NEW DELHI: It is no mean feat to contribute towards the legacy of a leading media organisation when it ventures into newer turfs, but outgoing Mathrubhumi TV CEO Mohan Nair made it possible with sheer grit and determination, as he led the foray of the legacy print publisher, ruling the Malayalam market since pre-independence days into the world of television. After almost a decade-long journey, Nair has now decided to move on from one of the leading news channels in the Malayalam market and is ready to take on new challenges.*
In a candid chat with, Nair reveals that it was quite challenging for him to oversee the making and rise of Mathrubhumi TV as it entered the market at a time when there was intense competition. “There were six to eight channels dominating the Malayalam news market with sizeable viewership, including Asianet, Manorama and Indiavision, which was also the first Malayalam language news channel. Yet, the leadership decided to go ahead and we managed to grab a lot of eyeballs from the day one. Within a year, while some of the channels were on the brink of shutting down, we managed to get a good viewership and advertiser interest.”*
Nair, who had earlier spent 14 years of his life as a print journalist at organisations like Economic Time and Financial Times, worked really hard to develop strong credibility and name for the channel.*
According to Nair, while a big part of the popularity and success came their way with the name of Mathrubhumi, which as a trusted legacy brand, some other strategic initiatives managed to build on this trust. “We came up with a look and feel that was alien to the Malayalam news market for the longest time. While most channels were using colours like red, blue, and white, we packaged our content in a spectrum of green, white, orange and blue colours, making it vibrant and hence appealing to the audience.”*
He adds, “We were also amongst the first few channels to invest in high-end equipment and thus came out as a game-changer within the genre.”
Nair played a big role in getting all this done as the first employee and also the leader of the channel. He didn't just turn his bosses’ vision into reality but also managed to strike a close bond with all of his employees.*
“I got the opportunity to select every single employee who works at Mathrubhumi TV. Initially, we went ahead with 30 per cent employees picked from topline channels, another 30 per cent from bottomline channels and the final 30 per cent were freshers. Therefore, despite starting with a minimum workforce, we had a strong team that understood the industry and was training newer people,” he elaborates.*
Further, Nair shares that the channel opened up bureaus across all 14 districts in Kerala, and additional bureaus in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and Gulf countries. It also invested greatly in distribution of the channel, thus significantly helping them gain access to viewers across states.*
For Nair, moving on from a channel that he built from scratch and led to the top, was a tough decision but he feels that the timing couldn’t have been better.*
“I feel it is the right time to move on and explore other ventures. While I don’t have a set plan for the future, I am exploring all the possible options to take the next step, be it digital entrepreneurship or leading other news channels,” he notes.*
He concludes the chat by saying, “Right now, I am willing to take a small break and spend some time with my family, which I feel I wasn’t able to do in the past few years. Also, I am available for each person whom I worked with at Mathrubhumi for any guidance and support they need from me.”*
There hasn’t been any announcement from the channel’s end as to who will replace Nair, whose last working day is Tuesday, but surely these are some big shoes to fill.*
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