Ronnie Screwvala & B. Saikumar have reportedly joined hands to launch a new-age digital media company, reports Business Standard.
Based out of Mumbai, in its first phase, the venture aims at launching a digital brand which will offer multi-genre, multi-lingual content across video, audio, text and other traditional and new age art forms. The investment envisaged is an outlay of up to Rs 150 crores across two phases – while the first phase would be largely domestic-focused, the platform will evaluate new geographies and verticals in its second and subsequent phases.
The venture, with Saikunar as Managing Director, has roped in Former COO Network18, Ajay Chacko, as CEO and has begun a global search for talent in creative, product and technology functions across entertainment, current affairs & infotainment spaces.
Digital media across the world has surpassed traditional broadcast television, radio and print as the primary choice of consumers and marketers. With over 300million Internet users, and around 200 million of these using mobile, India is slated to become the world’s third largest digital media market. This is expected to get a further boost with the government’s Digital India plan and the launch of pan-India broadband services by existing operators and well-capitalized new players.
The world is witnessing a range of digital-first media brands and companies generating tremendous stickiness, impact and value across markets and this venture aims at becoming a large, valuable Indian digital media company with a footprint across geographies and content spaces.
Over the last two and half decades Ronnie has built some of the country’s most valuable media businesses and has been an entrepreneur known for disruption and innovation across many verticals and genres; from cable to broadcast, from animation and gaming to motion pictures.
Saikumar has been instrumental in taking Network18 from a single channel company to a USD 1 billion plus enterprise. As Group CEO of Network18, Saikumar oversaw the group’s wide range of interests from news and entertainment broadcast to distribution & digital content and commerce. He also served on the boards of Viacom18, Indiacast, A&E18 and bookmyshow.com among others. Prior to Network18, Saikumar had worked with the Times Group.
Ajay completed a decade-long stint at Network18 and was the COO of the group in his last held role. Ajay played a pivotal role in the launch of many of the group’s flagship brands across print, TV and digital. He was also responsible for consolidating the group’s financial and strategic position and providing direction to the Network's digital content assets. Prior to Network 18, Ajay had worked with IL&FS, Sharekhan.com as part of its start up team and Indian Express Group.
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