She has produced over 50 soap operas that air across major Indian networks. Her influence in the Indian media is undeniable. She was named among the 40 Young Global Leaders 2006 by the Forum of Young Global Leaders, an affiliate of the World Economic Forum. In addition to being acknowledged as the Business Today Woman of the Year several times, she has been also awarded the Most Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur Award by the Indo-American society at their Golden Jubilee celebrations.
In 2001, Asia week magazine named her among the 50 most influential communicators in Asia. In the same year, she won the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award, the first woman to receive the honour. In 2003, she has been honoured ITA Scroll Honour of the Year. In 2012, she had received the Phalke Iconic Film & Television Producer from in the Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Awards.
Ekta Kapoor scripted an early entry into satellite TV homes in India with daily soaps such as Hum Paanch in the 1990s. The workaholic daughter of yester-year star Jitendra became a household name with her ‘K’ series soaps like Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. So popular are her serials (a large number of which earlier started with the letter K) that Ekta came to be known as the Soap Queen of India. Ekta has often been the target of debate for showcasing social dramas in the Indian context developed around in-law relationships, domestic intricacies of a large Indian joint family, exploring the patriarchal nature of the Indian society or an eternal mother-son relationship wound up by the super long umbilical cord that can never be severed! Whatever the genre, the channel heads don’t seem to mind, for her serials still manage to keep the audiences tuned in and the TRPs going.
At the age of 19, Ekta ventured into TV-serial (series) production and soon changed the face of Indian television industry. Her spot-on audience instinct and excellent understanding of Indian demographics, the social fabric of a complex Indian society, how it influenced Indian women and their relationships to their environment, all of this enabled her to establish a defining position for Balaji Telefilms Limited (BTL). Within the Indian entertainment space Balaji Telefilms is the only content provider which has crafted a unique position and a prominent presence across both – the films and the television businesses, which by nature are two completely different disciplines, with markedly differing dynamics. Television entertainment has been the foundation stone for Balaji since its inception.
The company has to its credit, executed over 15,000 hours of television content in Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Kannada, Malyalam and Bengali entertainment across genres. As a production house, BTL owns 19 modern studios and 31 editing suites – more than any Indian company in the M&E industry, supported by a strong presence in Hindi GECs and regional GECs. Over the last 12 months, BTL has moved from strength to strength capturing the imagination of viewers across top GECs & Youth channels alike, while creating content in multiple genres. From a historical serial, like Jodha Akbar, which consistently stands as the No. 1 show on Zee, BTL has presented riveting entertainment presentations to ever-evolving audiences including social dramas like Kumkum Bhagya, Pavitra Bandhan, Meri Ashiqui Tumse Hai, to edgy content like Gumraah-3. One of the high watermark’s of the year was creating a solid viewership base and holding this viewership pattern at an 11 pm slot, with our new-age drama Yeh Hain Mohabbatein, on Star Plus.
The TV content business is one with unique dynamics and rapidly altering audience demography. “The company has done a commendable job with all the current programs that continue to command a premium; we enjoy great relationships with broadcasters which we are deeply committed to strengthen further and most importantly continue to attract leading advertisers across the country. As BTL has transitioned successfully from fiction to non-fiction and alternative fiction genres which are being driven through BOLT Media, we truly have evolved with the times and audience’s needs which, I believe, demonstrate our ability to constantly innovate and adapt ensuring exciting progress in days to come.”
The fiscal year of 2014 has been one of the most memorable years of the company’s performance in the history of Balaji Telefilms. This was also a very challenging phase for the global economy and India was no exception. As a business, BTL has several strengths and the company has been quick to focus on them, ensuring that the business fundamentals remained strong. This approach went a long way to insulate BTL from the vagaries of an uncertain and challenging business environment.
The company continued to set strict priorities and utilised the year 2014 to concentrate on strengthening its internal efficiencies, improve operating margins, practised strict cost controls, strategized key revenue drivers for both the television and motion pictures divisions, explored newer show formats, focused on the 2014-15 slate with films across genres and budgets, explored co-productions and new collaborations that ensured pooling of creative resources to make the final products stronger. BTL also formulated a de-risking strategy for the films business. Most importantly, while externally the sentiment seemed to be beaten, BTL ensured that its passion for entertainment led the spirits at Balaji Telefilms.
The results, both quantitatively and qualitatively, have been fantastic. BTL’s key differentiator has been the fact that today; Balaji is the only content provider having excellent brand equity across both films and television businesses with unique strengths in these respective divisions. Maintaining a fine balance between successful daily soap content and creatively distinct film content has been one of the company’s biggest achievements of 2014.
BTL has been gradually scaling up the films business – Balaji Motion Pictures – which has grown in revenues over a short period of time. This has been in line with its larger growth strategy and the company has met with considerable success in this segment driven by its strengths as a generator of mid-budget, content-rich products. From a production perspective, it is commendable that over the last 12 months BTL has leveraged its creative excellence in the best possible manner to produce films with rich and diverse content, across genres that have not only been well appreciated, but have also converted at the box office. Today Balaji Motion Pictures stands as one of the top 5 film studios in India, led by the passion and vision of a highly professional and talented leadership team.