Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Net Neutrality- The Hot Debate

‘Net Neutraility’ has become a topic of hot discussion in the recent times. If you’re also one of the active Indian netizens, I’m very sure that the term might have also caught your attention, especially after AIB’s much famous video on the same. 

To the unaware, ‘Net Neutrality refers to the concept of an “open internet” whereby end-users can access the lawful content, applications, services & devices of their choice. Policymakers around the world are considering whether and how to ensure that the internet remains “open” & Internet access service providers do not improperly block or degrade content sent over their networks.’ This is probably the most proper description of the controversial phrase “Net Neutrality” as stated on the site www.techpolicy.com


Due to intense lobbying by telecom operators like Airtel and Vodafone, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had been planning to block apps and websites to extort money from customers. In essence, if you do not pay for your YouTube app, then you can’t view it on your phone. However, this plan of blocking Net Neutrality has been put on hold due to widespread customer uproar and since then there have been multiple public discourses on the concept.

Net Neutrality is a legal right for citizens in few countries across the globe including USA, Chile, Netherlands and Brazil. Chile was the first country to adopt it as a part of its General Telecommunications Law in the year 2010. The first time Net Neutrality debate arose in India was when Airtel along the lines of Verizon, USA launched Airtel Zero in April 2015.

How will Airtel Zero work?
  1. Mobile app makers register with ‘Airtel Zero’ to give customers toll-free access to their apps;
  2. Airtel informs customers about these toll-free apps;
  3. Customers download and access these apps at zero data charges – and enjoy their favorite online tasks (e.g. entertainment, shopping) for free;
  4. In a nutshell, it creates special “fast lanes” for the paid content.
The Loophole?

Well, as an Airtel customer, you can only access the apps your service provider allows you to. If Twitter doesn’t sign up with Airtel, then you may as well get ready to say bye bye to your tweets and your followers. This is unlike the present circumstances where for a monthly payment for your broadband charges you can view all apps and  websites. 

Flipkart was one of the first companies’ to sign up for Airtel Zero for a specific bandwidth speed to be allocated to them. However, soon after the public furor, it pulled out of Airtel Zero, which itself since then has been withdrawn by Airtel.

Net Neutrality in USA

A similar hue and cry had arisen in USA when Verizon and Comcast, two prominent US service providers had come up with Net Zero. After multiple rounds of discussions early this year, the Federal Communications Commission of USA came up with the FCC’s Open Internet rules which are designed to protect free expression and innovation on internet and to promote investment in the country’s broadband networks, thereby adopting Net Neutrality in its entirety.

Facebook’s internet.org

An open letter was sent to Narendra Modi by  ‘youth ki awaz’, an online youth blog, after his discussions with Mark Zuckerberg, who has been trying to promote his company’s internet.org as a platform for digital inclusion in India.  According to this open letter, contrary to Facebook's claims, the company in fact plans to target users of internet.org with restricted access to Facebook and sites that have registered with internet.org. For other sites not registered with internet.org, consumers will have to pay more. This again according to the forum is a violation of net neutrality.

The debate is ongoing and we are hoping that Net Neutrality sooner than later, becomes a public law in India.

- Ms. Monica Mor

  Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy: Google Images 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Greenwashing consumer’s green hopes…

With Deepawali round the corner, almost every Indian household is busy with whitewashing their homes and repainting them with colours to reflect the spirit of firecrackers and Goddess Lakshmi. Ironically, around the same time, we are also hearing about a new concept called “Greenwashing”.  And the concept becomes starkly clear in the light of the recent Volkswagen (VW) emission controversy that has set the Green industries crackling under pressure.

Decoding the term "Greenwashing"

Greenwashing was a term coined by New York environmentalist, Jay Westervelt, in 1986. He observed that some of the hotels that had placed Green Cards in Hotel bathrooms highlighting reuse of towels ostensibly to ‘save the environment’, where in fact doing so just to garner publicity which could lead to increased profitability. Westervelt thus labeled this and other outwardly environmentally conscientious acts with a greater underlying purpose of profit, as Greenwashing.

Accoding to Terrachoice, a consulting firm that studied this phenomenon, found that 95% of the products marketed as eco-friendly had committed at least one of the “seven sins” of Greenwashing. 

