In a move that will make it one of the strongest media companies in India, India Today Group (ITG) has redefined its flagship brand name to be a holding group that will act as an umbrella to each of the companies that it has control over or has a stake in. The two keywords underlining the move are synergy and integration.
ITG has made important changes in its leadership to support this vision. Ashish Bagga has been named the CEO of the fortified brand and Kalli Purie will be the Chief Synergy Officer in addition to her existing responsibilities at the group. Aroon Purie will continue to lead ITG as its Chairman and Editor-in-Chief.
At present, the ITG has business interests across various sectors including newspapers, magazines, books, bookezines, directories, television, radio, music, internet, mobile, e-commerce, direct to consumer, custom publishing, syndication, events, database marketing, direct-to-consumer, distribution and retail, making it one of the most diversified media companies in India.
The company expects the dual benefit of synergy and integration to assist it in taking the next giant leap to be a strong player amongst top media companies. Some of the other companies that fall in this bracket include the likes of Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd and HT Media Ltd.
Elaborating further on the thought process behind the move, Aroon Purie, said, “The world of media with the onset of the digital revolution is changing rapidly and it is imperative that we change the way we work to realise the full potential of the new opportunities. We are fortunate to be in virtually every part of the media business and it is, therefore, necessary that we integrate and synergise the sum of all these parts to make ourselves into a completely unique and iconic media company.”
The Chairman clarified that while transactions between various group companies will continue to be on arms-length basis and the “strictest norms of good corporate governance will continue to be followed”, sharing of resources, to the advantage of all group companies, will provide the synergistic edge to all companies and businesses.
The New Roles
In this newly created position, Bagga, besides his current responsibilities, will take complete charge of ITG. CEOs of all ITG companies, including TV Today Network that comprises Radio Today, Group CFO, and all other group corporate service heads will report to him. Bagga continues to report to Aroon Purie.
As is known, Bagga has spearheaded the group’s foray into a diversified multimedia play with e-commerce, transit retail and education besides direct to consumer and the digital business. He has forged strong relationships for ITG with leading international media groups such as US based Hearst Corp, Germany’s Axel Springer and Daily Mail of UK.
Speaking to exchange4media, Bagga said, “Over the years, ITG has created a diverse footprint and is perhaps the only media company that is present in such a varied range of businesses. The new ITG weaves all the companies into one and this new role is to ensure that we can now deliver incremental value to consumers and other affiliates like advertisers and business partners.”
As Chief Synergy Officer, Kalli Purie will drive editorial synergy across the Group. She will continue to be the Head of Digital for ITG, Head of Events and also the Chief Creative Officer, reporting to Bagga. Elaborating on her role, Bagga said, “There are synergies in play from across all the verticals we are present in. Events and digital in fact bring the advantage of interactivity, allowing the media experience to be much richer for stakeholders. Kalli’s role would be to fortify this into a formidable cluster and generate more value.”
Another important change is in the role of Dinesh Bhatia, who will be Group CFO and Head of Business Strategy for ITG. All accounts and finance Heads of all group companies and special business units will report to Bhatia. He will also continue to oversee business strategy and planning for ITG, and will report to Bagga.