Employee Speak: Name: Sunil Lulla, Director & Group Chief Executive Officer, Alva Brothers Entertainment, Miditech: V3 Issue 2

1.  Your leadership has acted as a catalyst for the success of TV channels such as MTV, Sony and Times Now.  What was your success mantra for these channels?

I would not say it is my leadership or a mantra. I happened to work with some very smart people, good companies, great business partners and clients. The fortuitous mix clicked. I have passionately followed a few diktats and shared them at the cost of sounding old fashioned.

  • Dream and follow your own dreams. Set the rules, own the game. Win !
  • God is in the details and atheists don’t survive to be successful.
  • Don’t just work hard. Work harder. Eventually the other guy just gets tired.


2.  An old adage says “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.  What made you launch the ‘Real’ channel during difficult times? 

Well you don’t choose tough times. But one cannot remain “pregnant” for long either. So we thought why waste a recession. It is easier to make market entry under such circumstances. However it also makes the revenue climb steeper. Tough times test you and makes one tougher. In the case of REAL, the channel was ready to roll and given its differentiated offering we wanted to take it ahead.


3.  People make companies. How do you energize and motivate your team in these challenging times?

I try and inspire people to think differently; challenge their own expectations. Make sure they eat well. I am a walking, wondering, doing kind of manager. Encouraging, pushing, making them laugh. (Ask them, I would like to know what they honestly think). Making friends, but being tough when needed.


4.  How do you get different teams or for that matter even different people to work together in synergy?

Understand their dreams and give them a common one to chase. High enough to stretch and close enough to reach out too. Involve their passion and their strengths. I do not ask people what their weaknesses are, as you don’t pay to work on their weaknesses. Team players are more important – but you always need the one solo maverick to score the goal. Noah’s Ark of complementary differences is a great example.


5.   In the course of your career you would have worked with many teams. What do you feel contributed to the success of the best teams you have worked with?

Pressure to be innovative and the genuine respect and care people have for other members of the team. Their belief in the goal has made them stronger.


6.  What hampered the productivity of the other teams that were not that successful?

Deafness – not listening to the wind that is whispering in one’s ear, all the time. 


7.  What are some of the things you typically do to motivate your team to deliver exceptional results?

Create an experience for them. It’s not 9 to 5 – it’s the joy of creating something magical and being applauded for it.


8.  What message would you like to share with our readersto enable them to build teams with greater commitment to the team objectives and more contributionto the company?

Don’t copy anyone’s style. Yours is great. Just practice it with honesty and originality.

Employee Speak: Louie Fernandes. RaLpH, Chief Operating Officer, Optimystix: V2 Issue2


1. How is the entertainment industry getting influenced by the increase in percentage of the Gen Y viewers?

There has been an increase in the Gen Y viewership primarily in the English entertainment and music genres but not necessarily at the same rate in the GEC (General Entertainment Channels).  In the GEC, there has been an increase in viewership within the shoulder time bands (7-8PM and 10PM onwards) of the Gen Y viewers. With the penetration of internet and mobile, these are more attractive time spending options for Gen Y audiences and one can expect these media platforms to see a higher rate of growth in Gen Y audiences.

Broadcasters are now extending their content to mobile and web. With the introduction and subsequent proliferation of 3G and broadband, we see more cannibalization of content created for TV with mobile and internet.


2. When program formats are developed by Optimystix, are any particular elements included to attract and engage Gen Y viewers?

Yes in two ways.  The GEC channels have introduced an interactive element in the programmes like call-ins, SMS, India voting and download sections on their websites to attract younger audiences who believe in influencing the end result. Dancing and comedy genres have introduced content that is focused on competitions where the younger generation wants to play a role in deciding who the winner is.  Forays into mobile content typically attract Gen Y and humor/movie related new content is being created for mobile. You can have a look at some sample content on www.mainduck.com. Expect to see more mobile content created by Optimystix on your mobile screen soon via your mobile operator.


3. According to you what kind of television programs are a hit among Gen Y viewers?


Genres of singing, dancing, comedy and spoofy shows like SET's Comedy Circus are a hit. On niche channels, MTV’s ‘Roadies’ is a show particularly focused towards attracting the young Gen Y audience.


4. How is the entertainment industry getting impacted by the influx of Gen Y workforce?

One would be on generating fresh creative output to meet the objective of different genres of programming. Their biggest impact would be on programs particularly targeted towards the youth, as against creative input they would bring to GEC, focussed on big shiny floor entertainment programs targeted for the entire family.

The impact of Gen Y workforce is significant when creating content targeting the youth itself – youth programming on music channels, gaming industry, mobile, internet and the likes.


5. What according to you is and will be the impact of Gen Y employees on the corporate culture?

The Gen Y workforce tends to focus more on the ‘end’ rather than the ‘means’ to reach an objective.  They also bring in a lot of movement, energy and diversity within the organisation.  At Optimystix we have a healthy mix of people.  Young talent is managed and supervised by experienced talent.  Today our middle management rung consists of young people who have grown in the organisation over the years and have integrated well to create a cohesive culture of the organisation which transcends youthful zeal and enthusiasm with the thoroughness and wisdom of experience.


6. What are the challenges in managing them at the workplace?

A major challenge in managing this hyperactive workforce is discipline and adherence to process.  Control is a challenge.  What works with selling the principles of discipline and process is persistence and presenting the benefits and values of adhering to processes and discipline via real life examples. This generation thinks more off the hip rather than the head.  They are more emotional than calculative and introspective. As managers we need to spend time with them to demonstrate the bigger/macro picture.  They tend to have a myopic view and believe more in shortcuts rather than hard work. With guidance and persistence, we can achieve the desired results.


7. They have global reach and trends across the world reach them in real time - Is their leaning towards India – the country lower therefore?

I wouldn’t say so.  They are globally aware but their connection to India is strong.


8. Any message you would like to share with our readers belonging to the Gen Y?

My message to them is that there is a lot of merit in hard work especially when it’s coupled with an intelligent approach to hard work.  Shortcuts don’t work all the time.  One should take the time to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s. Focusing on details is important.