 The seven sins are:
  1. Sin of the hidden trade-off: A claim suggesting that a product is green based on a narrow set of attributes.
  2. Sin of no proof: An environmental claim that cannot be substantiated;
  3.   Sin of vagueness: A claim that is so poorly defined that it remains ambiguous.
  4.    Sin of worshipping false labels: A product that’s using fake green labels;
  5. Sin of irrelevance: An environmental claim that maybe truthful but unimportant like CFC-free, since all products have to be, as CFC is banned;
  6. Sin of lesser two evils: A claim that maybe true for the product, but risks distracting consumer from the greater environmental impacts of the product category as a whole, like say fuel-efficient SUV;
  7. Sin of fibbing: An environmental claim that’s totally false, like products claiming to be Energy Star certified when they are not.

What happened at Volkswagen?

Volkswagen has for the longest time portrayed itself as a Green Crusader, with its 2013 Think Blue campaign and the stolid German trust as the harbinger of all its Social Responsibility campaigns. In the year 2013, under the Think Blue campaign, VW promoted its new fuel efficient and low emission models. In 2015, VW promoted diesel as a low-emissions alternative to gasoline and spent about $77 million in the US market. And as everyone now knows, VW was using software to trick emission tests on 11 million of its vehicles. Not only has this casted an aspersion on VW’s brand name, it has left discussions on all Green initiatives’ dubious and questionable.

Other examples of Greenwashing campaigns, and this list is definitely not exhaustive:

  •  American airline EasyJet’s claim that traveling on their plane is better for the environment than driving a hybrid car;
  •   Tyson Foods USA which was using “all natural” labels on its Chicken, even though they were treated with antibiotics and genetically modified corn;
  •   Clairol’s shampoo brand, Herbal Essences’, claim of a ‘truly organic experience’ was busted with the discovery of chemicals in the shampoos like lauryl sulfate and propylene glycol which aren’t really that organic;
  • In 2014, Korean car manufacturers Kia and Hyundai paid $300 million fine for overstating the gas mileage for its 1.2 million vehicles.

So, in a world of false promises, here’s another one that customers are now easily playing into since it’s all about caring for the environment. In India too, this fad has been catching up with people willing to pay more for organic and environment friendly products. Going further, Greenwashing should be highlighted more especially since customers are nowadays more gullible especially when it comes to electronic products, baby toys, diapers, pet food, paper products and even laundry detergents.

- Ms. Monica Mor
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD

Images Courtesy: Google Images 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hospitality Industry undergoing a technological Transformation

Every industry is experiencing a technology-driven renovation, and the hospitality industry is no different.  Bitten by the technology bug, there has been a change in the way business is being done. This technological revolution is allowing businesses to have a more convenient, informed and valuable relationship with their customers.

Listed below are few technological advances that are transforming the hospitality industry and enabling a new level of customer service:

1) Online booking systems

They are extremely widespread in the hotel industry, with many restaurants also beginning to accept them. This would require a well-designed, mobile-friendly website with a simple interface.


Electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems are becoming more and more sophisticated, allowing hospitality venues to operate more efficiently and provide better customer service. By integrating with CRM, inventory management, information on capacity, reservations, stock, loyalty programs and more is accessible.

3) CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows contacts and information to be organized and managed in one place. An effective CRM makes it easier to build ongoing relationships with customers, as well as making important details easily accessible to all staff via a cloud-based application.

4) Marketing Automation

 Marketing automation allows personalized emails to be sent to customers and prospects based on their activities and personal information. Advanced marketing automation software allows much more complex tasks to be performed, such as emailing customers who have been visiting or clicking on certain areas of the website or social media pages.

5) Social Media

 A social media presence is crucial, particularly given that Facebook is a popular platform for check-ins and reviews of restaurants and hotels. Attractive images are usually the most popular type of post. Businesses should also choose their social media platforms carefully based on their target audience, rather than simply joining all of them.

6) Smartphones

Hilton Worldwide has taken advantage of this by offering guests the ability to check in and out, select their room, check maps and make extra requests or purchases all from their smartphones. Another revolutionary service that soon will be made available is smartphones to function as room keys.

7) Smart appliances

Lighting, temperature, blinds, alarms, TV, radio and room service will all be controlled from a single tablet device, or from a single app that guests can download and login to from their own device.

