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Raghav Bahl

Days @ FMS perhaps fuelled Raghav Bahl's entrepreneurial zeal

mbauniverse.com | 24 Nov, 2012 0355 hrs IST

Raghav Bahl is the founder, controlling shareholder and managing director of Network 18, India’s largest media house, Network 18 (formerly TV18)

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Raghav Bahl is the founder, controlling shareholder and managing director of Network 18, India’s largest media house, Network 18 (formerly TV18), and one of the country's most admired media professionals. He is highly respected as a deal maker and the partnerships he has created include popular TV channels, websites, and magazines such as CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV18, Viacom-Studio18, Forbes India, etc. He founded TV18 in 1993. Now, it has grown into a company with market capitalization of $1 billion.

Education: Mr Bahl did his graduation in economics from St Stephens College, New Delhi. He did his MBA from Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi. He also attended a doctoral program at Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York.

Professional career: Raghav Bahl began his career as a management consultant with A F Ferguson & Co. It was followed by a stint with American Express Bank before he launched TV18, his production house.

Career in media: Mr Bahl started his career in media in 1985 as a correspondent and anchor person for Doordarshan. He was the anchor person and production consultant of India's first monthly video news magazine, Newstrack, produced by the India Today Group. From 1991 to 1993, he was the executive director of Business India Television and produced the Business India Show and Business A.M. on Doordarshan.

Entrepreneurial journey:
Raghav Bahl does not belong to a business family. Still, his business acumen has proved to be amazing, and his days in FMS Delhi have definitely something to do in developing a knack towards entrepreneurship. In I993, he founded TV18. 

Raghav Bahl has been instrumental in crafting successful joint ventures such as CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz with media giants. His latest stamp of success has been the launch of the Indian edition of Forbes magazine, and the launch of what is said to be one of India's biggest distribution entities, Sun18. The launch marks the entry of Network18 Group into the Indian television distribution space.

A consummate deal maker, Mr Bahl has helped in the growth of the channel with major joint ventures with Viacom, called Viacom18, which houses the MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon channels in India; Studio18, the group's film entertainment operation; and Colors, the country's leading Hindi general entertainment channel. Additionally, Network18 holds the group's online & on-air home shopping venture, Homeshop18, its full spectrum of events management venture, E18, and its sports management & marketing division, Sports18.

Awards & recognitions:
Raghav Bahl has won several awards and accolades in more than two-decade-long career as a media professional. He bagged the Sanskriti Journalism Award in 1994. Mr Bahl was hailed as a ‘global leader of tomorrow’ by the World Economic Forum. He was also selected by Ernst & Young as the ‘entrepreneur of the year for business transformation' in 2007. Raghav Bhal was honoured with the AIMA award for the media person of the year in 2011 and BMA recognized him as the ‘entrepreneur of the year (2011). In the same year, Amity University of Uttar Pradesh conferred the doctor of philosophy degree, Honoris Causa, on Mr Bahl. He features on the Power 50 list brought out by India Today magazine every year.

As an author:
Raghav Bhal’s penchant for creative writing found its natural course of ventilation as he penned his famous book, ‘Superpower: The Amazing Race between China's Hare and India's Tortoise’. Published by Penguin Allen Lane, the book takes a close look at which of the Asian giants is likely to dominate the world over the next decade. It provides an incisive and in-depth analysis about the race to the superpower status between the two neighbours. The book goes step by step, starting with the respective histories and geopolitical concerns of India and China and comparing the two in terms of entrepreneurship, English-speaking skill, and infrastructure.

In comparing India and China, Mr Bahl has walked down a much trodden path; so there was hardly anything new left to say. Yet it is a well-written piece, and offers enough food for thought to anyone interested in this rivalry. The book is a documentary of how well China is doing compared with India. Mr Bahl even admitted at the conclusion that the world might have “underestimated” China’s drive and ambition and “overestimated” India’s democratic strength. If that is so, one wishes that Mr Bahl had remained more true to his own conclusion and been more critical of India and its failures.

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