It was a hush-hush appointment that took many by surprise. When Sony Entertainment Television announced last week that Rajesh Devraj, an ex-advertising hand would be the channel's new executive creative director, a number of eyebrows furrowed in unison.
The reason? The channel already has a strong programming asset in Anupama Mandloi coupled with the strategic support provided by executive vice-president Sunil Lulla, under whose leadership the channel has been coursing through the high stakes game of viewership with a minimum of two shows in the TAM C&S Top 100.
Devraj, according to a company release, will spearhead "creative content and programming", which Lulla claims is imperative to strengthen the "management of the channel". "He will help energise SET's creative vision by defining the look, feel, character and story ideas. His credentials, combined with his expertise and experience in the creative ideation process, equips him with a unique edge to take SET's creative programming to greater heights."
Incidentally, Devraj is not new to the world of television and media, and had played an important role in building up the CHannel [V] brand as part of the initial team that set up the channel. He was instrumental in the channel's quick rise up the popularity charts when later appointed as creative director and programming head. He also worked with rival MTV where he wrote and conceptualised its first Indian show Oye MTV.
As an agency creative, he worked with JWT and Enterprise Advertising on campaigns such as Hero Allegro, Hero Ranger, Maurya Sheraton and Maggie Sauces among others.
His task at SET is clearly cut out. The channel has just launched the most expensive television show Kahani Terrii Merrii and is all geared to telecast popular events Femina Miss India on January 31 and Filmfare Movie Awards later.
The channel is also looking to launch a music-based programme and a reality show subsequent to April 2003. Lulla, as usual, is tight lipped about the new initiatives, but claims that a number of new shows are lined up to fill the void post World Cup. "Entertainment is our middle name and we are determined to fulfilling this commitment," he adds. © 2003 agencyfaqs!