After ten years at the helm of Sony’s broadcasting business in India, NP Singh, MD and CEO of Sony Pictures Network India, has decided to vacate the corner office. Singh who is considered to be among the doyens of India’s media industry always kept a low profile but he paved the path for Sony to become the brand it is today.

Known as a media titan amongst veterans, Singh’s announcement on his exit comes at a time when Sony has had a tough year in India after dissolving its merger deal with Zee. Singh was purportedly also in the running for the position of MD & CEO for the Zee-Sony merged entity, after Punit Goenka’s troubles with SEBI. But with the merger being called off, Singh’s successor will have to chart out a new strategy for Sony’s India business.

brand building

Joining the firm in 1999, as its Chief financial officer, Singh has been behind Sony’s biggest coups that have made it a brand streamed on the television sets of millions of Indians.

An alumnus of the Delhi School of Economics, Singh joined SET India in 1999. After his onboarding Sony, launched its second channel Sony Max, which broadcast Hindi movies and sporting events, and proved to be a massive success.

Singh has been associated with Sony for a better half of his career. He was elevated to the position of COO in 2004, a year before SET India Network bought SAB TV from Sri Adhikari Brothers and rebranded it as Sony SAB. In 2006 SET India launched the English movie channel Sony Pix. In December 2007, SET India was renamed Multi Screen Media and it was rebranded once again in December 2015 when the company came to be known in its current avatar of Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI).

A ‘heavyweight’

Veterans of the industry characterise him to be a media heavyweight. An executive told businessline on conditions of anonymity, “Singh is one of three titans that the Indian media industry has at the moment. The bench which is next in line will have big shoes to fill.”

NP Singh

NP Singh

In his statement to the media Singh noted, “Having reached many significant milestones with our team, I am now ready to focus on social change and shift from operational roles to advisory ones,” Singh’s statement said.

“However, my commitment to SPNI and its success remains strong. During my time here, we have established industry benchmarks, expanded our reach, and achieved many noteworthy accomplishments. I am dedicated to ensuring our legacy of success continues and grows under the new leadership,” he added further. 

Sony was the first to boast a strong portfolio in sports programming. Before the IPL craze hit fever pitch, the network forayed into sports in 2002 after acquiring the media rights for International Cricket Council (ICC) matches from 2002 to 2007. Sony also held the broadcast rights for the coveted Indian Premier League for 10 years starting 2008.

Sony acquired Kaun Banega Crorepati from Star Plus under Singh’s watch.

Anjan Mitra, former journalist and consultant for Asia Video Industry Association said: “NP is a great guy to work with. He came into the media scene when the sector was dominated by flamboyant executives like Peter Mukherjee, Subhash Chandra and Kunal Dasgupta were leading the media space. In contrast, NP has always been reserved and kept low profile. But it never got in the way of his effective leadership, especially in challenging times. Like any successful CEO, his will be big shoes to fill and might be overwhelming for the successor early on. But India has no dearth of talent; I think Sony will not have to look outside for his successor.”