Irrespective of the changes that these technology brings about , the truth is that they are there to enhance, not to replace, the core offerings of a hospitality business. Top quality food and customer service are still the fundamental pillars of the industry, but the technologies can make it easier to consistently deliver a memorable experience to your guests.

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy: Google Images 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hotel Industry calling for Green Revolution!

“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.” - Ban Ki-Moon    

The Hotel Industry seems to have taken good inspiration from Mr. Ban Ki-Moon’s words of wisdom. Recent years have shown the Hotel industry trying to "green up" its operations, but the real question is, has this “Operation Green” gone beyond leaving out little cards to encourage guest reuse towels and linens?       

Hotels and hotel chains are taking sustainability more seriously, those little cards may seem like token environmentalism to some, but they can actually result in significant water, waste and cost reductions. The website Economically Sound reports that a 150-room hotel can conserve 72,000 gallons of water and 480 gallons of laundry soap every year by placing the cards in its guest rooms.  

Green Hotels

In another initiative, the industry has also started with a new concept called the Green Hotels. Green hotels are basically lodging properties that implement environmentally friendly practices and programs to save water and energy while reducing solid waste. The goal for green lodging properties is to minimize their impact on the environment.

The relevance of being green in hospitality is growing – introducing and implementing green practices to save water, conserve energy, and reduce waste, with the added benefit of decreasing overall operating costs. The significant savings yielded can be applied to enriching the quality of guests’ hotel experience.

Do eco-conscious hotels appeal to travelers?
Environmental initiatives are not just the ‘good’ thing to do – but have business-building power by positively driving the decision-making of consumers about where to spend their money. A key element to ensure success with the roll-out of green practices is thorough education of hotel staff, from management through all departments in the organization. It is empowering when employees play a role in assisting the hotel fulfill its eco-conscious mission. Making a mindset of sustainability-consciousness part of the business culture is a reflection of a hotel’s commitment to corporate social responsible.
Few green practices that the Hotel Industry has adopted are as follows:
·         Biodegradable 100% recycled room keys
·         Carbon Neutral and Hybrid vehicle/transportation service upon request with Concierge Services
·         Bed linens changed upon guest request to aid in water and energy conservation efforts
·         Towels replaced upon guest request allowing guests the option of re-using existing towels
·         All light panels in meeting rooms are allow users to select the most efficient setting based on the event
·         Food not consumed for meetings is provided to hotel associates free of charge or donated to local charities
·         Local and organic food products are offered (options are limited due to short growing season) limiting carbon offset for shipping
·         Electronic thermostats in guestrooms with pre-set settings to minimize energy consumption
·         Biodegradable gift/amenity bags are used

Tom Brokaw, a famous American television journalist once said, “It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference,” and the Hotel Industry seems to be coming around the idea just fine.

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy: Google Images 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Are you a BRAND ?

“If you don’t show up on Google, you don’t exist!”

The statement above is as true and scary as it sounds. How people perceive you has always been vital to a successful career. Now with the internet, social media, and the unrelenting purr of 24x7 businesses, the ability to brand and promote yourself effectively has become absolutely essential. No matter how talented or skilled you are, unless you are visible to the key players in your industry, or until managers can see your talent and think of you as an invaluable employee, a game-changer, or a person whose name is synonymous with success, you don’t exist. So, how do you stand out and get ahead?

This is where Personal Branding comes to our rescue. It is about marketing the product “you” by figuring out –
  1. What your values, skills, and passions really are
  2. Who you want to help, and What makes you different from others
  3. If you want to have a great personal brand, it also needs to be memorable, consistent and help you achieve all of your personal and professional goals.
So, how to go about creating a truly memorable brand?

Discover your Brand

The first step in creating a memorable personal brand is to discover yourself, who you really are and what you really want to achieve. This can often be the hardest and the most time consuming part, but a strong start on this can make all the difference in the long run. You will need to consider what you want to gain from your brand and this starts at basic needs such as financial success, but also includes what your actual dreams are for your brand and what some day you wish to be proud of.

Next are your values - the core principles that drive you forward, they are the standards that you set for yourself, surrounding your actions and attitude. Another important factor in your brand is your passion. What are you passionate about? What will keep your energy levels up and determine how you spend most of your time?

Having a Brand statement is the next step. This is important in order to set a bar for yourself that you know you can't fall below, but it also allows others to see where you are coming from and what your brand stands for. 

