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Entry of OMD in India imminent. Affiliates warm up

22-August-2002
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Entry of OMD in India imminent. Affiliates warm up

Another media services giant is busy working out plans to enter Indian market. While there is no timetable yet, the entry of $18 billion Omnicom's media network- Optimum Media Direction (OMD) into the Indian market looks imminent. Two of the three Indian associates; Mudra and TBWA\ Anthem (the third being RK Swamy/ BBDO) have confirmed this development with exchange4media. According to senior official in both the agencies, OMD is seriously looking at the plans. In fact, DDB (an Omnicom company, and a affiliate of OMD) is actually in the process of increasing its stake in Mudra and this might facilitate a faster entry.

As is known, OMD is a group company of Omnicom Group, which has affiliations with three Indian agencies, Mudra (DDB), RK Swamy (BBDO) Anthem (TBWA).

Confirms Kaushik Roy, CEO, Mudra Communications, “OMD does have plans to come to India, but how and when is not yet clear. As DDB is a part of the same group, the possibility of a merger between OMD and Mudra’s media department is definitely there. However, Omnicom group has affiliations with two more agencies in the country and it would have to be combined decision.”

The other affiliate TBWA\ Anthem also confirms that the OMD is very much in the horizon. Says K Gerorge John, CMD, TBWA Anthem, “Creation of OMD is entirely Omnicom’s decision, and they are considering it very seriously. It might happen in next 6 months or a year, I am not sure of the timeframe. As it happens, the media divisions of all the three agencies will come together to form Optimum Media Direction."

Meanwhile, DDB is in advanced discussions with Mudra to increase its share. This would, according to R Laxmi Narayan, Executive Director, Mudra, automatically improve the chances of OMD joining in. Says he, “DDB plans to enhance its investment in Mudra —discussions on this front are at a very advanced stage. Participation in OMD, therefore, is more or less a certainty.”

Are the media professionals in the group’s Indian affiliates ready for the changes it would bring forth? “Why not?” questions Laxmi Narayan, “Arrival of OMD will benefit the Indian agencies immensely. As far as Mudra is concerned, it would be definitely beneficial in terms of global experience and tools. Our media people would get global opportunities. The agency would get global perspective and would have alignments with the global clients.”

Almost on the sideline of this development was a recent AOR pitch down South. Joint media team from TBWA\ Anthem and RK Swamy pitched for the media business of Chennai based Henkel Spic. They were competing with several other media specialists. Is this in anticipation of the launch of OMD in India.

While our sources confirm this hypothesis, honchos are not ready to bite the bullet just yet. “No” says John, “It has nothing to do with the setting up of OMD. RK Swamy and Anthem did pitch for Henkel AOR business, but the joint pitch is only for this account, and is an ‘informal’ understanding.”

The client too is not ready to confirm the development. However, sources suggest that the pitch for Rs 25-30 crore account also involve Carat, The Media Edge, and Interface, which is currently the AOR for the company.

Mudra, which handles the creative for Henkel Spic did not pitch for the media account. Rationales Laxmikant, “We did not participate in the pitch as the negotiations with OMD are still on. However, we are one of the largest agencies for Henkel Worldwide, and would definitely pitch at the appropriate time.”

OMD is among the largest media specialist companies in the world, managing over $18 billion in media billing, including clients of Omnicom's three global advertising agencies, BBDO, DDB and TBWA. Its entry into Indian market would certainly add pace to growing consolidation and competition for the media businesses.

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