If we have to describe the year 2012 in a few words, we would call it the year of consolidations. We saw many media companies taking the consolidation route by way of acquisitions and alignments. From advertising big wig IPG Mediabrands to global media enterprise Walt Disney – we saw changes that defined the last year, and needless to say, changes that will shape 2013. Many important developments took place – effects of which will be seen in years to come. The year 2012 will be known as an important year in the history of Indian media, marketing and advertising business.
IPG Mediabrands made a big move last year and consolidated its operations with a single leader. Walt Disney, in a move to expand reach across key international markets, acquired controlling stake in UTV early in the year. We also witnessed PVR buying control of rival Cinemax India for Rs 3.95 billion.
Sony Pictures Television entered into a strategic alliance with Southern player Maa TV Network (MTN) to acquire a 30 per cent stake in the latter. Additionally, Sony Pictures increased its stake in MSM to expand its footprint and grab a share of the regional TV channels pie. Sony also augmented itself with its ‘One Sony’ strategy.
Another key development of the last year was the acquisition of NaiDunia by media conglomerate Jagran Prakashan. The company had revealed that the move was in line with its vision to strengthen its position in Central India.
Further, Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp got approval from the Competition Commission of India to acquire ESPN’s interest in Asian sports broadcasting joint venture company ESPN Star Sports (ESS), which eventually made ESS a 100 per cent STAR-owned entity in India.
Coming to advertising agencies that were newsmakers in 2012, in addition to the IPG move, we witnessed Dentsu takeover of Aegis brands in India. The Japanese advertising giant also brought 51 per cent stake in Indian independent Taproot.
With digital services fast becoming a ‘must-have’, we saw Leo Burnett acquiring Indigo Consulting in April. Additionally, WPP-owned JWT brought majority stake in digital major Hungama.
Publicis Groupe acquired digital marketing agency Indigo Consulting, which operates as a unit within the Leo Burnett Group in India. Also, BBH was 100 per cent owned by Publicis Groupe this year.
Rise of the independents
Buoyed by the success of creative independent agencies such as Taproot (now bought over by Dentsu), Creativeland Asia and Scarecrow Communications in the last few years, 2012 saw the emergence of almost 13 new advertising players.
We saw Prathap Suthan, former National Creative Director of Cheil Worldwide Southwest Asia, announce agency ‘Bang in the Middle’, KB Vinod, former Creative Head of Mudra West launched ‘The Company’.
To name a few more, Gullu Sen and Rajesh Aggarwal launched ‘From Here On’, Sanjay Sharma and Anil Verma’s venture ‘Yang’ was announced, Nirmal Pulickal’s ‘February’ was launched, Karunendra Mathur announced ‘The Page’ and Aatanu Chakraborty’s launched ‘Kettle Communication’.
Collaboration for more strength
Media companies in India were on the aggressive last year. In a first-of-its-kind approach, we saw different networks joining hands in a unique way to strengthen reach, share content and aggregate audiences – the emergence of simulcast.
First done by hugely popular show ‘Satyamev Jayate’, this strategy was widely accepted and emulated. Star TV’s SMJ created a buzz with its nine-channel simulcast and associating with competing channels. It joined hands with Viacom18 and Doordarshan for the same. ‘Sur-Kshetra’ followed its footsteps and the show was simulcast on multiple networks across three channels, namely, Colors, Sahara One and Pakistan’s Geo TV.
Zee’s Ramayan and MTV’s Coke Studio were simulcast on Doordarshan. MTV Unplugged joined the bandwagon with the second season of the show simulcast across Colors and Colors HD.
Aggression and collaboration define 2012 in India
Whether it was STAR’s Rs 4,000-crore deal to acquire BCCI cricket rights or Zee TV’s decision of focussing on digital and going global after completion of 20 years, being aggressive was the key trait of media companies in India – a trait that is only going to intensify in 2013.
We can sum up the year that was in three powerful words – consolidation, collaboration and competition. We saw a metamorphosis in media landscape in India last year. We say numerous actions being taken by the industry in 2012; we will see the effects, or rather, results of the same in this year. 2013 will undoubtedly be a big year for the media, marketing and advertising industry.