UTV was a humble cable distribution venture in 1981, in India. It would have been hard to imagine UTV to be a multi-media conglomerate it is today. Last year, Walt Disney acquired a controlling stake in UTV for reported $454 million. Walt Disney India’s Managing Director Ronnie Screwvala, founder of UTV and a serial entrepreneur, will be giving a keynote address at www.tiecon.org , May 15, 16, 2013.
I am looking forward to Screwvala share a few details about the secret sauce that has led to UTV’s tremendous national and international success. Undoubtedly, being affiliated with Disney must provide a huge international reach and marketing expertise. But content is the ultimate king and what is UTV’s strategic thinking behind content, to now reach its international audience? The 2012 Oscar entry Barfi and current hit Kai Po Che (movie review – http://bit.ly/YVGeEO ) are examples of themes and content that equally resonate with domestic and international audience alike.
Screwvala’s reach is enormous. He was named 100 most influential people in the world, on Time 100, in 2009 and was listed amongst 25 Asia’s Most Powerful, by Fortune Magazine. He was named Entrepreneur of the year by Ernst and Young. Screwvala’s new holding company Unilazer Ventures, with Rs. 1,000 crores, has been in discussions about growth investments in online fashion brands Zovi and SherSingh, among others.
Besides for profit deals and ventures, besides influencing fashion and form, Screwvala has also recently established a social work initiative called Swades, with an aim to transform and scale the influence of NGOs. The goal is that after the NGO does the development work for 3-5 years in a village, the village can be left empowered as a self-sufficient community that can prosper without any more help from outside. Screwvala is putting in $100 million and plans to raise another $100 million, with a total of Rs. 1 billion for the initiative.
UTV is active in four verticals, consumer products, new media & gaming, TV (nine channels include the Disney network) and film. It seems, Screwvala will continue to enthrall and influence, dazzle and educate many, both in India and internationally. Don’t miss a chance to hear Screwvala speak at TiEcon, 2013. Perhaps he may share a secret or two on how to succeed at entrepreneurship beyond your imagination. Register for the conference at www.tiecon.org .