Strengths and personal attributes can be interconnected. Your strengths are the abilities and interests that create a consistent positivity in your life in some way. These are the strengths that you must use to get your brand out there and really sell it apart. This also ties into your education and experience. These are often secondary but can lead you to gain more trust from potential clients or customers, or even colleagues.

You also need to research your competitors and find out what makes you unique. What can you do that others can't? What are you passionate about that others see as essential? This will set you apart.

Building your Brand and Creating Buzz

One of the most important things you need to figure out for your brand is your target audience. You will need to create a statement to this effect so that anyone interested in your brand will know exactly why you are unique and important.

Note – Your brand is a representation of yourself and vice-versa. It is essential that you are honest with yourself and honest about what your brand is about. Honesty is the real strength behind any brand.

You can use a number of Brand Building Tools to showcase your Brand – Business Cards, email ID, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are some of the prominent brand building tools that aid creating buzz about your personal brand among your target audience.

“Your personal brand is what people say about you, when you have left the room.” – Jeff Bezos (Founder & CEO – Amazon)

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty
   Faculty, INLEAD

Images Courtesy- Google Images 

Frenzy at Skrillex event in Gurgaon- What were the lapses?

For most of us, the word ‘event’ is synonymous with music, artists, drinks, food and lots and lots of fun. But, what remains unnoticed is the amount of hard work that goes into making a particular event possible. For an event to be successful there are multiple minute critical aspects that need to be looked into.  An event not planned properly can turn a high profile event into an unpleasant memory in the minds of people, forever. One example of such an event was the Skrillex event in Gurgaon.

For the uninitiated: Sonny John "Skrillex" Moore aka Skrillex, is an American electronic music producer, DJ, singer and songwriter. All of 27 years of age, he is currently the latest craze amongst the young generation and they love his music compositions.

Skrillex was recently on a 4 city tour of India. His last show in India was on the 11th of October, 2015 in HUDA Grounds, Gurgaon. The event was a huge success with a mammoth attendance of close to 15,000. The online ticketing for the event was managed by meraevents.com.

The event since then has been marred by massive controversies. Headlines in next day newspapers screamed “23 year old woman dies while dancing at crowded Skrillex gig”. The deceased while dancing vigorously collapsed due to cardiac arrest for lack of oxygen and could not be revived. Why was there oxygen shortage? The venue was overcrowded. Capacity of Leisure Valley, HUDA Grounds is between 5000 and 6000, whereas towards the first hour of the event there were about 15,000 people packed into the venue. Apparently, the deceased’s friend too collapsed due to suffocation and is still in a critical condition.

Where were the lapses?
  •   Poorly organized event with very little emphasis on safety norms;
  •  Inadequate security that could have prevented people who barged in without tickets from doing so;
  •   No control over liquor which was being served to underaged audience;
  •    Organisers who had taken an NOC for 5000 people didn’t anticipate or even share their apprehension about more numbers turning up for the event;
  •   There were brawls amongst drunken youth which could hardly be contained;
  •   Number of police personnel deployed for an event of such a mega scale was just about 90;
  •     Inadequate parking space which had resulted in massive traffic jam around the venue.
The organizer, Mumbai’s Clockwork Events, is now facing charges of negligence (filed by deceased girl’s parents) as well as for allegedly violating excise norms. In fact, in future, any organizer of events will have to deposit a bank guarantee if liquor is to be served during the course of the event. But most importantly, Event organisers need to themselves be more particular about size and location of venue, number of attendees, as well as other amenities for the attendees. Memories from this gig which could have been all about Skrillex’s mind-blowing music has unfortunately been marred by the death of a young attendee due to overcrowding.

- Ms. Monica Mor
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD

Images Courtesy: Google Images 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Crossroads of Ethics

“It takes less time to do things right, than to explain why you did it wrong.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Quite aptly, the statement above sums up the importance of doing the things right, what we call an ‘Ethical Business Practice’. Ethics in business can be compared to the Sun in our solar system. Like all the planets revolve around the Sun, businesses must revolve around, and absorb the energy from Ethics; else they’ll fall into a Black hole of defamation and losses. With the world becoming a marketplace, and the competition growing day by day, following the path of business ethics has become all the more imperative. While it is quite easy to slip into unethical practices, which many businesses resort to in order to grow, sustainability of a business is directly correlated to the moral values and promises the brands carry towards their consumers.

