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Krishnendu Sen

Chairman | 21 Sep 2010

“Katha was associated with companies who brought in the LED and scrollers at multiple locations. Katha has brought in one of the largest wall wrap in Asia at Sahara Star Hotel. Katha has gone one step ahead and explored the new approach to make outdoor advertising and branding more scenic and audible within a five star property. Recently we have acquired contract for Sahara Star Hotel where we have identified unique places for advertising and branding in the luxury five star hotel.And the story will continue.”

After his graduation in 1976, in Political Science, Sen immediately joined, Peerless General Finance & Investment Company Limited as a field officer on commission basis. Then after, he started his own Media Buying Outdoor Advertising Agency, Katha Mediatix India Limited, the first of its kind in India. From the first Clients being SBI & Air India to moving on to having the biggest successful ad campaigns of the country for clients like Zee TV, ABCL, Sony Television, Nokia, Tommy Hilfiger, Star Plus; to the most remembered campaigns of the Sahara Group of Companies like Sahara One, Aamby Valley, Air Sahara and to the latest one of Sahara Star Hotel, with his vision and dedication, the company’s only seen the rising sun. To take the company global in the year 2009, he begun a fully operational base in London, UK named Katha London Advertising Agency. Now the company has its offices in more than 28 cities in India and 3 offices abroad, in London, Dubai and New York. The company plans to build up hoardings in more than 300 cities within the next two years. This year, having the biggest MNC’s and Clients with his Agency, one can vouch that their company’s watching the Sun at zenith and especially owing to Mr. Sen, it always will. The company moved on from being the Outdoor Agency to a 360 degree agency doing work in Television, Radio, Print, Events, BTL activities and Corporate Gifting. Established in1986 as a media buying service and a specialist in out-of –home Media, ‘Katha’ has lucratively branched out into various forms of media and production over the years. Katha's peculiarity is triggering, developing and maintaining an enduring relationship with their clients as well as vendors.6 branches, 30 representative officers in India and 3 overseas is the upshot of our growing and winning streak.

For further details visit: www. kathagroup.com

Q. How has the journey been for Katha Mediatix Limited in India?

Katha Mediatix India Limited was started in the year 1986 and these 24 years have been a great journey for us. We started at the time when the billboards were known as hoardings and there was no flex or vinyl just painting on hoardings. Those days creating an image was quite difficult and hence the choice of outdoor was less by the client. We brought a change in the industry by being the first ones to start an Outdoor Media Buying agency and today every big agency has a media buying arm. We have learned many things in this journey while getting associated and using the latest technologies. The late 1990’s saw the existence of flex and vinyl, and by early 2000 innovation in Outdoor in India had begun. We started with combining multiple hoardings into one to make it look like one large hoarding space. We were associated in bringing in the scrollers and LED screens across VT and Churchgate stations. Katha moving forward today has Asia’s one of the largest wall wraps on Sahara Star, Mumbai. We have a new strategy in place which is to own outdoor properties across India. Katha is entering into various markets of India. With the best clientele associated with Katha, we believe our journey has just begun.

Q. How is the Indian OOH media different from the western world?

Outdoor advertising has a whole lot of meaning then just billboards. The biggest difference of India and western world is the development of infrastructure. The meaning and beauty of out of home advertising is what you see there and love. Outdoor is the most important and promising medium of advertising a brand and most needed. Innovation in outdoor in western world is high, the properties are made to look more beautiful then the ugly iron structures. The street furniture and digital outdoor is far more advanced than our market. Even the public transport which we use is lacking the spark and the beauty of that market.

We have clustered hoardings and forgotten its importance of visibility. The clients are almost the same in both the worlds but then to we are lacking and just started to adopt. Today India is also progressing into innovative mediums with street furniture and digital outdoor coming into India. As per the new government guidelines even we need to make the structures beautiful. India is a developing country and with all the development in infrastructure even OOH will not be behind the western world for long.

Q. What are the technological advances that the medium is witnessing today?

The technological advances are happening in the digital outdoor medium where outdoor is no more stagnant, one can play the whole commercial on the outdoor display, street furniture – the new bus shelters and public utilities are much more classy and beautiful, Bangalore has already experienced the new AC bus shelters, the new public transport – with Volvos and Mercedes coming in as the new buses and taxis; this medium has beautiful areas to be advertised, Scrollers – technology makes improvement and where earlier only one ad could be displayed due to scrollers multiple ads can be advertised.

Q. What kind of innovations in terms of outdoor formats did you bring into this sector?

In the year 1999 we had clubbed 4 hoardings sized 40x20 to make it 80x80 one ad space for our client Sahara TV.

Katha was associated with companies who brought in the LED and scrollers at multiple locations. Katha has brought in one of the largest wall wrap in Asia at Sahara Star Hotel. Katha has gone one step ahead and explored the new approach to make outdoor advertising and branding more scenic and audible within a five star property. Recently we have acquired contract for Sahara Star Hotel where we have identified unique places for advertising and branding in the luxury five star hotel.

And the story will continue.

Q. What are the major changes taking place in the outdoor space currently?

There are changes taking place every month. Today we have a range of media available e.g. transit advertising, mobile bill boards, traffic signals, bus stops, railway stations, airport, flyovers, malls, traffic, barriers.

Q. Explain about Radio and TV advertising expertise? What kind of innovations you doing around that?

Katha Mediatix provides the ability to showcase the brand / product via the medium of radio by efficiently targeting narrowly-defined segments of the market. By geographical distribution, it ensures that your campaign is produced at a low cost and penetration is commendable. Our expertise and ever growing partnership with various channels across India (Star network, ZEE network, Sony network, Sahara network, etc.) provides contemplation to your campaigns about cities or markets where the ads needs to be broadcasted, time duration, expected air dates, number of subscribers, slots

Q. What is your view on advertising in radio cabs?

Radio cabs market in India is expected to double every year for the next two year and revenues are generated majorly from fare and through advertising & branding options. Advertisement done over the period of time would result in to a high recall value. Cab advertising has got good potential in metro cities and it's an effective medium.

Q. Which are the new clients which you bagged in 2010?

Currently we are handling OOH accounts for Aamby Valley, Sahara Star, ICEX, MCX, Essar Group, Gujarat Cement, Mainland China, UB Group. For all the major clients we currently look into conventional outdoor properties like billboards, bus shelters, public utilities, kiosks, bus panels, taxis etc.

Q. Of late, several players have entered the outdoor market in the country, including international players. How do you look at the competition?

The future of outdoor media is set to change in a large way in a country like ours with more and more organized players coming in and rapid development of infrastructure like metro rail, mono rails flyovers and sea links this medium is only going to grow further. It’s a global platform today. They are entering here in India and we are going to their country. Katha has already been successful with its client’s campaigns and has offices in UK, Nepal and Hong Kong and representatives in USA, and Sri Lanka.

Q. How has the performance been so far and what are your objectives for the current year?

Katha has been successful in winning the tender of Punjab Roadways and have already been working with our clients on multiple campaigns. We are working on some digital outdoor properties in India and hoping to bring in and start those properties by the end of this year.

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