house Miditech - known for defining reality programming in the country - is getting set to unveil huge expansion plans over the next few months. The firm, which has produced series such as 'Indian Idol' for SET, 'Gali Gali Sim Sim' for Cartoon Network, 'MTV Roadies', and 'Extreme Makeover' for SET, is hiring furiously in anticipation of the launch of its own general entertainment channels, probably later this year.
On the heels of recently appointing Joseph T Joseph senior vice-president for people and structures, a new position to develop human resources and organisational functions, Miditech has announced that former Star hand, Sandip Khosla, will be the company's CFO.
Sandip is a chartered accountant and a cost accountant and has more than 20 years of financial management experience with a number of large domestic and international corporations. His involvement with the television industry began in 1995, when he joined STAR TV as chief financial officer - cable operations. He was part of STAR's core team that managed the acquisition of Zee's cable business and was subsequently STAR's representative in the resultant JV. Later he took over as CFO of STAR TV's India operations.
The company isn't just buzzing with news about the soon-to-be-launched channels (though Alva kept mum, there's speculation that reality and lifestyle channels are on the cards), but is also planning a big foray into animation production. When asked, Alva said: "We are already into animation and theme parks. Now, wait and watch what comes out of the Miditech stable next."
But does a CFO appointee indicate that the company is considering going public sometime soon? "We are committed to building the best management team in the production business here in India and Sandip's appointment as CFO needs to be seen in that context. At least, in the short term, we aren't looking to divest our stake in the company," says Alva.
Alva also played down recent speculation about Reliance ADAG eyeing Miditech for a 51% buy-out, saying the promoters (Niret and Nikhil Alva, who control 75 per cent of the company) weren't game for a minority stake in the company. That doesn't, however, rule out a small strategic stake sale.