In a journey there are moments when one should pause to celebrate the accomplishmentsand failures. Standing on the cusp of a spectacular twenty-five-year journey is certainlyone such moment. We have achieved several milestones along the way and as we celebratethese milestones it is an appropriate time to reflect on the past and gear up for thefuture.
Looking back at our 25-year journey I can relate to the maxim 'Good things don't comeeasy.' We have had our share of trials and tribulations throughout which made the journeyexhilarating. Starting with the long- winded process of leasing a transponder for thelaunch of our first channel to constantly contending with peers with immense financialresources there has seldom been a day without a challenge. However each impediment madeus even more determined to succeed. On 2nd October 1992 when we uplinkedcontent to satellite from Hong Kong marking the birth of ZEEL and private broadcasting inIndia little did we know that 25 years later we would have grown into a multi-facetedglobal entertainment content company.
From struggling to produce two hours of content in the initial days to shaping themedia and entertainment (M&E) landscape of the country our growth story is truly aremarkable one. At ZEEL we have been on a continuous
path of evolution to create rich and engaging content in twenty-one languages for our1.3 billion strong audience around the world. However our story would be remiss withoutacknowledging the vital role played by the other stakeholders in our success. We would nothave been able to create the impact we did without the invaluable contributions of ouremployees creative partners distributors peers shareholders and countless others whohave worked behind the scenes. We firmly believe that when we collaborate with each otherour individual strengths get amplified to become greater than the sum of its parts. Ournew ideology of 'Extraordinary Together' subsumes our longstanding philosophy of ' VasudhaivaKutumbakam - the world is one family' and celebrates this journey of collaboratingwith our partners within and outside to create and deliver extraordinary entertainment.
The year 1992 was also a momentous year for the country being the first year whenIndia fully embraced liberalised markets. Liberalisation acted as a catalyst forenterprising Indians allowing them to unleash their potential. Ours is one such story.Since then the unstoppable entrepreneurial spirit of Indians has taken the economy aswell as the M&E industry to heights that were hitherto unimaginable. Over this periodthe Indian economy has grown ten-fold to become worth $3 trillion. Similarly televisionhouseholds have multiplied by six times FM radio has reached more than ninety cities themovie industry has grown manifold in size and now digital content consumption hasexploded. With tax reform measures investments in infrastructure development andincreasing ease of doing business the pace of economic growth will only accelerate. Webelieve that this will have a multiplier effect on the growth of Indian M&E industryas well.
It amazes me to see how the entertainment industry has changed year after year.
Before private broadcasting the only option consumers had was the state-ownedtelevision which was primarily an infotainment medium. However the aspiring audiencesought better quality and variety of entertainment and we stepped up to address thisneed. Since then there has been no looking back. Our expansion into genres formats andplatforms will continue with content as the cornerstone of our strategy. While viewingpreferences may evolve or new platforms for consumption may emerge our commitment towardscreating extraordinary content is eternal.
Content innovation has been the norm in entertainment but technology is adding a newdimension to the consumer experience. The future of entertainment holds extraordinarypossibilities to create immersive experiences for every individual with the help oftechnology. The launch of ZEE5 is an important step in this direction. It has been builtwith a singleminded focus to cater to the varied needs of all audience segments withfeatures that enrich the viewing experience. We are confident that it will significantlyimprove our competitive edge on the digital front.
It is heartening to see that our television network is the number one in thetwenty-fifth year of operations. It is a testament to the efforts of everyone who hasworked towards making our network the first choice of the consumers. Our internationalbusiness has continued to expand its reach and consolidate its position. We are alsopleased with the progress of Zee Studios and Zee Music Company. Within a short timeframeboth these brands have marked their presence withstanding the challenge from establishedplayers. Zee Live the youngest member of our family continues to ramp up its operationsadding another touchpoint for consumers. In the first half the industry growth wasnegatively affected due to some macroeconomic factors. However one may not realise thatlooking at our performance. Our strategy continues to deliver long-term success which isreflected in 13% revenue CAGR and 17% EBITDA CAGR over the last five years.
We believe that our robust value system is the invisible force driving the strongoperating and financial performance. It provides a solid foundation for success in theever-changing environment. While our 'Customer First' approach helps us anticipate andcater to needs of all our stakeholders in the best possible fashion our pursuit of 'BigHairy Audacious Goals' ensures that we never settle for anything less than theextraordinary. While we dream big we also know that to truly succeed we must 'BeFrugal.' This guiding principle helps us make the most of our resources while deliveringtop-notch entertainment with 'Speed & Agility.' Our growth hinges on the ability to besensitive to continuous changes and steer our path accordingly.
At ZEEL everyone is encouraged to 'Solve Big Problems' in order to achieve their truepotential. Furthermore we have a culture that promotes Accountability for Results'driving the entrepreneurial spirit. We believe that being humble about our successes andfailures is what helps us constantly improve and raise the bar. Today with over 3000employees 'Respect Humility and Integrity' are fundamental to what we do. It isextremely important for each of us to honour being fair transparent and ethical in ourconduct.
Our philosophy of 'Extraordinary Together is not only about the way we approachour business but also encompasses the society.
Our quest to contribute towards a better society starts with creating content thatinspires motivates and challenges the status-quo. Through our content we have been ableto shine the spotlight on issues that matter. While our entertainment content bringspeople together in a special way our CSR initiatives aim at bringing positive changes inpeoples' lives. We hope to make a positive impact so that we can live in a society whereeveryone has equal opportunities.
Once again I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who has played a pivotalrole in helping us get this far. With a renewed faith and sense of purpose we make ourway towards the future. As we write the first chapter of this new era our dream is to be ExtraordinaryTogether.
Dr. Subhash Chandra.