Reputation is one of a company’s most important assets, and one of the most difficult to rebuild, should it be lost. There are examples of blatant, non-ethical behavior, and probably one of the most high profile ones, is the Enron collapse. Enron, once a sleepy natural gas pipeline company, grew to become the nation’s seventh largest publicly-held corporation. But its shoddy business practices, aided by bankers and advisors feeding from the gravy train, brought down the company in December 2001. Their stock dropped from $70.00 a share to $0.25 a share within a year. Altogether, 16 former Enron executives including the then CEO Jeff Skilling had been sentenced to prison (Source: Forbes.com).

Enron’s heyday has long ended. But its lessons will long endure. Surely, if there are profits to be made, some type of scheme that attempts to skirt the law or even cross boundaries will occur. It’s been that way throughout history. But with each passing scandal, new rules and codes emerge that surpass those of the past. And while Enron won’t be the last case of corporate derelictions, its tumultuous tale did initiate a new age in business ethics. Another example from our very own country is the loss of face and worth Nestle India had to suffer recently, following a row on adulteration. Struck by an exceptional item charge of INR 451.6 crore on account of withdrawal of stocks of Maggi noodles, Nestle India reported a net loss of INR 64.40 crore for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015, — its first quarterly loss in at least 17 years( Source: The Indian Express).

Ethical behavior and corporate social responsibility can bring significant benefits to a business. For example, they may:

  • Attract customers to the firm’s products, which means boosting sales and profits
  • Attract good talent and retain employees, reduce labor turnover, and therefore, increase productivity
  • Attract investors, keeping the share price high, thereby protecting the businesses from takeovers
- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty
  Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy: Google Images 

Monday, October 12, 2015

What’s on your Menu?

What’s on the menu? This is a question that most of us ask, about twice or thrice during a day. Food is a very important part of our lives. In fact, some of us even live to eat rather than the other way around.  For these foodies, a menu is like a sacred book that they want to religiously read over and over again till the time they have decided the perfect dish or dishes to satisfy the hunger in their stomachs.  

A menu can be defined as a presentation of food and beverage offerings. A menu may be à la carte – which guests use to choose from a list of options – or table d'hôte, in which case a pre-established sequence of courses is served.

Classic Menu Sequence

This format is used to lay out menus as well as to indicate the order of the various courses.

Course 0: Amuse-bouche / Amuse-gueule - A little bite before the meal begins: Greetings from the Chef de Cuisine

Course 1: Hors d'oeuvre (appetizer)
This course is used to manipulate the appetite for the dishes that are to follow.

Course 2: Potage (soup)
A potage is usually puréed and is often thick, well-seasoned meat or vegetable soup.

Course 3: Oeufs (eggs)
Oeufs are the dishes made from egg.

Course 4: Farineaux (rice & pasta)
This is Italy's contribution to the courses of the menu. It includes different kinds of rice and pasta.

Course 5: Poisson (fish)
Poisson are the dishes made from fish. Fish, being soft-fibred, prepares the palate for the heavier meats that follow.

Course 6: Entrée (entry of 1st meat course)
It is a complete dish in itself, garnished and sauced the way it is intended to be served.

Course 7: Sorbet (flavored water)
This course is a rest between courses. It counteracts the previous dishes, and rejuvenates the appetite for those that are to follow.

Course 8: Reléve (meat course)
This is the main meat course on the menu, and is commonly known as the “piece de resistance.”

Course 9: Rôti (roast)
This course normally consists of game or poultry.

Course 10: Légumes (vegetables)
These can be served separately as an individual course or may be included along - with the entrée, relevé or roast courses.

Course 11: Salads (salad)

Course 12: Buffet Froid (cold buffet)
In this course chilled meat pieces are served.

Course 13: Entremet de sûcre (sweet)
Entremets on a menu refers to desserts.

Course 14: Savoureaux (savory)
They are served hot on toast or as savory soufflé.

Course 15: Fromage (cheese)
Fromage (Cheese) may be served before or after the sweet course.

Course 16: Desserts (fresh fruits & nuts)
This course comes at the end of a meal. The French word desservir means "to clear the table."

