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Fox Networks unveils new structure in India, original productions to be one of the pillars

MUMBAI: While unveiling its leadership structure in India, Fox Networks Group (FNG) has said that original productions will be one of its main pillars.

Joining the leadership team is Aparna Deshmukh. As VP, content and communications, she will lead channel strategy and operations for all FNG brands in India.

Deshmukh’s focus will be content programming and acquisition, consumer and trade marketing, localisation and key partnerships across all verticals.

The restructuring is meant to help drive a unified vision and renewed focus of the FNG portfolio of channels in India. This new focus will be driven through three main pillars—the channel and brand strategy, on-air communication and original productions.

Over the past couple of years, Nat Geo has been boosting efforts in the local production area. There has been a certain amount of experimentation like localising ‘Science of Stupid’ with Manish Paul. It has also built its ‘Mega’ brand of shows with initiatives like ‘Mega Kitchens’. It has also been growing its ‘Mission’ annual property with initiatives like ‘Mission Covershot’.

Sibling channel Fox Life, meanwhile, has done local initiatives like ‘Twist of Taste’ and ‘Life Mein Ek Baar’. One can expect more work in this area.

An industry source noted that localisation is a long-term game. One has to constantly keep at it over the years to see a meaningful return. The cost of a local show tends to be around four times more than buying a show.

Sanjay Ramachandran, who joined in November last year from Turner APAC, will continue to serve as head of creative services, broadcast design and on-air communication for all channel brands. An award-winning producer, he was part of the on-air promotion teams at Disney and the long-format team at Channel [V].

Shruti Takulia will continue in her role as creative director of original productions. In the past two and a half years at FNG, Shruti and her team have created acclaimed original content for both Nat Geo and Fox Life.

Prior to FNG, she spearheaded content development functions at Reliance BIG Productions and Endemol India, having started her creative journey in television with MTV.

Swati MohanSpeaking about the new leadership structure, FNG India, business head, Swati Mohan says, “I am delighted to have such a power-packed product leadership team in Aparna, Sanjay and Shruti. Our channels are witnessing some of the biggest and most exciting changes in decades that will redefine genre and consumer expectations and habits. We have instituted this new structure to help drive disproportionate growth for FNG’s bouquet of global brands by keeping them locally relevant and fresh for the viewer and also making them a strategic choice for the advertiser.”

Incidentally, Deshmukh is an MBA graduate with over 17 years of experience in brand strategy and marketing across categories of consumer, services and technology. She has worked with Hindustan Unilever, HSBC, Microsoft India, Carlsberg and Adidas.

It is not just Nat Geo which has gone in for restructuring. Discovery has tapped Karan Bajaj, a brand management and digital strategy expert, to head its India operations. It has also restructured the India business into different verticals like female and family entertainment.