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May 6, 2013

Ravina Raj Kohli – A Media Queen

Who is she?

Married to the famous Bollywood personality Kunal Kohli, Ravina Raj Kohli has carved out an identity for herself with a prolific career in the media do all the talking for her. She is considered among the top 20 successful Indian women in India. She has never been afraid to try things that are unknown to her. Her claim to fame is by being the first woman Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the television industry.  She has been associated with famous media houses such as Sony Entertainment Television, Star News and Channel Nine (owned by Kerry Packer) channels.

Her Education

Ravina has an unending thirst for knowledge and believes that there is no end or age to learning. She studied Feature Film Making and Broadcast News from New York University (NYU) at the age of 30 in pursuit of gaining knowledge and further insight into the industry she belonged. She has also obtained a Diploma from the famous London School of Journalism. Earlier, she graduated from Bangalore University in Bachelors of Psychology, Economics and Literature.

Her career

She started her career  from an advertising firm called HTA (now known as JWT) in Singapore. At that time, advertising was a field not very conducive to women. But Ravina took up the challenge bravely and excelled. She worked in advertising, radio and television all over Asia Pacific region during her stay in Singapore from 1990 – 1996. She went on to join Sony Entertainment Television as Programming Head – God seemed to have crafted her destiny. She was holidaying in Lakshwadeep Islands with her friends, Mitali and Prahlad Kakkar where she was introduced to one of the directors of the channel just as a matter of chance. The rest of the story is history and soon, Ravina was offered the position of Programming Head with Sony. She had limited idea about the needs of the Indian television viewers, but she took up the challenge. She was given single handed responsibility of the programming department with the authority to take decisions. Sony was ranked 56 in the charts at that time, and under her able leadership, the channel shot to the top slots.

Ravina was selected by the famous Kerry Packer to start Channel Nine from scratch – a programming company that was meant to evolve into a channel in a record period of three months. She joined this venture with much enthusiasm as the CEO,  but her dream suffered setbacks due to the complexities in the Indian public sector. The channel had to be shut down within a year, but it proved to be an extremely valuable learning experience for her.

She decided to launch her own production house cum multimedia company by the name of Sundial. Hardly had she got things going, her paths crossed with Rupert Murdoch, who placed the daunting task of converting an English news channel, Star News into a Hindi one, and that too, in just 11 months. At that time, the channel had absolutely nothing, not even a screw. So it was literally like launching a new channel for Ravina. She hired the team members , trained and oriented them towards the goal and embarked on taking up the challenge thrown at her. And she did complete her task within the stipulated timeframe of 11 months  and the channel was aired on the penultimate day of the deadline. She worked with Star News for about another year till 2004, hand holding the channel to become one of the most successful news mediums in the terrestrial space.

Having decided to become an entrepreneur some time back, Ravina left Star News to take a break of about an year, and attended to things that needed her care such as renovation of her house in Goa, reuniting with her extended family and friends. She came back to revive her own set up, Sundial Creative Media Private Ltd., a company that produces television content and films.  

She is motivated to contribute her bit to the benefit of society at large, having founded Jobcorp Company Pvt. Ltd., a company dedicated for empowerment of women. She has also been actively involved in inauguration of schools and educational institutions.

Awards and Recognitions

Ravina has won many awards and accolades in television and radio broadcasting; as well as a creative head in advertising. Her name has featured among the top 20 female professionals in India.  

Challenges faced and Controversies

Other than the critical situations faced by Ravina in her detailed career, one of the biggest challenges she faced was that of being a top notch professional at a young age in a world that had been dominated by males.  There was lot of jealousy, politics and gossip to deal with – Ravina kept faith in her capabilities and focused on the task in hand.

Speculations rose whenever she moved from one company to the other. At Star News, journalists scoffed at her for she was from a different background. Ravina developed a thick skin like a crocodile’s, and kept delivering; silencing her critics in the process. She has dealt with all the skeptism on each of her moves, and emerged with flying colours everytime.

Her Key to Success

Ravina is a perfectionist – she would get involved in her task to ensure the correct representation of what she is covering. She has always stuck to the idea of delivering the truth. For example, she spent two years travelling over 14 Muslim dominated countries to study their lifestyles and issues for an assignment.

She is a simple person and maintains the same simplicity at work. She speaks her mind out and tolerates no nonsense.

Her strong business acumen and exposure to various forms of media, has helped her assess what the consumers want, and she has been able to churn out innovative products and connect with masses in developing countries. She was also the pioneer of the idea of collecting feedback from the viewers or the target audience in order to be able to customize the products as per the needs of the modern consumers. It is commonly said about Ravina Raj Kohli that “Creating impact is her forte”. 

Tags : Ravina Raj Kohli, Raveena, Star News, Channel 9, success story

About Anupama

A Transport Planner and Architect, Anupama has been blogging for about six years now. She has taken up professional content writing for the last two years, and can always be contacted for any assignments or queries. Her strength is original presentation of any topic.