Interview With Sanjay Trehan, CEO Of NDTV Convergence

We’d broken the news of Sanjay Trehan putting in his papers at Indiatimes almost a month ago. Trehan begins his stint today as the CEO of NDTV Convergence, into which NDTV has consolidated its web and mobile properties. I spoke to him about his role at NDTV Convergence, and his plans:

What’s your mandate at NDTV Convergence?
NDTV has Internet and mobile properties, and one of my tasks will be harnessing all the TV content. You and I know that content today is becoming device agnostic, and consumption of content is going to be based on the appropriateness of the moment. For this, content needs to be repurposed across various media platforms, since the same content will be consumed differently on the Internet, and differently on the mobile.
What challenges do you see facing consumption of content in India?
Well, the first is the file size and the weight of content for consumption on the mobile. The other is licensing – we will have to build in cross platform deals into agreements while buying rights to content. The third is the repurposing of content for the small screen.
But NDTV already has content. This means that you will look to acquire content as well?
My initial mandate can be divided into two parts – the first is for harnessing the existing repertoire of content at NDTV for mobile. The existing content at NDTV is TV based. What we have, we will use. I will also focus on developing Web 2.0 properties to co-opt the audience to create content.
I notice that the NDTV properties seem to be fragmented, and there doesn’t seem to be a plan for completion in case of, say, NDTV Blogs. How do you plan to bring all of this together?
I think that’s a fair assessment: the first thing that I have to do is to do an audit of all verticals at NDTV Convergence. While it seems there is no synergistic approach, the good thing is that it is all based around NDTV as a brand; the strategy will fall into place within the next 3-6 months. I’m more of an operations person, and I will be very hands on. I always like to implement the strategies.
For the new properties, are you looking to launch or acquire?
We will be looking at both organic and inorganic approaches for growth.
We’ve seen many web 2.0 properties launched in India, but there just doesn’t seem to be much traction. Do you think there is a market for it?
There are properties in Web 2.0 in India, but there’s one key ingredient that has been missing – the scale. I think NDTV provides a platform for a Web 2.0 property to acquire that kind of scale.