It is seldom that professionals step out of the rarefied world of banking industry or the corporate world in India to battle it out in the murky world of media that face the vagaries of fickle viewership and TRP ratings.
Given the fact that the television world was ruled by the likes of Zee TV and Times TV, the move of K. Madhavan, presently the Managing Director of Star & Disney India, to take up the role of Director at Asianet Communications Ltd in 1999, forgoing his years of experience in the banking world shocked many. He soon rose to the position of Managing Director and Chief Executive.
In 1999, when he joined Asianet, the regional brand from South India was on the verge of closing down. Turning a struggling channel into a media powerhouse, Mr. Madhavan ensured that the Asianet bouquet of channels became the undisputed market leader in Kerala.
Over the years Mr. Madhavan was seen in public during the Asianet Film Awards presentations, but behind the scenes the post-graduate in Commerce from Calicut University and Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB) was burning midnight oil for taking on much bigger challenges in the years to come.
He has been the driving force behind Asianet’s growth as the undisputed leader in Malayalam with more than 50% of market share.
Challenges did come his way and he took them head on consolidating the assets of the regional media company and soon built up an empire that some of the biggest media conglomerates came to covet.
Mr. Madhavan joined Star India in 2009 as its South head after Star India acquired a 51 per cent stake in Asianet, popular in the Kerala market then. Star eventually took full control and ownership of the channel in 2014 by which time Mr. Madhavan had taken Asianet to other markets in the south, sources said.
Under his leadership, the company has built a thriving regional entertainment portfolio.
Mr. Madhavan’s vision for the regional language network has led the company to set benchmarks in quality programming in South India, which is now being replicated throughout India. The channel is now present in over 100 countries. In the highly competitive Telugu Language market, the former banking professional’s strategy has taken Star MAA to a leadership position in a short span of time.
The veteran media professional says, “Impact to me is getting results, and for that one needs to inspire the team and consumers simultaneously.”
And he did inspire many talented youngsters to think up programmes that took Asianet to newer heights garnering more viewers and better TRP ratings.
Under his trusted leadership, the channel has reached more than 100 countries. Mr. Madhavan believes in the entrepreneurial culture. His vision has forced many others in the field to set benchmarks in quality programming in the South, which is now being replicated throughout India.
As Managing Director of Star and Disney India, Mr. Madhavan oversees the company’s television business spanning across entertainment, sports and regional channels and the studios business in India. He is responsible for driving the growth of the business, focussing on innovation and creating compelling content for consumers.
Mr. Madhavan was appointed as the Country Manager of Disney and Star India in December 2019. Before being promoted as the Country Manager, he was Managing Director of South Business, Star India, a position he assumed in 2016. He was overseeing the business ventures of Star in the four southern states and a portfolio of regional channels in Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.
Recently, the Confederation of Indian Industry appointed Mr. Madhavan as the Chair of National Committee on Media & Entertainment for 2020-21. He is responsible for driving the growth of the business, focussing on innovation and creating compelling content for consumers.