With the launch of TheQuint.com, a mobile news service, by Raghav Bahl’s new company, Quintillion Media Pvt. Ltd., we revisit Rahul Bhatia’s profile of Bahl and TV18 (a quintillion, incidentally, is 1018), ‘The Network Effect.’ In this extract, we take a look at Bahl’s earlier enterprises and the ambition behind them.
Raghav Bahl is a former management consultant who entered the media industry when he became a correspondent for Doordarshan in the 1980s, while he was still in his twenties. Soon, he was anchoring Newstrack, the monthly television newsmagazine made by Aroon Purie’s sister, Madhu Trehan. “He was a really dynamic young anchor then,” CB Arun Kumar, who met Bahl on the Newstrack sets in 1989, said. “He was full of good ideas. People were more into politics and general news, but he was into business.”
In 1991, Bahl joined Business India, a publishing house, to create a business version of Newstrack for television. The programme was called The Business India Show. They had produced exactly one edition when, on 21 May 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated. “You have to imagine how the whole country was in turmoil. It made a lot of business people very jittery. We put the programme on hold because we wanted to wait and see what would happen,” Arun Kumar said.