Before spring break, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Kunal Wadhwani after his presentation at Jubilee Hall on February 22nd. Mr. Wadhwani is currently the Head of US operations at Shemaroo Entertainment Limited. This leading India-based content powerhouse delivers premium content experiences in more than 30 countries across age groups in several Indian languages in movies, comedy, devotional, music, regional, and kids entertainment. He has had other roles in the company, such as Head of Social Media & Digital Marketing. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Mumbai, studying Information Technology. However, Mr. Wadhwani also had a passion for writing and storytelling. He had a diverse experience working in agencies to have his own, acquiring his MBA from Cardiff University! Another agency later acquired his company. In our conversation, Mr. Wadhwani shared how he has the opportunity to work with huge companies & celebrities like EROS, Dharma, Deepika Padukone, and Hrithik Roshan. Fun fact: Shemaroo was one of his clients at one point!
For students who were unable to attend the event and are interested in entering the entertainment industry, here’s a brief description of his presentation:
Mr. Wadhwani primarily focused on the digital entertainment businesses, which included understanding traditional media such as TV, theatre, on-demand, and how to deal with content. He covered several methods in the US and India, the world’s two largest entertainment centers. Specifically, he went over the content rights work, how to operate the business within the applicable laws, and several monetization models that the businesses currently are using in the industry. For example, subscriptions, running ads on Google, paid social posts, etc. Mr. Wadhwani pointed out that OTT is essentially used for loyalty retention. For example, companies like T-Mobile give Netflix for free, AT&T offers HBOmax, and Amazon provides free content to prime customers in India. In addition, he went over the traditional cable and satellite companies’ processes of adopting and transforming from broadcast and motion pictures business into the large streaming and Internet digital entertainment ecosystem it is now, thanks to their development and implementation of technology. Finally, he went over some of the big players in this industry, such as Amazon, Disney, Hulu, and Netflix. In our chat, he mentioned the concept of “cord-cutting,” which is essentially a viewership behavior trend. Mr. Wadhwani mentioned that if you are interested in this field, it is worth it to monitor what these OTT platforms are doing to combat that because companies are putting efforts of monetization and acquisitions that students should pay attention to.
Below are some wise words for Mr. Wadhwani that Stillman Students should apply to their professional development:
Having a strong understanding of the processes of the industry you are most passionate about.
Understand the Business Models of these big companies as they’re expanding their monetization methods.
Utilize national and international resources such as Indiatelevision.com or Hollywood Reporters to keep up with industry news.
Focus on soft skills because you can learn hard skills anytime.
Connect with people. Utilize LinkedIn to create connections! He even encouraged students to reach out to him and connect via LinkedIn!
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