Top media tycoons of India

Rajesh Sawhney

Media is the bridge between the common man and the inaccessible man. Today, it is media that informs the layman about his/her opinion. Since the very beginning, the role of media in the lives of people have been controversial. But love it or hate it, media is one sector of the Indian economy which you cannot ignore. Media plays the role of a catalyst in the growth of any economy. But who is behind the successful work of this term ‘media’? It is obviously the media entrepreneurs who have successfully led the sector to glorious heights. Here, we acknowledge the top media tycoons of India.

Vineet Jain; CEO, TheTimes Group

Net worth: INR 13,400 crore (approx)

Known For: CEO, TheTimes Group

Vineet Jain, a young and an astute leader, is the managing director of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd. (popularly known as The Times Group). Under the leadership of this innovative director, the company has obtained a turnover in excess of USD 1 billion. This privately held group has its reach to 2468 cities and towns with approximately 4.3 million copies being circulated daily.

Raghav Bahl; Chairman and MD NEtwork 18

Net worth: INR 600 crore

Known for: Founder of Network 18

Raghav Bahl is a widely admired entrepreneur and acclaimed as a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. He is the worthy founder, controlling shareholder and Managing Director of Network 18 which has grabbed a market of over USD 0.50 billion in 18 years. The recipient of the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 for Business Transformation’ by Ernst & Young, he is well known for crafting successful joint ventures with media giants such as NBC Universal, Viacom, Time Warner, and others.

An economics graduate from St. Stephens College, Raghav completed his MBA from the University of Delhi. Well admired for his work in his 22 years of experience in television and journalism, he has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Amity University. He recently authored a book ‘Superpower? The Amazing Race Between China’s Hare And India’s Tortoise’.

Punit Goenka; MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL)

Net worth: INR 603 crores

Known for: MD & CEO, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL)

Punit Goenka, who is one of the top media tycoons of India, is currently the Managing Director and the CEO of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., has been an accelerator in taking the Zee Empire to the glory. Known for his irreproducible expertise in identifying, assessing and pursuing new business opportunities, this young, dynamic leader is a true manager delegating his authority while having active supervision over the team. Under his sharp leadership, Zee faced rapid positive changes and its ratings grew by a whopping 30%.

In his 14 years experience in the group, his innovative strategies and astute work he has also achieved the directorship of the companies like Essel Infraprojects Ltd., Essel Telecom Holdings Ltd., Rochan (India) Ltd., Zee Sports Ltd., Agrani Wireless Services Ltd., Agrani Satellite Services Limited, ASC Mobile Communication Ltd., and Diligent Media Corporation Ltd.

Kalanithi Maran; Chairman and MD Sun Group

Net worth: INR 400 crores

Known for: Chairman and MD Sun Group

Kalanithi Maran, born 1964, is the chairman and Managing Director of Sun Group, which is the most profitable television network in Asia. He is the 17th richest Indian with a net worth of US$ 4 bn. Known for his brilliant entrepreneur skills, he has been awarded Young Businessman awards from CNBC and Ernst & Young, and the prestigious Forbes magazine named him the “Television king of southern India”. He was also among the few representatives at a Roundtable Conference with the then US President Bill Clinton.

Maran did his schooling from Don Bosco, Chennai, and went for his MBA to the University of Scranton. He founded the Sun Group on April 14, 1993, and under his great supervision, the company was listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange raising to $ 133 million. 

Ramoji Rao; Owner, Ramoji Group, Ramoji Film City

Net worth: INR 2,250 crores

Known for: Owner, Ramoji Group, Ramoji Film City, Dolphin Group of Hotels

He is a successful Telugu businessman, a proud leader of the Ramoji Group and owner of the world’s largest film production structure, Ramoji Film City. Although born in an agricultural family of the Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, he realized his talent and took a step towards it and today his empire is among the largest groups in South India.

He won 2 Filmfare Best Film Award (Telugu Category) for his films ‘Pratighantana’ and ‘Nuvve Kavali’ in 1985 and 2000 respectively. He was also awarded Filmfare Special Award for Excellent Contribution of a Film City in 1998 and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (South) in 2004.

Arun Shourie; Former editor of The Indian Express

Known for: Politician author and journalist, instrumental in exposing various scandals

Born in November 1941, he is an Indian journalist, author, and politician who is known for his major reveals and scandal exposures. He revealed many corrupt people and exposed several major scandals, including what has been dubbed as ‘India’s Watergate’.

A St. Stephens economics graduate and doctorate from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in the United States, he served the World Bank as an economist (1968–72 and 1975–77), a senior consultant to the Planning Commission, India, editor of the Indian Express and Times of India and a minister in the Government of India (1998–2004). He was also awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1984.

Ronnie Screwvala; CEO and Founder Chairman of ‘UTV Group’

Known for: Producer, UTV Software Communications, UTVi, and UTV Motion Pictures

He started his journey to glory by launching his own first organized Cable TV venture in Mumbai in June 1981. From there, he kept on climbing stairs and expanding his group to the global level. His group recently partnered with Walt Disney, as well as Sony. In September 2008, He was named in the Esquire’s List of the 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century and was ranked 78 in Time 100 (the annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world) compiled by Time magazine in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Aroon Purie; Founder and editor-in-chief of India Today

Net worth: INR 449 crore

Known for: Founder and editor-in-chief of India Today

He is also the Managing Director of Thomson Press (India) Limited and the Chairman and Managing Director of TV Today and also the Editor-in-Chief of Reader’s Digest India. He is the recipient of ‘Padma Bhushan’, which is India’s highest civilian award by the President of India in 2001.

He is a Chartered Accountant, did his schooling from Doon School and economics graduation from London School of Economics. Purie took one of his most successful and astute decision – to start India Today at the time of Emergency. India Today is an Indian magazine with editions in five languages.  It has a readership of over 11 million – which means the Indian readers read this magazine the most.

Rajesh Sawhney; President Reliance Entertainment

Known for: Former Head of Indiatimes and now President, Reliance Entertainment

He has a way with the leadership roles in various successful ventures. He has led the company-building leading ventures in many entertainment and media verticals in a short span of 3 years. Sawhney has also turned the group’s foray into Hollywood with the acquisition of Dream Works. (well recognized as the No.1 online games portal in India by a large margin), (No. 1 Indian social networking site), and (No. 1 Movie rental and Broadband Venture) are the leading 3 ventures he started in a short span of just 2 years. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and a fellow of the London School of Economics.

Ramesh Chandra Agarwal; Owner, Dainik Bhaskar

Net worth: Rs. 3,972 crores

Known for: Owner, Dainik Bhaskar

He is a media tycoon and owner of one of the most successful business ventures of India, Dainik Bhaskar. This group of newspapers has its presence in 26 cities and six states of India and has an estimated readership of over 15 million. He has been on the Board of D.B. Corp Limited since December 10, 2005. He is a post-graduate from Bhopal University, Bhopal. With more than 42 years of experience in the publishing and newspaper business, he has also been engaged in running the organization for over four decades.

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