Course 17: Cafe (coffee)

The classic menu sequence outlined above was and is based on logical process of taste sensations.  This classic sequence provides the guide for the compilation of menus, as it is evident in most examples of modern European menus.  

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Senior Faculty, INLEAD 

Images Courtesy: Google Images 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Race for Driverless cars

Have you ever tried driving on Cruise control on a highway, if you have an Automatic? Well, here’s what happens: You set your car on a particular speed (chances are you will select around 120 kmph), press the Cruise Control button, remove your feet from all pedals, sit back and watch your car drive you. Even better - open the Sunroof or unhinge the top altogether and enjoy the breeze ruffle your hair.

We thought that’s the pinnacle of technology in a car. But, were we wrong! Because, according to a gentleman named Elon Musk , “why stop here, why can your car not drive for you on busy streets and talk to you when its unable to manoeuvre intersections?”

Tracy Chapman had in 1988 penned a lovely song, Fast Car, and the lyrics were: “You got a fast car, I want a ticket to anywhere, Maybe we can make a deal, Maybe together we can get somewhere”. Well, she meant her lover and she could escape in a car. But Tesla, Google and Toyota seemed to have taken a cue from the song and are now making you love your car, which will take you anywhere. So, it’s going to be just you and your driverless car.

Technology behind Driverless cars

Tesla’s Model X, Google’s Self Driving Car (SDC) and Toyota’s Crown aim to please. They are all-electric, and hence maintenance free.

Google’s robotic car has a 70,000$ LIDAR (light radar) system which helps generate 3D map of its environment, produces different types of data models, that allow the car to drive on its own.

Tesla’s Model X is a luxury full-size crossover utility vehicle with falcon-wings door that lift vertically thereby getting rid of the problem of hitting the door against the kerb or another car while opening. According to Elon Musk, founder CEO of TESLA, Model X is the safest SUV in terms of frontal and side – impact crash.

The Toyota Crown sedan can deliver audio and visual alerts when a driver has taken his/her foot off the brake and has started to creep into an intersection. Returning to manual mode is simple - just grab the wheel or press the brake. These 3 driverless car manufacturing companies have embarked on an ambitious program and the costs are humungous. Add to it the fact that this technology is beyond the legal stipulations which are for human operated vehicles, driverless cars seem a formidable proposition.

Commercialization has commenced with Google SDCs already on road aboard. In fact, as of July 2015, Google’s 23 self - driving cars have been involved in 14 minor accidents, but Google has blamed them primarily on drivers of the vehicles or of another vehicle.


The cars are expensive to buy and complex to maintain. We need more charging stations, which are technically very few in number across the globe. Parking these cars on roads due to absence of driveways or garages could make them vulnerable to theft. The technology has yet to be tested in extreme conditions of storm and snow. Also, the technology isn’t smart enough to navigate around potholes or stop the car if the traffic police ask you to pullover.


Primarily, with driverless cars, specially challenged people would be able to commute easily. There would be less noise pollution and air pollution since these are electric powered vehicles. Also, accidents due to human errors will be curtailed, since humans tend to often misjudge other road users’ movements and get distracted. Most importantly, the user of the vehicle can multi task, and not waste all the time on driving, especially when it’s known that statistically people waste close to 4-6 work weeks on driving every year.

The real question however is, “Are we ready for driverless cars yet?”

- Ms. Monica Mor

  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, October 5, 2015

Business of Bollywood

“Vijay: Aaj mere paas paisa hai, bangla hai, gaadi hai, naukar hai, bank balance hai, aur tumhare paas kya hai?

Ravi: Mere paas Bollywood hai!”

What do we know the Hindi film industry as? Many would argue against the name, but Oxford has accorded this term a place of its own in its English dictionary. The word “Bollywood” is an epithet for the film industry based out of Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Bollywood is one of the largest film producers in India and one of the largest centers of film productions in the world. In terms of the number of films produced each year, Bollywood is even ahead of Hollywood as well as the Chinese film industry.  While annually about 500 movies are produced in Hollywood and about 800 in China, the numbers touch a staggering 1600 in India. This amounts to a gross box office of $8 billion per annum.

The Hindi film industry has been growing by leaps and bounds year by year and the earnings too have been increasing exponentially. It has now become a mad game about numbers where anything grossing below 100 Crores isn’t even considered worth considering.

