Ananda Bazaar CEO scripts media start-up

Ananda Bazaar CEO scripts media start-up

New Delhi: After consulting media and entertainment companies across the US and India as a McKinsey & Co. partner for more than a decade and then leading India media house ABP Pvt. Ltd as its chief executive officer, Pramath Raj Sinha is starting up a diversified media enterprise.

Sinha, with three former senior ABP colleagues—Vikas Gupta, Asheesh Gupta and Anuradha Das Mathur—plans to launch community-specific business-to-business periodicals, mass publications and digital platforms. His company, 9.9 Mediaworx Pvt. Ltd, also plans to enter the film entertainment business and launch an entity that will invest in media companies. 9.9 is pronounced nine-dot-nine.

“The (media) industry is still at its infancy with most companies playing the mass game, whereas we think that niche and targeted products are where the future growth is going to come from," Sinha said. “With 9.9 Media, we are planning to launch a diversified portfolio of media and entertainment properties that will tap these opportunities."

To start with, 9.9 Media will have five businesses—9.9 Insights, 9.9 Digital, 9.9 Print, 9.9 Ventures and 9.9 Studio. 9.9 Insights will cater to selected communities of professionals (for instance, chief technology officers) and organizations (such as mid-sized companies) through periodicals and events such as conferences and expositions. Sinha said he was hopeful of launching six to eight magazines under 9.9 Insights over the next one year. The company has already acquired one such publication, which will likely be announced on Wednesday. Besides, it is all set to launch under licence in India a “leading international title" catering to mid-sized companies. This venture will be headed by Mathur.

Under 9.9 Print, the company plans to invest in running publications. “We wish to have a presence in the newspaper space and we will ideally want to acquire and run such a property on our own," said Sinha. Besides a newspaper, the group, to be headed by Vikas Gupta, a former Coca-Cola India marketing head, wants to launch niche business and news periodicals.

9.9 Digital will house various online initiatives of the group, including the digital versions of its print publications. “We will also offer off-shore services in the area of content development and publishing to institutional clients under this project," said Sinha. The biggest of the group’s plans involves entry into film entertainment in “the long term". To start with, the group plans to produce small budget films. It will also work with independent film producers by financing, marketing and distributing content in India and abroad.

9.9 Mediaworx is funding the current projects through internal accruals but in future will raise funds through private sources.