Raj, to start with, in a nutshell, as CEO of a leading Hindi GEC, how has the journey been from the humble beginnings at Tata Economic Consultancy Services to (spear)heading Colors?
It's been a long journey over 25 years and at every step of the way, it has been exciting challenging and rewarding. God has been very kind.
Talking about tonight's awards, how different are these going to be from others?
This is the first time in the industry where individuals from all three disciplines (advertising, marketing and media) will be recognized and rewarded for their excellence.
What is the USP of these awards?
These awards are decided by industry professionals for the industry professionals. The nomination process and voting is done by your peer group. This is fully managed by AC Nielsen, tabulated and audited by Ernst and Young.
What, according to you, will be the single most important development that these awards will bring about?
It'll encourage professionals to excel in their work and aspire to be a recipient of these awards. It will motivate a lot of the young professionals to look up to these award winners and the nominees as their role models.
Are there any objective/s of these awards?
Yes. The objective is to honor individual excellence across advertising, marketing and media and to unite the industry under one roof.
What, in your opinion, is going to be the future trend for such awards?
This is the first year of the 'IAA Leadership Awards'. We believe it will grow in stature year on year.
Since this awards show is about the 'contribution of marketing, advertising and media towards a brand's success', why have been the popular mediums like radio and social media marketing been left out?
As I said, this is the first year of the IAA awards. There is lot of learning that we will have to do. You will see the changes during next year with some of the categories that you mentioned getting included.
You are also on board with the IMPACT initiated 'Top 30 Under 30'. It seems that you are supporting a lot of young budding talents in every way possible.
I am not on the board, I was the Jury Chair. Yes, I love working with young people. I will always do whatever I can, in my capacity to encourage young professional to think and create better.
It's really very heartening to see hard work bearing fruits. We have never thought about milestones or looked at the industry scorecard. We just put our heads down and keep our ears close to the ground and leave the rest to audiences. And the credit for this goes to the 165 strong team that we have across programming, marketing, distribution, as sales, research, finance, legal, commercial etc. It is a compete team effort. We love our viewers and advertisers and they reciprocate our sentiments.
In a media environment, how important is qualitative performance v/s quantitative performance?
I believe in quality – whether it's content, media or advertising. Quality is reflection of deep thought, and creative ideas for any brand. While quantitative metrics are an indicator of short-term campaigns, a truly successful brand is born out of high-quality creative campaigns.
Do you see a room for Hindi sub-titled international soaps on Colors?
At this point, the programming team at Colors, both fiction and non-fiction, has a bouquet full of interesting shows. And the line-up is looking great for 2013. I am not thinking of getting international soaps to Colors as of now, but will not rule out the possibility completely. We are always open to new ideas and experimenting with our content.
Lastly, Colors is known for path-breaking shows since its inception. What, in your opinion, has been the key to this success?
I have a one line brief to my entire team… If we are doing the same thing, we have to do it differently or we have to do different things. Innovation is the mantra and as someone said… "If you've seen it before, it isn't innovation"!