AuthorSreekant Khandekar

A serial media entrepreneur, I started professional life as a news journalist. Am a voracious reader with a deep interest in societal change. I was the founding editor of A&M, India’s first national publication for advertising, marketing and media. It spawned coverage of this space in all publications. Also co-founded afaqs!, The Mobile Indian and Kulzy.

how we could help hima das

I worry for Hima Das. The story of the 19-year-old athlete from Assam, the child of farmers, is so compelling that it has overwhelmed a nation. The prime minister to cricketers to film stars are racing to congratulate the runner who has won five gold medals in East Europe in recent weeks. Will we remember Hima two years from now? We do tend to forget most sports stars other than cricketers rather...

the mx player story

I rate MX Player as one of the most fascinating media stories ever. Times Internet (TI) was struggling to get a foothold in the OTT space. Its offering, Box TV, launched in 2013 had failed and was put down in 2016 just when the online video space was taking off. So, in June 2018, in a brilliant lateral move, it plonked down about Rs 1,000 crore to acquire a video player, MX Player, which was...

much fewer little indians

Unnoticed, astonishing change is overtaking India. The population in 13 states has begun to shrink! To keep the population stable a country must average 2.1 births per woman (Total Fertility Rate or TFR). According to new official data all-India TFR has slipped to 2.2 – the population is barely growing. Numbers for states vary. – The lowest birth rate, 1.5, is in Delhi, same as that...

the monsoon in india

The monsoon touches all of us in one way or another. We tend to attribute variations in rainfall to climate change. Should we? An excellent interview of physicist Madhavan Nair RAJEEVAN, now Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences by Amit Bhattacharya of TOI has many specifics. So, if monsoon patterns fascinate you as much as they do me, check out the sum of what Nair says: – There has...

going electric by force

As a resident of New Delhi, one of the world’s most polluted metros, I’d naturally support any initiative that makes the air easier to breathe. And yet the government plan to shift the two-wheeler industry entirely from internal combustion to electric vehicles in just six years sounds utterly unrealistic. And mind you, we are talking of converting the world’s biggest two wheeler...

population (and) growth

Several generations of Indians have taken rapid economic growth for granted. It seems that this happy period is drawing to an end. No economy has managed to hit 8% GDP growth – the government’s target – without a jump in exports. But India’s exports are stuck at the level of 2013. They won’t budge. A protectionist environment worldwide isn’t helping. We routinely attribute the...

kinds of slowdown

OK, here’s an exercise to test your powers of observation 🙂 When we talk of an economic slowdown we tend to look at our own experience – our firm, our sector or some big indicators like, say, real estate or auto sales. But if you look and listen closely, you’ll find clues everywhere around you. Read about three unrelated indications I found: – A doctor told me some time ago that there...

WEIRD OR NOT

#FMCG is not a sector where you see a rush of new players the way you might in, say, e-commerce or online education. But that is precisely what happened in 2015 when four companies jumped in to serve the same niche segment – Indian men with hashtag#beards: The Man Co, The Bombay Shaving Co, Beardo and Ustraa. Read a really detailed piece on afaqs! by (bearded, naturally) Abid Hussain...

National brands try regional

There is a big marketing trend in the making. It’s the ‘regionalisation’ of national brands. Last month Titan launched the Namma Tamilnadu collection; watches with dials in Tamil. Now Tata Tea Premium has insightful films to launch two variants: ‘Uttar Pradesh ke liye damdar chai’ and ‘Delhi ke liye rich Assam chai’ reads the packaging. India is diverse...

India: The way we were

What was India like in 1991, the year it began to open up its economy? This was the question I had to answer recently while making a presentation at the launch of the book, ‘The Making of Star India’ by @Vanita Kohli-Khandekar. I was trying to create a picture of India in 1991 when Star TV entered India. And the answer I found was fascinating: it is as if the India of now and the...