After months of persistent rumours that Apurva Purohit, president, ZEE TV, has resigned comes an official confirmation from the company. "Apurva Purohit, president, ZEE TV has resigned. She will be with ZEE TV till January 31, 2004," says a prepared note from the company.
Purohit's movement comes exactly 15 months after she joined a floundering ZEE TV in July 2002, then under the tutelage of group broadcasting CEO, Sandeep Goyal, who attempted a dramatic turnaround a year earlier with the launch of 24 new shows, a fresh logo and slogan in August, 2001.
The attempt, however, proved to be a damp squib, further consolidating the position of STAR, which had wrested the No 1 position from ZEE in the second half of 2000 with the eponymous Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), a fresh look and feel, and of course, some intelligent programming and scheduling decisions. This act was followed up by STAR, who introduced shows such as Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki immediately after the Amitabh Bachchan-anchored gameshow at 9.00 pm prime time, giving audiences a taste of kitchen politics, something they haven't been able to get over to this day.
Purohit's mandate was clear - to take charge of ZEE and bring back those glory days - a difficult task considering that the market had matured over time with audiences getting smarter, attention spans getting shorter and rival broadcasters getting sharper.
Purohit took some bold decisions during her tenure, in the process turning programming rules upside down. Notable was her introduction of the three-hour movie block on Thursdays titled Thursday Premiere, which marked a shift from the traditional weekend slotting of movies to weekdays. Notable also was the shift in the prime time programming line-up of ZEE from the conventional Monday to Thursday to Sunday to Wednesday.
Sundays acquired a new found significance in Purohit's scheme of things and she never shied away from experimentation introducing programming innovations such as Chausath Panne, Kambhatq Ishq, which was a slot for romantic thrillers that never quite took off, and the recent Kabhi Kabhi, a three-episode series based on women-oriented stories drawn from popular literature.
Her tenure was marked by a certain consistency, both on the programming as well as on the management front and ZEE was able to break into the Top 100 with shows such as Astitva - Ek Prem Kahani, Jeena Isika Naam Hai, and of course, Thursday Premiere. Though the online lotteries, launched before she joined ZEE, did give the channel some leeway in the Top 100, their novelty soon wore off, leaving it to Purohit and her team to come up with some winning programmes.
Purohit also played an instrumental role in getting ZEE to subscribe to TAM, which it chose to rubbish in the wake of the TVR controversy in 2001, and HLL was back as an advertiser on the channel this year owing to her efforts at convincing both the client and the agency MindShare that it was business as usual at the erstwhile No1 general entertainment channel.
Though precise reasons for her movement remain unclear since persistent calls to her have gone unanswered, her resignation should be viewed against the backdrop of an organisation known for its frequent management turnover. ZEE Telefilms Ltd (ZTL) is in the throes of a restructuring exercise with subsidiaries etc Network and the loss-making Econnect India Ltd being merged, apart from five other Mauritius-based operating entities being merged with a ZTL group company Asia Today Ltd.
Further, the group as a whole moved to a family-run model last year when Subhash Chandra announced that he was back in action as the overall head and of ZEE TV in particular, and the greater involvement of his family in corporate affairs was visible to one and all.
The question uppermost in most people's minds is, who will replace her? The ZTL communiqué gives no indication as to who the likely successor will be, only stating that an announcement to the effect will be made next week. Â© 2003 agencyfaqs!