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Publicis Omnicom Group is a merger of 'unequals': Sir Martin Sorrell

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Publicis Omnicom Group is a merger of 'unequals': Sir Martin Sorrell

The challenges of the changing media, marketing and communication landscape came under some intense scrutiny when some of the brightest minds in the advertising and media industry sat together to discuss the scenario at the 10th edition of  exchange4media Conclave, presented by NewsX.

The Conclave was held in New Delhi on September 11, 2013.

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO, WPP shared views on one of the biggest mergers in the advertising industry. He also threw light on the criticality of social responsibility and its role in effective brand building.

Commenting on the recent merger of Publicis and Omnicom, the WPP Chief called it a merger of ‘unequals’, According to him, such mergers don’t work in the long-term.

Elaborating further, he said that an organisational structure, where there is a co-chairman or rotating chairman, won’t last.

Sam Balsara, Chairman, Madison World also pointed out that there is a wide difference in profitability between Publicis and Omnicom.

Speaking on the publishing side of the business, R Sukumar, Editor, Mint wondered whether large legacy media companies are growing fast enough.

Aroon Purie, Editor-in-Chief, India Today remarked that legacy business is the cash cow, but the challenge is how to keep the current business going. He said, “We believe in synergy and convergence. People who produce valuable content will thrive.” According to Purie, in today’s media landscape, multi-tasking and development of multiple skill-sets has become crucial for the work force. He said, “Journalists today have to be prepared to work across platforms – be it television, print or the web.”

When Sukumar raised the point of paid content, Purie remarked, “My ideal situation is that it should be like iTunes, a platform where all the information and news is available and people pay to access only what they like.” He further said that in India, media is a very fragmented lot and hence, consolidation is the need of the hour.

Meanwhile, Sukumar remarked that given the digital prognosis for India, the medium is surprisingly still an insignificant part of the spends. 

Balsara had a different point of view on the growth of digital in the country. He said, “This year, we expect digital to grow at around 30 per cent. It is growing very aggressively as compared to print and television media. In fact, today digital is larger than outdoor and cinema.” 

Agreeing with him, Purie said that digital will grow at a much faster rate. Increasing access to the internet and people consuming more and more content on the web will bolster the growth of digital, he said. 

Sorrell mentioned that a discussion on media, marketing and communication cannot be complete without emphasising the critical need for Corporate Social Responsibility. He said he was glad with the growing acceptance of CSR amongst companies. “CSR is not just an added function of an organisation; it is an indispensible part that plays a significant role in brand building,” he concluded.

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