Seven years ago, a life-changing opportunity to work for Walt Disney came the way of television executive Raymund Miranda. He bought a fax machine (the first time he made such a purchase), polished his curriculum vitae and forwarded it to Disney Hong Kong in no time.
Raymund, who at that time had a stable career as VP for creative services in GMA-7, never thought such a move would make him the managing director of Walt Disney International and Walt Disney International TV for Southeast Asia and Korea.
"I saw the position (Walt Disney head of operations in the Philippines) and got interested in it," continues this former UP Biology student who shifted to Broadcast Communications in his senior year to follow his heart.
In two months, Raymund made it to the interview process. Disney called him for a phone interview after two weeks. Three days later, he received another call informing him that the managing director was flying over to Manila (at the Makati Shangri-La) to meet him for another interview.
"After that meeting, I told myself, `I blew it. I won't hear from them.," relates Raymund. "Days after, they asked me to fly over Hong Kong. I flew in the morning. I had five interviews and flew back in the evening. It leaked to a local paper that I was moving to Disney. I reacted, `No, I haven't been accepted.' I had to call Disney Hong Kong telling them that I had nothing to do with the (news item). They told me it was good to know that I was well-regarded in the industry."
After that "whirlwind romance" and the news that almost swept him off his feet, Raymund finally got the job and joined the ranks of the select group of Filipinos hired by Walt Disney.
Fast-forward to the present, Raymund is now a honcho at Disney TV for Southeast Asia and Korea. He oversees the Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney Channel and its free TV blocks like Disney Adventures (Philippines) and Disney Clubs for Southeast Asia, Korea, plus some parts of the Pacific like Palau.
Raymund, now based in Singapore with his family, works with Disney's creative services and regional groups. He also reports to bosses and makes sure that the channel does well in the ratings game, communicating with and remaining relevant to its audience. He does negotiations and looks into the business. He also thinks of new ways of making the business grow.
Although he is the brains behind every Herculean task inherent to his post, Raymund knows where he really gets most of his strength.
"I rely on people I work with," says Raymund. "I hire professionals who are the best in their fields in order to do the job. I've always thought that (part of) my job was to tap the best people possible and give them clear directions. I also keep on raising the bar for them. If I hired people who were not as good as me, I will wind up doing the job." Thus, Raymund is confident in every step he takes for the Disney Channel.
Raymund's toughness and strength mirror the industry he is in. "Our audience is moving fast," says Raymund of paid TV markets. "Kids grow very fast. Families and TV are under a lot of competitive pressures like movies, home videos, DVDs, Internet,
SMS-ing, friends, iPods. Anything that keeps one`' away from enjoying the experience (watching TV) is a competitive threat."
Raymund says he owes his triumphs to years of hard work and professional growth in TV from the late '80s to the mid-'90s. Raymund started out as production manager in GMA where he handled and produced shows like Lunch Date, Firing Line with the late Teddy Benigno and Oscar Orbos, Business Today with Mon Isberto and Karen Davila, and Viewpoint. He also did post-production work (Alta Productions), marketing, merchandising and promos.
Given such career opportunities and barely a decade in the free TV industry, what made him decide to cross over? "It was a career move," Raymund replies. "How could one resist the opportunity to work for Disney? It was a difficult decision for me to make. I had grown very close to GMA. It was scary because it was a brand new world. I was in a free TV terrestrial and I'm now in paid TV: I had to learn the ropes. Paid TV is more niche. If you can't watch it on this time, you can still watch it on another time."
Under his wing, the first regional feed of Disney Channel Asia was launched in 1996. (Before that, the channel was country specific.) In the next five years, it reached out to other regional markets and today has 11 markets to be proud of. Another TV innovation,a team that deals with Playhouse Disney Channel, was introduced to Southeast Asian and Korean markets last year. The channel was created for pre-schoolers who make up a large chunk of Disney's market. Viewers of Disney are not only kids and teens, but also families. With these milestones, the Disney Channel has become a leader in its league with increasing subscribers, ratings and revenue.
In 2003, Legends of the Ring of Fire, the channel's first animated TV presentation, won two golds at PROMAX International New York.
Being someone who never rests on his laurels, Ravmund dreams of bigger things and new heights to reach.
For Disney, more channels, local productions and bigger marketing stunts to launch. Being able to do all of that and having time for more important things like my family, that's a big achievement to me.
"The measure of success," ends Raymund, "is what people see in my kids."