This, the 85th episode of our award-winning MVP - The Master's Voice Podcast from features the feisty Media & Entertainment leader who is as much of a content-expert as he is business leadership-adept -- Ajit Thakur, Co-Founder, Director, and CEO of aha, in conversation with Pavan R Chawla.
Sixteen of the most recent years from Ajit’s 26 years’ work experience have been in the media industry, working with companies like UTV (where he started in 2007) Sony Entertainment Television, Star India, and Eros. Ajit was instrumental in taking Sony Entertainment Television to new heights without relying on soap operas. He also launched Life OK.
Ajit founded aha and has been serving as its CEO. Within a year of its launch, Aha became a leading platform in the country, thanks to its sharp targeting and positioning. Very recently, Ajit was elevated to the Board of Directors. Under his leadership, Aha has captured the hearts of the Telugu-speaking audience and extended its presence into the Tamil market.
In this episode, Ajit shares his excitement about the ongoing transformation of the entertainment industry because of his belief that the traditional ways of doing things will be challenged and eventually become irrelevant.
Ajit and Arha Media, best known for its Aha brand, hope to play a role in shaping the future of the industry over and above their focus on entertainment, as a responsible global citizen contributing to making a positive impact on people and the planet.
Ajit narrates the Aha story from concept to exploration to the final strategic pivot he saw as the biggest opportunity for the future of their OTT business after having traveled across AP/Telangana to feel the pulse of content consumers. Aha's success is underlined by the power of the local language, why and how it raced to become Number One in its language-market and medium, why it has always remained fixed on no bundling despite great offers, and more. Throughout, the power of local content, and the value of the big initial pivot from opening with four to focusing on only one regional language paid off well, shine through.
Ajit also shares how, within and due to the wars that have just started out, consolidation is inevitable. He focuses on the importance of technology and data and believes that the sum of locals can be bigger than national, given the phenomenon that is the south.
Ajit also thinks back on his professional journey, from Coke to Unilever to UTV, to Star and Sony and Balaji, and harks back on the leaders -- including and from Sanjeev Gupta and Vikram Sakhuja at Coke to Sanjeev Mehta at Unilever to Ronnie Screwvala at UTV to Uday Shankar and Sanjay Gupta at Star to Ekta Kapoor, and now A
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