Personality Profile: Yasir Bokhari, Ex-Club Asia

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In BizAsia.co.uk’s new feature, we profile Yasir Bokhari, who was a part of Club Asia’s original team for five years before being taken over by Sunrise Radio. We find out more about his views on the current TV and radio climate and his future plans…

My background
I�۪m a ‘leaper’ born in Germany where I lived for few years before my family decided to move to a small town in France, Orl̩ans. I grew up and graduated in France where my family still resides.

Currently
For the past 18 months I have been working as a Business Development Director for NRS Media, a global media marketing consultancy that develops and operates innovative solutions to assist media companies increase advertising revenues. I have expanded the company�۪s operations in the UK, Ireland, Eastern Europe and launching in France this week.

Professional career
My media career started in 1999 when I moved to Norway, working for Telenor as a Project Manager. I helped launch a new satellite bouquet, ColorSat, targeting Eastern European and Asian TV stations.

In 2001, I moved to London and started working for BBC Worldwide as a Sales Manager, selling EPG solutions to broadcasters in Europe. I was made redundant in 2003. Probably the best thing that happened to me on a professional level as I was about to enter the fun and exciting world of radio.

I was part of the team that launched Club Asia Radio in London where I headed the Sales and Marketing department for over 5 years.

Thoughts on Asian Media:
TV
It is a segmented and a fragmented market. if you are not the Star TV, ZEE TV or Sony TV of this world, it�۪s a tough business to be in. We will see more and more Asian TV stations appear and disappear. Purely because they can�۪t afford to sustain the cost of running the TV station. Music TV and shopping TV stations are the cheapest to run, even then you still looking at �40k per month going out and that�۪s without any labour cost. In order to survive, either this TV stations needs to group together, and this is exactly what VIEWASIA are doing at the moment but only the future will tell us if this strategy has been successful or you need to have very deep pockets and hope for a better future. As we all know, hope is not a strategy.

There is a bright future for TV stations like Brit Asia, even though it�۪s not the end product as yet but it has huge potential and a massive crossover appeal. Most of the programmes are locally produced for a British Asian audience. If other Asian TV stations don�۪t realise the potential of this audience, they might not have a business in the next decade.

Radio
From a business point of view, I believe there is only one successful organisation which has grown over the years ��� the Litt family. However, I do feel there is huge room for improvement for delivering quality programming. We will see more community radio stations appear as there are only a limited number of commercial licences available in the UK, this will again segment the market place.

I was sad to see Club Asia Radio go into administration after I left. Buzz Asia is not the same as Club Asia, poor programming, poor content delivery and lack of connection with audience is reflected in their RAJAR figures.

With regards to the BBC Asian Network, it�۪s a shame that the corporation have suggested to shut it down due to poor RAJAR figures and high cost per listener. I don�۪t agree with this decision as I believe there is enough talent out there that could have easily changed the fortunes of this radio station and still can. The senior management are the real problem, they are the ones in charge of strategies, content, delivery and marketing. They should have paid for the failures not the listeners.

There is a saying ‘You don�۪t change a winning team’ but you do when you have a poor team and the Corporation has failed to identify the root of the real problem.

Print
To be honest, print has been the worst hit from a revenue point of view in the last 2 years. Especially with the development of technology and the internet. I can�۪t see Asian newspapers and magazines surviving on the long term. I would strongly recommend not to invest in print even though it�۪s the oldest medium. Poor and old content make it into an unattractive proposition. Why buy a newspaper or a magazine when you can get most of the content for free online.

Future
I still believe traditional media such as TV and radio are here for the long term but we will see a huge boom in broadband TV and online radio in the coming years. We are living in the Digital Age, everything is moving at an incredible speed, if Asian media organisation don�۪t jump on the digital bandwagon now there might not be another train.

Yasir Bokhari will be launching NRS Media in France at the ‘Le Radio Salon’ Paris, Porte de Versailles, 19th, 20th, 21st October. For more information on the event, you can visit http://www.le-radio.com/

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