JOP NETWORK, FOREMOST CURATOR OF HOLISTIC PROGRAMMING IN FITNESS, HEALTH AND RECREATION WORLDWIDE
“You have the right to ‘Karma’ but not to the Fruits thereof. Don’t motivated by the results of your actions nor should there be any attachment in not doing your prescribed activities”
The homegrown high-quality content company, JOP Network Private Limited, established by the tenacious and innovative Founder-Director, Urvi Agarwal, commands proficiency over channel curating, distributing and syndicating content of fitness, health, & entertainment sectors.
JOP currently caters to over 25 million viewers across 30 countries, with its content being distributed via own channels, namely Hollywood Local on Tata Sky, Fitness Studio and Hollywood Masala on Airtel DTH, Life Mantra on SWIFT (Australia), as well as leading global television networks like Discovery, FOX Traveler, Airtel DTH, Astro Malaysia, GAIA US and in-flight channels of Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways to name a few.
MORE ABOUT URVI
Urvi completed Chartered Accountancy at ‘The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India’ and Masters in Marketing from ESADE, Barcelona. She is also a graduate from the New York Film Academy where she completed a course in production. An author and columnist, she is a guest writer in many leading publications in India and overseas.
Led by her innate entrepreneurial spirit, she launched JOP in 2014 at the young age of 24 having observed a dearth, she tried bridging the gap and provide content on fitness, health and recreation looking to put well-being first.
The CEO Magazine grabbed a chance to have an enlightening conversation with the visionary on her perspective plans, industry, the scenario for women, technology, trends and more;
Tell us what factors influenced your decision to be an entrepreneur?
Working in the Media, Telecom & Technology vertical at the Investment Banking vertical at E&Y was exhilarating and gave me an insight into the world of Media & Tech. I interacted and helped in strategy building of media and tech companies and in the process I noticed the fitness industry was booming in India. The Indian audience had finally woken up to concentrate on their health and well-being. Gyms were opening in every street and fitness content on you-tube was being viewed by millions. However, this content lacked quality and structure and that needed fixing, following this insight, I met several industry experts who saw merit in my idea and I dived right into it.
How do you ensure the unbreakable faith of your clients?
Our clients are media giants such as Tata Sky & Airtel-DTH and we run value-added channels in collaboration with DTH operators. The tough part is to kick start the partnership with these players as they have a plethora of media companies pitching new channel options to them. We ensure that high-quality programming is consistently delivered and that the promos back the content. We believe in an acquisition and retention model – viewers shouldn’t be just added but also be retained.
What ethos is maintained for the employees in your company?
Our team is a young dynamic one comprising young eclectic individuals as well as industry experts. We follow an orchestrated hiring process looking at skills, ethics, and values. The media industry has a high attrition rate and we strive to retain our people for a long time. I am a strong believer of discussions, brainstorming and ideation without following strict hierarchies. We work as one unit where there is a high degree of interaction and thought exchanges.
As your company grew, or re-grew from your pivot, what were the primary challenges?
The advent of technology continuously evolves the industry and it is undergoing a revolution, the biggest challenge for me as an entrepreneur in this field is to constantly adapt to changes. We shifted from focus on cable to DTH and then to OTT platforms in less than 5 years and as an entrepreneur, I have to constantly make sure that we enter new spaces but with caution. The idea is to adapt our offering at each stage and power through. Finally, managing the resources both in terms of personnel and funds is time-consuming and tedious.
How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
The journey has been a roller coaster ride full of ups and downs but highly satisfactory. In the beginning, we heard more no’s then yes and that at times was disappointing but we believed in our offering and stuck to it. We were open to the thought of exploring new opportunities and pivoting our business model where it required and made sense. When new opportunities came our way, we were not shy to take up new challenges.
What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in India?
I personally feel that women make better managers and are more methodical, they are naturals at building teams. Women in general like to consult with more people before taking a decision which is a valuable quality at any company as discussions lead to better ideation. However, women have a lower risk taking appetite and like to play it safe. At the corporate arena however, one has to be open to taking calculated risks on a daily basis. Lastly, know that you can’t do it all and that’s okay. Find ways to support yourself personally and professionally. Stop living with the burden of having to manage it all and living in guilt if you can’t.
In a society like ours, with its skewed stereotypes, how did you manage to set out on your journey?
My mother is my biggest role model. She worked before I was born, while she was carrying me and till now. She works in our family business of real estate and handles hard core construction; there can’t be more equality than that. My father is my biggest support and has unbreakable faith in me which even I don’t. When I expressed my interest to dive into media and start TV stations, he went and formed the company for me the very next day. He financed me and has been my biggest cheerleader. Not once was there any push that I must take on the family business of real estate. The challenge at that time was that I founded JOP Network at the age of 24.
At that point, I was considered too young to be driving a project of this magnitude in a room full of aged men. More often than not, people thought of me to be an intern until I started presenting or speaking about the project. I went into a meeting or presentation after a lot of research and preparation so as to be armed with anything that would come my way. One thing that I have learnt in these few years of my entrepreneurial journey is that one’s passion and hard work can make one achieve what they have set out for even when the odds don’t favour. Our company is a young dynamic one as opposed to the other age-old giants in the television setup. We needed to fight harder and prove our merit only by showcasing quality product/ production. We got a lot of no’s, maybe’s or come later and still do.
What suggestion you would give for companies on how they can contribute to a more balanced and equal industry?
In my opinion, every company has a DNA unique to its own and the entire functioning of a company is based on it. Equality and balance flow from the top to the bottom. The mindset has to change at the top and we need to be willing to review a CV free from gender bias. We must break the stereotype of a receptionist being a lady or an accountant being a man, it could be vice versa.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last year?
We were given the opportunity to launch another channel by one of the largest DTH operators. They were convinced that JOP could deliver a high-quality product. At the same time, we were launching Hollywood Local (International blockbusters in Hindi, Tamil & Telugu) which was consuming all our time and capital. It was a tough call to take as the opportunity was huge but we finally let it go to ensure that the existing mandate was launched in the best way.
What does the future hold for your company?
We are currently collaborating with other DTH operators and OTT platforms for expanding our current offerings in the fitness and movies space. Further, we are working on launching a unique GEC channel in collaboration with India’s foremost DTH operator which will be a revolution in the VAS services space. Lastly, we have rolled out our external funding plan and are currently looking at finding a strategic partner to further expand our business.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Be true to your idea, ethics and quality. Your product and work will speak for itself. If you have a good idea and your research backs it up, just go for it. I am a big advocate of destiny and god’s will. I believe in working hard, very hard but leaving the final fruits to divine power. Be true to yourself and your goal and work relentlessly to achieve it.