There was another guest who should have been keeping Nagarjuna and Amala Akkineni company for my book launch in Hyderabad. V. Ravi Prakash, a young and dynamic media magnate had committed to be there. Meeting him the day before my launch at his buzzing headquarters allowed me a glimpse of an eventful and unusual career progression, expanded by my subsequent acquaintance with his interesting CV.
He combines the persona of a journalist, political commentator, news presenter and high profile anchor. Path breaking stories marked his early career with Doordarshan, Star and Zee that featured among others encounters with Jihadis in Kashmir and Maoists in Andhra Pradesh. “Encounter” is an interview based political show marked by his analytical anchoring skills demanding answers from those in power.
After 17 years in media, he became the CEO of Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (ABCL) in 2003, leading a group of like minded young journalists. With business interests in content, broadcasting and related media services ABCL uplinks news channels under the brand name TV9 from Hyderabad. With numerous news channels in India and media innovations in other countries ABCL employs more than 5000 people across 3 countries in the world. ABCL’s work covers television, filmed entertainment, cable network programming, Internet services, direct broadcast satellite television, in India, the US and Africa.
Ravi Prakash presides over one of the fastest growing media companies in India. In a short span of time ABCL has added seven more channels to its spectrum- TV9 Karnataka, TV9 Gujarat, India Vision (Malayalam) TV1- (niche channel in Telugu devoted to Entertainment and News), TV9 Mumbai (Hindi). And News9 (English) in Bengaluru. The endeavor is to convey breaking news in leading languages. These enterprises are said to be imbued with the aim of being instruments of positive change, reflected in the tone of news coverage and the corporate social responsibility work undertaken by the various TV9 channels in India and through their Media nxt network in Africa.
The ABCL network has also crossed international boundaries through a Dish network in USA. It is now looking at Africa and Dubai in its forthcoming expansion plans. He also plans to expand to more Indian cities and states.
Ravi Prakash personally won the prestigious Indian News Broadcasting Award in the category of the Strongest Regional News Broadcaster. His network has frequently occupied the number one ratings slot nationally, owing to the dedicated involvement in management of journalists and media professionals. The CEO deftly balances the twin tasks of media presentation and management.
“ I finished reading your book by about 2.30 AM. I am struck by the writer’s honesty in the narration of real life situations.” . I had a mail to convey his regret about having to rush to Delhi, while appreciating his acquaintance with “ Blossom Showers.”. The 7th of September came after a volatile day of political arrests, and the bomb blasts in the Delhi High Court also happened that very day. It was a time to keenly stimulate someone with fine tuned journalistic antennae. If professional compulsions constrained his presence at my book launch, he sent a representative to convey a message to the gathering and his channels gave me the benefit of wide coverage.
ABCL has an unusual business model- fanning out from a regional to a mainstream presence and also other regional locations. Ravi Prakash and ABCL have ever greater aspirations of scope and stature, which given their track record in the past bear a strong chance of being successfully realized.