When Vats took over the reins in 2012, Viacom was a six-channel network. Today, it has grown into 46 channels with a huge regional presence.

Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom 18 (Photograph by Rachit Goswami) Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom 18 (Photograph by Rachit Goswami)

Q. The biggest challenge you faced in your career

A. Our film business started in 2011 but did not do well for two-three years. So, we refined our slate and entered the projects at the storyboard stage. We also brought back the marketing investment concept and made it more targeted to measure a film's performance. We now try and predict the first weekend of our film and all our marketing is geared towards the targeted weekend. We have become profitable over the past three years. In fact, this business is helping the overall Viacom 18 portfolio deliver robust growth when the ad environment is tight.

Q. Your best teacher in business

A. The person who has influenced me most is former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. In his book titled The Wings of Fire, there is a quote that I often share with people: If you learn to leave your mark on the sands of time, then don't drag your feet. You have to take a decision, take risks and move ahead.

Q. Two management lessons for young people

A. Have the patience and the ability to drill down. Roll up your sleeves and dirty your hands and dig it out for a little while. Hopping from one place to another very quickly may not be a great thing. It is important to dig your heels in something you want to do. Second, follow your heart, discover what you are good at and stick to it for a while. Do not let opportunities distract you.

Q. Two essential qualities a leader must have

A. The foremost is authenticity and the second is responsibility. If you are a leader, you have to be responsible for all your actions. Many times, these actions may have been carried out by your team on your behalf. But the responsibility rests with you.