The announcement of Aditya Birla Group (ABG) investing, and in the process picking up a 27.5 per cent stake, in the India Today Group’s holding company Living Media India is interesting not just for the companies involved, but for the Indian media industry per se.
For the scale that ABG is usually associated with, this deal may just be a starting point of what the company can do, and may ultimately want to do, in the media domain.
There are enough on-going conversations on what the deal may mean for ABG and I suspect there is still time before we really know what this turns out to be. However, in the meanwhile, I think this is great news for Indian media industry.
The next decade for the media industry will be about consolidation. We may see shakeout of media entities to bring about some order in the industry. Media is surely a sector of interest to many. Corporate India seems to be more active in it now than it has been in the past but media has seen intense growth, in all directions, in the last few years. And this will eventually have to be structured, which is where consolidation comes in play.
While there are the kinds of Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL) and STAR India that are truly established, developments such as the ABG investment will play a key role in leading the media industry to consolidation.
ABG’s financial investment in India Today will also help the latter in unlocking its value. I am a firm believer that print in India is still not playing to its fullest – there is still a lot of untapped potential and hence opportunity for growth. This investment in India Today Group presents an opportunity to the group to do a lot more – both strategically and in scale.
As I said, this is good news for the industry but from an India Today Group point of view, this marks a new phase for the company and brings it to a place where it is poised for the next level of growth.
As told to Noor Fathima Warsia
Shashi Sinha is the CEO of Lodestar UM, an IPG Mediabrands company
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