book bazaar

HarperCollins India signals a shift with the entry of new CEO from Penguin Random House

The move indicates a new urgency in the business plans of the multinational book-publisher in India.

The English-language publishing business in India doesn’t often witness dramatic moves at the top. That’s why the announcement on Tuesday that PM Sukumar had resigned from his post of CEO of HarperCollins India came as a minor shock to the trade.

Sukumar’s replacement completes the other half of the biggest top-level shift in the industry. HarperCollins India’s next CEO will be Ananth Padmanabhan, till now the senior vice-President, Penguin Random House, where he oversaw the crucial sales function. A Penguin veteran of 18 years – he joined the company in 1997 – Padmanabhan, like Sukumar, was often thought to be umbilically attached to his company.

Significantly, HarperCollins’s education business in the country, represented by Collins India, which publishes text and educational books, will be run on a day to day basis by Krishna Naroor, who will not be reporting to Padmanabhan but will be working alongside him.

Neither HarperCollins India nor Penguin Random House announces their financials publicly, but the two companies are believed to be the No. 2 and No. 1 company in English trade publishing in India, respectively. However, the gap between them has widened after the merger of Random House and Penguin.

While there are, naturally, no official reasons for the change at the top, the near-concurrence of the announcement of Sukumar’s departure and Padmanabhan’s arrival at HarperCollins India points to the move being a choreographed one. Sukumar piloted the company through its early day and initial growth, and now Padmanabhan is expected to step on the gas.

The move also coincides with the shift in HarperCollins India’s global alignment. The Indian company will now be overseen by HarperCollins UK instead of HarperCollins US, with UK CEO Charlier Redmayne – whose brother Eddie won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking – being personally involved.

Known for stability

That this change at the top is taking place at HarperCollins India is something of a surprise, for the company has been an oasis of calm when it comes to editor and publisher movements. While Penguin Random House, Bloomsbury and the Aleph Book Company, among others, have seen departures of top and senior-level editors in recent times, HarperCollins India has sailed serenely through such turbulence.

For instance, the two editors at the company, Karthika VK and Krishan Chopra, have been with HarperCollins India since 2006, when they moved from Penguin Books. And Sukumar himself joined the company as CEO in 2005.

Padmanabhan is taking over at a difficult time for trade publishing in India. After three years of back to back growth of over 20%, 2014 saw the market turning flat for the first time, with little or no growth in most segments. And the first half of 2015 is believed to have seen a fall in both the number of books sold and their value.

Rupert Murdoch’s empire, which owns the HarperCollins group, has made no secret of his desire to expand all its businesses in India, the biggest of which, of course, is the STAR television network. If appointing Padmanabhan is a signal that HarperCollins India will now look to being the No. 1 player in the industry, it will be interesting to see whether organic growth or acquisition takes precedence.

Padmanabhan was believed to have been in the running for the post of CEO of the post-merger Penguin Random House in 2013. But the post eventually went to Gaurav Shrinagesh, till then the CEO of Random House India. At 40, he is considerably younger than the outgoing CEO Sukumar, the difference probably an indicator of where HarperCollins realises the future of books lies in India.

Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this report had mistakenly stated that the STAR television network is part of News Corp. It is in fact part of 21st Century Fox. Both News Corp and  21st Century Fox are part of Rupert Murdoch's business empire.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

Play

So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.