Week at a glance: Publicis-Ambuja break-up; DAN acquires Sokrati...

The week (July 24-29) started with the news of Ambuja Cement and its creative partner Publicis Ambience deciding to mutually part ways. This mutual decision marks the end of a relationship of almost four years in July this year between Publicis Ambience and Ambuja Cement. Srija Chatterjee, Managing Director, Publicis India, admitted that there were differences in the vision for the brand and the category, while Vivek Deshpande, Head of Brand and Marketing Strategy, Ambuja Cement, said, “We have mutually agreed to part ways to explore a different approach to branding.” 

Publicis Ambience & Ambuja Cement end 4-year association

In yet another acquisition, Dentsu Aegis Network announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sokrati, India’s leading data-driven performance marketing and analytics agency, launching Merkle in the country – the first launch of the global data-driven performance marketing agency in the Asia Pacific region. Post-acquisition, Sokrati will be rebranded as Merkle Sokrati, further scaling Dentsu Aegis India’s data and performance marketing offering. 

The co-founders of Sokrati – Ashish Mehta (CEO), Anubhav Sonthalia (Enterprise Business Head), and Santosh Kumar Gannavarapu (Head of Innovations), will be joining the Dentsu Aegis Network leadership team in India. Anubhav Sonthalia will be the CEO of Merkle Sokrati and report to Vivek Bhargava, CEO, Performance, Dentsu Aegis Network India, and Zhengda Shen, President of Merkle Asia Pacific. 

DAN launches Merkle in India, acquires analytics agency Sokrati

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) also announced that it has acquired 100 per cent stake in India Webportal Pvt Ltd (IWPL), completing the acquisition of its subsidiary. The company has completed the requisite formalities and has acquired the balance 49 per cent equity stake in IWPL comprising 12,20,10,000 equity shares of Rs 10 each. 

Meanwhile, ZEEL reported consolidated revenue of Rs 15,403 million for the first quarter ended June 30, 2017, recording a decline of 2.0 per cent on YoY basis. EBITDA for Q1 FY2018 stood at Rs 4,844 million, registering a growth of 6.9 per cent over Q1 FY17. EBITDA margin stood at 31.4 per cent. Profit After Tax (PAT) for the quarter grew by 16.0 per cent over Q1FY17 to Rs 2,516 million. PAT margin was at 16.3 per cent. 

ZEEL acquires 100% stake in India Webportal

ZEEL’s Q1 FY18 revenues dip 2%; net profit up 16% at Rs 2,516 mn

Changes are afoot in NDTV’s newsroom, which is in revamp mode. The media organisation is increasing its focus on mobile journalism in a bid to cut costs and further streamline its operations. 

NDTV revamps its newsroom, signals switch to mobile journalism

Yatra Online, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement, through its subsidiary, Yatra Online Pvt Ltd, under which it will acquire Air Travel Bureau, touted as India’s largest independent corporate travel services provider with gross bookings of Rs 15 billion generated through a diverse client base of over 400 large and medium sized businesses across India. 

Yatra acquires corporate travel services provider Air Travel Bureau

Continuing with its strong new business momentum, Cheil India has been appointed the digital Agency on Record for Signutra and Groviva brands. The mandate was won following a multi-agency pitch. Modi-Mundipharma has partnered with Signutra Inc., a US-based Health and Nutrition company, to launch a range of products in the field of medical nutrition. Initially, three products – Groviva, Maxvida and Vidavance in Child, Adult and Diabetic segments, respectively, have been launched in South India and will be launching pan India soon. 

Cheil India appointed as Digital AoR for Signutra & Groviva brands

Bang in the Middle has bagged the creative and digital mandates for UP Yoddha, the new team in Pro Kabaddi League Season 5. The team is a part of GMR sports. The agency will be responsible for the launch and creating fandom across communication mediums. 

Bang in the Middle bags mandate for Pro Kabaddi team UP Yoddha

In our Guest Article this week, Mitchelle Carvalho, Co-founder & CEO, CogMat Digital Marketing Agency, takes a look at the growing band of new age brand ambassadors – the ‘Online Influencers’. These influencers are people from everyday walks of life; people in varied set of jobs, with strong opinions who have through talking about their passions and interests gathered themselves fans and sometimes cult following online. 

Influencer marketers – The new age brand ambassadors: Mitchelle Carvalho

Devendra Chawla, who recently quit as CEO, Future Consumer and Group President - Food, FMCG, Brands at Future Group, has joined Walmart India as COO. The appointment is in sync with the company’s plan to set up 50 new stores across India over the next 3-4 years. 

Future Group’s Devendra Chawla joins Walmart India as COO

ZEEL has appointed Bharat Kedia as Chief Financial Officer of the company. He will replace Mihir Modi, who will be moving to a new role in ZEEL. Kedia joins in from Parag Milk Foods, where he has been CFO. 

ZEEL ropes in Bharat Kedia as CFO to take charge from Mihir Modi

Ashu Phakey has been elevated to the position of COO of HT English. Prior to this promotion, Phakey was Business Head, HT Delhi. The announcement comes close on the heels of Sarabjit Singh Khurana’s appointment as Chief Revenue Officer of HT English. 

HT Media promotes Ashu Phakey as COO – HT English


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