Womens Lucrative & Lasting Career In The Indian Media & Entertainment Industry

By: Rachna Kanwar, Chief Operating Officer

Rachna has over 25 years of experience across all forms of Media and Entertainment with long stints at leading organizations like Bennett Coleman & Co and Jagran Media and more, with expertise in content creation, technology selection, brand, alliances and revenue.

Having been in the media industry for over 25 years how have you witnessed the industry evolves and changes?

The media industry is in a state of constant evolution. All media platforms are continuously moving ahead in order to keep up with technological changes and to deepen their connection with the audience.

Right from the beginning, radio and print have been primary sources for content dissemination and consumption. However, the advent of the internet changed consumption patterns dramatically; today, there are multiple content consumption options available based on preferences and convenience. The one thing which is constant however is the importance of content, irrespective of the format.From a gender role perspective, the media industry has advanced to a point where gender stereotyping has reduced significantly, and corporate representation of women at leadership levels has increased appreciably. Having said that, there is still a long way to go for the industry to be truly inclusive of women leaders.

Over the past few years, digital trends have gained prevalence across all industries. How has digitization impacted the media and entrainment industry?

Digitization has led to major transformations across all sectors. The Media & Entertainment Industry, too, has been positively impacted due to the intensification of new age technologies. Digital disruption has drastically altered the way business is conducted, in order to meet consumer expectations. Tech offers convenience, access to a plethora of content in a timely manner, and remarkable experiences, which appeals to Gen-Z and Millennial audiences particularly. Consumers don't need to visit theatres or even plan to watch a movie on traditional TV, now simply stream on mobile devices and personal computers at any given point in time. Podcasts have become extremely popular too because they cater to listeners with a wide range of preferences and interests.

Going forward what trends do you see developing in the indian media and entertainment industry?

The audience of today has transitioned from a state that is linear to one that is diverse because there are so many ways to access media. The future of media and entertainment will continue to offer a world of opportunities for brands, advertisers as well as the audience. The production, dissemination, and monetization of media are all undergoing transformations as a result of the introduction of digitization. After the dramatic shift that we saw in Digital adoption during the various phases of the pandemic, the next big leap of Digital adoption in India is waiting at our doorstep. India has more than 600 million active internet users; 73 percent accessing news through smartphones and just 27 percent via computers. The current Broadband penetration is at 16 percent, while mobile internet is at 70 percent. With broadband going to Tier-II and III towns and making internet affordable, content consumption on the internet is slated to explode in India. This will take video into another zone and the actual shift from TV to digital will happen in India. New tech like XR, Metaverse, AR/VR will unfold, once 5G becomes a reality.

Did gender ever play a role in your professional growth? Can you recall an interesting incident or anecdote from your personal experience as a woman leader in the media industry?

I have not faced any gender related discrimination or an undue advantage in my professional journey solely because I am a woman. Luckily for me, I have worked with very strong and supportive leaders of both genders, who have mentored me and helped me tremendously in shaping my career. Having said that, I have had moments in my career which are typically around the stages in a woman's life when she is the most vulnerable to dropping out of the workforce. These are stages when she struggles (both external and internal) between holding on to her career and finding a work-life balance. In my opinion and experience, with strong support systems at home and office, AND with a lot of planning, one is able to sail through.

Although the participation of women in the indian workforce has increased over the past few years across all industries, the number of women in top leadership roles still remains low. What is your take on this?

In India, we have seen some strong women leaders in every sector, especially media and entertainment constantly breaking barriers and paving new ways for the next generation. Sadly, not all workplaces and organisations are committed to gender parity. Not just gender, but diversity and inclusion at a larger level, continues to be an unresolved issue in many sectors. Women in the workforce, at all levels continue to put their noses to the grindstone and work harder than others to prove themselves. If they don't clock in those extra `look, I am around' hours at work, they are often scoffed at. Unfortunately, this quiet but diligent workforce gets ignored and is often relegated to the bottom of the ladder. It is imperative that they find their voices and demand equal opportunities in leadership positions. A more gender-balanced workplace is urgently needed for women to achieve their professional goals.

At Radio City, we have always focused on gender parity particularly and have been recognized as one of India's Best Workplaces for Women in 2019 as well as ranked 4th in `Best Large Workplaces in Asia' in 2020, according to the GPTW survey.

What would be your advice to young female professionals starting out in their professional journeys? What are some dos and don'ts for creating a lucrative & lasting career in the indian media and entertainment industry?

First of all, as women leaders, we need to promote and cultivate an organisational culture that promotes gender parity and gives equal opportunities to women at all levels. That doesn't mean favouring or treating them differently. Providing adequate representation is enough; they will shine on their own. HR professionals too need to champion diverse, gender-balanced workplaces. And lastly, women professionals should bear in mind that they represent a working woman who has beaten a zillion odds to be where she is today. If they have that image in their heart and mind, they'll know what to do.