of action. After having served at Radio Mirchi as National Marketing Head, he took on the responsibility of creating a differentiated English business channel – BloombergUTV – in April 2012. He recently announced the launch of Tim Sebastain’s ‘The Outsider’ on the channel. BestMediaInfo caught up with him recently to talk about his plans for the channel. Excerpts:

How has been the transition from marketing head of a FM station to president of a premium business channel?

The transition has been an interesting ride. Television is always different. It is an interesting medium. I loved Radio Mirchi, and I still do. It was entertainment; this is business. It is a different challenge, definitely, but I love it.

What challenges did you face in the first quarter of your association with the channel?

It was tough. I could not understand or grasp much of it. But thanks to my excellent team, Vivek Law and Mini Menon, and a wonderful team overall, I was given the utmost support and understanding of the sector. They helped me settle in beautifully.

Have you initiated any strategic changes at Bloomberg UTV?

Yes. The debate series, The Outsider, is a start. If you see business channels today, you will see them as ‘buy-sell-hold’ (stocks) channel. I do not buy stocks every day, and I am sure most of us do not. But I do want to know the price of coal that affects my life, or why petrol price is going down but its price at the petrol pump is still the same. We are trying to sense of a lot of numbers.

I can always show numbers on my channel and look intelligent. But what I want to do is try and talk to people like I am talking to you. They need to understand the world of business. I continue to be a business channel, and talk of buy-sell-hold too, but I am going to be a little more holistic, and focus on the issues and facts that affect the numbers.

How much does this positioning help you in terms of revenue?

I think there are only 5-6 lakh registered traders. There are many millions of us who do not trade, but still want to know about business. From business point of view, it only makes much more sense to me then to talk and reach out to the millions. Revenues have not increased per se; they have been flat actually. This quarter should change the equation.

Besides launching ‘The Outsider’, which other properties are on the cards?

We are working on a couple of properties. We are doing a show on judiciary and its impact on business. We are going to do a show on policy. Nobody usually does a policy show; we are going to do that. We are going to continue with important shows such as ‘Fight Back’, where you can call in and talk about any financial fraud.

We are revamping our Personal Finance show, and we are getting Monika Halan from Mint to do that show along with Vivek Law. We will also continue with our two properties ‘Pitch’ and ‘Assignment’.

What is the way forward for BloombergUTV?

Frankly, I am not in the game to be number one or two. In a niche space, we want to make sure that key people continue to watch us. The key people for us are the people who like to think about business, about economy and macro-economic variables, people who are in the C-Suite (CEO, CFO), people who love our channel because we actually do more than other business channels.

When do you expect the channel to break even?

We should very soon. We are bringing in new programmes to reach out to a wider audience base, an audience that wants to know about the economy and business. And with the introduction of such programmes, we hope to break even very soon.


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