The budget allotted to movies varies across different production houses depending upon the star cast and their respective packages. The net amount is pocketed as profit before tax. During the first decade of the 21st century, there was a steady rise in the ticket price, a tripling in the number of theaters and an increase in the number of prints of a film being released, which led to a large increase in the box office collections.

The highest grossing movie in Bollywood till now has been PK from Vinod Chopra Productions with the worldwide gross earnings to the tune of Rs. 735 crores (about $110 million), closely followed by an in-theatres movie,  Bajrangi Bhaijan with earnings of Rs. 636 crores (about $95 million). These numbers are however nowhere close to gross box office of Hollywood movies like Titanic, Avtar and Jurassic World which is more than 1 billion dollars each.

Mega budget movies with special effects and extremely picturesque locations have been facilitated in Bollywood with the provision of 100% FDI.  That is the reason why we see the presence of foreign enterprises like 20th century Fox, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Brothers more often these days at the starting reels of movies. Then again, in the case of Hollywood, it’s not just the large screen, their earnings come by way of DVD or Blue Ray releases, DTH releases (paid followed by unpaid). Every movie is attached with plethora of merchandise sales, ad space sales within the movie as also during screenings (both in large and small screens), as also mobile apps where movies are sold for mobile viewing after all other screens are exhausted.

These days immense marketing activities are conducted before release of a movie by way of music releases, fan engagements with movies stars, social media trailer promos, sometimes unwholesome controversies and also the movie stars joining some social cause to create a favourable public image around them and their movie. All this is done in order to drag the audience to the holy grail of movies, the cinema theatres.

The business of Bollywood is no longer taken lightly, since it has started contributing to the government’s coffers by way of entertainment taxes. Yet, crores spent may just go down the drain if script and story fails to interest the audience. Then there is the long wait for the next release in order to cover the losses of the previous one. But, nothing can dampen the spirits of the Hindi film Industry as they say “Bade Bade Deshon Mein Aisi Choti Choti Baatein Hoti Rehti Hai.”

- Ms. Monica Mor

  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Courtesy: Google Images 

Do Non-Medicos make good Healthcare Administrators?

According to a survey done by Frost and Sullivan, the healthcare industry is expected to grow at a rate of 17-22% by the year 2020. This growth can be attributed to rise in incomes, easier access to high-quality healthcare facilities and greater awareness amongst the consumers. Simple derivations of the above facts lead us to the conclusion that there is a definitive increase in the demand. And, balancing this increase in the demand, the supply of the concerned product will also have to increase at the same pace. So, which means more Hospitals and more managers to manage these facilities. 

With the growth of the healthcare industry has come the simultaneous growth of  Hospital Administrators- “The New Age Influencer”. They are the leaders who often operate as the “face” or “first point of contact” for their organization. The big question here is who is a better administrator, a medico or a non-medico?

Health care administrators must always maintain professionalism in behavior and presence. They must be proficient at adjusting to new developments in technology, legal matters and policies. Apart from being flexible, creative, analytical and organized they should most importantly be able to effectively communicate with people at all professional levels, specialties and roles. An effective hospital manager should be aware of what is going on in their department or facility, and should have details of all employees’ daily responsibilities.

A bachelor’s degree in health administration is typically minimum requirement for entry level positions in healthcare administration. However, it is important to note that those who hold a bachelor’s degree might not be qualified for higher positions, and thus their chances for advancement could be limited. A master’s degree in healthcare administration is a more common educational path for those who wish to reach upper management, and can open doors to positions with much more responsibility.

Nowhere in the academic eligibility or personal trait requirement is it mandated that you require a healthcare degree to become an administrator. For me, it hence becomes a myth that “medicos make better administrator”. If I need to quote names for non-medicos who have succeeded more than their medico counterparts, the list will be endless.

According to Dr. S K Biswas, Academy of Hospital Administration (AHA), “I believe non-medicos can make better administrators because unlike doctors their minds are less occupied. Therefore, they are better performers. On the other hand, the skills of a doctor should not be wasted especially in developing countries where the doctor to patient ratio is already low. Moreover, most of the work health administrators do in administration doesn’t require medical knowledge.”

Summarizing the entire discussion, I would say, that it isn’t “what you were” but it is “what you are” and “what you will be” that matters!

- Ms. Ginny Kaushal
  Faculty, INLEAD 

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