Let’s talk with Habibullah Dadabhoy..

Habibullah Dadabhoy is founder and Vice Chairman of DBTV. He studied Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the University of Warwick in 2012. Through the research work, he learnt how to establish a risk free social enterprise in Pakistan’s education sector. He is also the graduate of University of Northampton and studied business management. He also served as Director of Center for Peace, Security and Developmental Studies from 2014 to present.

Tell us about your business portfolios.

Business has predominantly been real estate building and development, however in recent past we have diversified into the fields of logistics, tech start ups and media.

Where did the idea for DBTV come from? What inspired you to start your own web TV?

The world is moving towards a different information and content consumption pattern with examples such as Netflix disrupting the market. So a medium which kept the current tech advancements and consumer behaviors in mind led to web and digital being the mediums of our channel.

Why did you take the decision to start DBTV and not just another music or entertainment channel?

I believe there were gaps in the particular domain of news and current affairs, a large part of the audience in Pakistan only had the option of a hand full of satellite channels and few individuals were dominating the information space. Web TV is the new digital space that is open to not just the audience but also content and program creators. Besides we felt it important for the youth to get a new perspective on issues of news and current affairs.

When did you realise you wanted to start DBTV?

The Idea to start Pakistan’s first digital tv channel “Digital Broadcasting TV (DBTV)” came in December 2017. I realized that Pakistan is currently is facing a youth bulge which is not only devoid of entertainment but is also having a hard time differentiating between facts and fiction.

Why did you focus on this initiative? What is your relation to that? Why does it motivate you?

I believe this initiative will not just be sustainable and viable going forward, but it also provides an opportunity to empower the people around it, be it our audience who get a new fresh and different perspective than the traditional media or be it our producers who get to present facts and events with editorial freedom. The best part is that this space is continuously evolving and one must keep up the pace to match the change that is happening everyday. This is a two way communication channel and if the audience doesn’t like a show you will know and have to adapt unlike the satellite transmission where there is the one size fits all model.

What are the current revenue streams of DBTV? Is it sustainable?

There are multiple revenue streams available for any digital media outlet which includes:

  • Advertisements
  • Digital Media Marketing
  • DB Production Services
  • Monetization from AdSense & Facebook

However, we are still experimenting with new shows and ways to present our content so focus right now is to hit the right formula.

What are the opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs exist in web TV industry?

I believe the biggest one is that there are no barriers to entry unlike in traditional media. If they have self believe and the audience likes them all they need is will and a mobile phone camera.

What are your future goals for DBTV?

I know that sharing knowledge and transparency will enhance the credibility of DBTV’s journalism values. Therefore, DBTV plans to train more than 10,000 journalists in the coming year. With the switch to digital transformation of media, DBTV. Live endeavors to induct citizens of Pakistan in a new domain of Media Entrepreneurship (a.k.a Mediapreneurship) as a part of our Corporate strategy. In our first round we are engaging the youth between the ages of 18- 26 years who are currently enrolled in Higher Education in Pakistan. The vital objective is to conduct these training for the university students who are graduating with degrees in Mass com & Journalism, however students from other disciplines are always interested in learning this new skill and they have been facilitated at our studio.Mobile Journalism (MOJO) will enable students to work on their own, while students can enjoy creativity and ease of capturing being their own boss. Learning Mobile Journalism using the simplest equipment and delivering the task with minimum resources at the shortest possible time will make the MOJO practitioners the leading human resource for media industry in the coming days.

Why do you think there are so few web TVS in Pakistan?

Simply because people resist acceptance of change, I think the bird is out of the cage and it’s only a matter of time when all media outlets realize the content consumption has moved to digital landscape and that’s where the next battle of channels will be.

What is more important when launching a web tv, “Professional skills” or “Entrepreneurial spirit”?

I think both, but more important is that these two, passion and belief are the aspects that play a very important role. People might not be as encouraging but one must also be persistent.

How do you achieve work-life balance?

Oh.. I’m still struggling with this one haha.. I think it’s very very important to have work life balance and for that one must prioritize and draw lines not to cross, however when an entrepreneur is very passionate about his work, it sometimes gets in the way of having that balance.

So, how do you deal with uncertainty, doubts and fears?

By going back to why I started, the end goal, always must keep the destination in mind and realign when doubts and fears come. They always come but one must be certain of the end result and be persistent.

Who is your role model, and why?

I think somewhere deep down everyone idealizes their parents and guardians and I too have grown up seeing my father not only achieved so many milestones but also be so humble and had abilities to deal with challenging situations with poise and composure.

What have been the major obstacles and how did you overcome them?

Having moved abroad for my undergrad and post grad education and living and working with people there, the biggest challenge I faced upon return was difference in work culture and resistance to change. People generally do not accept change here, until its too late. I’ve found the best way to overcome these or any other obstacles has been to be persistent, as long as it doesn’t clash with your priorities you must keep knocking on the door and eventually it will open.

What has been your biggest achievement so far as an entrepreneur?

I think diversification, when I joined family business after completing my studies we were majorly venturing into real estate and academics, however in my 4 years since joining we have ventured into
logistics, tech start ups, media and are planning to enter health care in the near future.

What is your opinion about a TEAM? Do you work well on your own or do you work better with a team of others?

I believe team is the most important aspect and key to success for any business. As an individual I always like my own space to myself however a skilled and motivated team can not only execute the vision efficiently but also bring value in areas you overlook from time to time.

In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?

I think we have had our share of testing and putting different content presentations to test, this year going forward we would like to focus on our maximum reach and creating a network of journalists, students and reporters to provide us with the unique and decent content from all across the country.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a web TV, what would it be?

Just go for it, I don’t think the world has decoded what would work for sure on this medium. Sometimes things that you completely disregard get great appreciation from the audience and vice versa. Number two is to be patient and be flexible in the approach. This is an ever evolving medium and one must keep learning and adopting every day to become and stay successful in the profession.

Final Message?

I think for all entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, a lot of barriers and fears are self created in the mind, if you really believe you are an entrepreneur and want to be one, you have to take the plunge, you have to take risk, not gamble but researched and calculated risks. All entrepreneurs must be prepared for failure, multiple failures, lessons and then success. The most successful businessmen today have a list of failures behind them, there is immense struggle involved but in the end you must know your end goal and why you began, if that’s strong you will forever be motivated and like I said earlier also keep knocking and the door will eventually open.

Lighter Side..

My favourite quote is: “Take only what you need, the rest is only a burden.”
Hazrat Ali Ibne Abi Talib

I am energized by: a motivated and satisfied team that lifts my spirit as well. I recommend reading: 40 rules of love by Elif Shafaq

My biggest Disappointment: If given another chance, I would study completely different subjects and university.


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