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Sameer Nair steps down as Balaji Telefilms group CEO
MUMBAI: Veteran media executive Sameer Nair will step down from his position as group CEO of Balaji Telefilms with effect from 15 July.
Nair will return to an advisory capacity after completing his three-year term as group CEO. Before taking up the executive role, Nair had begun his association with the company in an advisory role.
Shares of the content production house, which had risen to a 52-week high of Rs 177 on 11 July 2017, fell 7.26% to close Wednesday at Rs 158.95 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Nair’s three-year stint at the helm of India’s TV content powerhouse has seen several key developments.
During his tenure, Balaji Telefilms entered the over-the-top (OTT) space with the launch of ALTBalaji on 16 April 2017. The subscription-based digital entertainment platform aims to create 250+ hrs of original content this year for its viewers across the world.
Nair also helped the company raise Rs 150 crore from global investors like Atyant Capital India Fund – I, Vanderbilt University, GH , GHI LTP Ltd, GHI HSP and GHI ERP to fund the OTT venture.
On the TV content production front, the company won prime-time slots on Doordarshan’s DD National after the public broadcaster decided to do away with commissioning model and move to the slot auction model, wherein production houses provide content for the slots they win and monetise it.
Unlike the content that it produces for private TV channels where the IP is owned by the broadcaster, in the case of DD, it owns the IP.
Bullish on the growth story of Balaji Telefilms, Nair bought shares in the open market. He had 0.91% shares in the company, as on 31 March 2016. The latest update of his shareholding in Balaji Telefilms could not be confirmed.
“It’s been an amazing experience working with Ekta, Shobhaji and all my other wonderful colleagues at Balaji. The company is in great shape—the TV business is doing well; we’ll soon add the DD shows to the mix in which the company retains IP. We now have in place a very measured approach to the movie business; and most recently, we had a very successful launch of our global digital business with ALTBalaji. The management teams are in place, and the company is well poised for its next phase of growth. On ALTBalaji, the shows have only just begun—the best of Ekta’s creative genius is yet to come. I remain a mentor and guide to the company and a close friend of the family.”
Said Shobha Kapoor, “Sameer is more like family to us; we have a relationship dating back to 2000 when we first worked together on Star Plus. In the past three years, the company has made many significant strides, most notably in the digital domain and the launch of ALTBalaji. The leadership ranks of Ketan Gupta (COO – TV), Sanjay Dwivedi (Group CFO) and Nachiket Pantvaidya (CEO – ALTBalaji) and their teams continue to do a great job of driving topline growth and bottomline profitability. We wish Sameer the very best in his future endeavours and are happy to have his continued support as an advisor and friend.”
The company has a market capitalisation of Rs 1,206 crore. Promoter holder has increased from 40.92% in June 2016 to 42.22% until 31 March 2017.
Balaji Telefilms is looking to further raise capital to fund the expansion of its OTT venture. The company has appointed Axis Capital as banker to scout for investors for ALT Balaji.