Entrepreneurship means dedication, devotion, strain, and extreme hard work. It also means risk, rebellion and a start from scratch. Then why do people do it? Why do not only artists and musicians but also engineers, doctors and high profile managers leave a job that has made them a stable life and steer through the perilous waters of entrepreneurship?
Everything useless comes to purpose when you’re an entrepreneur, says Ms. Prashanti Mallisetti.
The story of Miss Prashanti Mallisetti seems to chart out an answer. Prashanti tells us about the joys of being raised in a joint family in Pithapuram, AP. She grew up watching the elders of the house running multiple businesses and meeting up to meet functional decisions. Later in her life, it would be their love, support, and validation that would see her through the various struggles of her venture. She grew up appreciating the simple pleasures of small town living and was brought up to learn in the realms of formal education and music.
She went on to pursue the later part of schooling in Chennai, completed bachelor’s in commerce from Madras University and MBA (distant education) at Symbiosis whilst working in Chennai.
After seven years of working in the banking sector, Prashanti decided to change the course of her career. “The job satisfied the professional in me and when I met the successful business owners for handling their accounts, I wanted that creative expression they shared towards their business for myself”, she said.
This creative zeal led to the start-up, ‘Pixel Pictures’. Mallisetti observed that the production houses in South India lacked a scale of structure and management.
She began volunteering for events to get a peek into the world. It was soon evident that though the audiences were entertained, production was still done from a traditional perspective. There was a large portion of mismanagement of talent and communication. She saw this gap and believed that there was great potential for the first-mover. She decided to leave behind corporate banking and structured a venture to better cater to the channels.
She started approaching production houses explaining how they could strike a difference. That didn’t go too well, as she was yet not equipped enough with practical knowledge of the working of the shows.
Prashanti decided to try again and try better. She visited the sets of ‘Deal or no Deal’ and ‘Luck unte Lakshmi’. As someone who did not come from a background of production, she realized she had a fresh perspective.
Shows come in different formats and genre and she chose gaming formats, targeting the South Indian audience. There had been very few gaming shows on regional television. The requirements and tastes from television shows were drastically different from other parts of the country.
Pixel was primarily founded in 2012 to bring international gaming formats to regional channels. Pixel Pictures made its premier mark in 2013 with the success of ‘SaReGaPa little champs’ for Zee TV.
While shows like JhalakDhiklaja and KaunBanegaCrorepatihad been airing on Hindi television for almost a decade, regional audiences were just warming up to it in 2012. The content of regional shows could not be similar to what was on Hindi TV. She decided to ‘nativize’ the show in her words. She cast local celebrities who were popular in the state for her shows.
The challenge to keep a good balance of entertainment and local connect factor is very crucial for the success of the show. Most pilots just remain unapproved by the production houses. Each rejection only highlights the pulse of the audience, and she takes it to come up with better products.
In a culture changing faster than ever, business has to keep up. Mallisetti remarks that the transition from normal to HD and eventually HD+ has been a challenge. It meant a change in everything from the kind of set design, makeup, costumes, new technicians who could handle both versions of programming and more.
The platforms also keep changing she notes. The audience is moving towards the mobile phone to view various programs on the internet. This calls for a certain temperament of adaptation and flexibility due to the changing appetite of the market.
Apart from her enterprise, it is the diligently selected team that works for Pixel Pictures. They keep the work environment casual and efficient.
Prashanti keeps it ideal about client acquisition and claims that Content has always been the engaging factor to both the channel houses and the audience. She emphasizes the importance of the show content as greater than the artists and underlines the ethical value of it.
Prashanti meets the uncertainties of the production life with zest. “The nice part about this field is that there are no two days alike”, she tells us. The busiest days are when there is a move between the channel houses and shoot locations. On such a day various meetings are concluded on conference calls during the commute time from one meeting to the other. The ‘technical test’ for the shoot are scheduled over the weekends.
Ms. Mallisetti urges us to attempt and voice our opinion even if they do not fall into convention or others conviction. She asks us to be brave. She voices the belief of many artists and writers when she emphasizes that the production is always bigger than the people behind it.
She thrives on challenges and claims that the bigger picture should always remain on focus and the short-term setbacks are a time to introspect and react than to stay passive. She harps on the importance of simplicity and persistence. She names Steve Jobs and Priyanka Chopra as figures of inspiration.
Her business philosophy is to be a good leader and bring value entertainment to the audience. Entrepreneurship gives us the chance to express our ‘self’ in a constructive progressive manner to the betterment of the society. Mallisetti seems to be achieving just that.