"I’m quitting. Reliance wants to take over," were the last words Raghav Bahl said to his board members, bringing curtains down on journalists’ driven media outfit Network18 on May 27, 2014.
In a most vivid description of the things that went wrong with Network 18 media group, which was taken over by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani in a clever prolonged move starting two-and-a-half-year ago, MINT has come out with insights that should serve a lesson to every editor-turned-media entrepreneur.
What started as a hand-to-mouth venture, Network 18 began to grow in a high-handed business environment but finally stuck with non-profitable cash guzzlers. Ironic but for Rs.100 crore bail-out, Bahl went for a Rs.2200 crore from Ambani that led him to forcibly acquire ETV channels paying Rs.2100 crore.
Essentially, the write up throws light on how big corporates work with pawns like Bahl into turning themselves into media houses with legibly thrown in bed crunches for journalists.
While the entire report was excellent and well-researched, it should only serve as a lesson for all the media-based strong-headed honchos that their survival is not permanent in business unless they toe the line of the big man.
Otherwise, we don’t need leaders or media. Only Mukesh Ambani is enough. He has helped Narendra Modi to remove the Congress from power and enter the South Block. He made Arvind Kejriwal exit amid heckles once he pointed his fingers at his gas pricing interests in New Delhi.
To show the door to Rajdeep Sardesai, who refused to shun Kejriwal, the entire media house was bought by them, perhaps, say the report. Barring the ususal business moves and countermoves, the report is a lesson for every media MBA graduate.
Read the full story HERE.