Stahle, chief executive officer, Aegis Media, Asia Pacific, and the rest of the APAC team is in India for the annual management meet. This is the first time that the meeting is being held here; this only goes to show that Aegis is serious about the Indian market.
On his visit, Stahle took time out to meet with afaqs!
Speaking about the slow growth of Carat, which was launched in India in 1997, Stahle says, "It is necessary to understand the history of Aegis Media in India. When Carat was launched, it had a good run for the first six years and, later, entered into a JV with Percept. But this alliance didn't work very well."
The partnership didn't garner Carat the momentum that the media agency expected and the alliance had to be annulled.
The earlier hiatus, during which Carat saw the exit of many of its senior personnel, shook the standing of the media agency in India. Stahle says the exodus could be called a major restructuring. And now that Carat is all charged up to take off on a new, energised note, Aegis is confident of making it as big in the Indian market as in other global markets.
Only last week, Aegis launched its out-of-home division, Posterscope. The digital arm of Aegis, Isobar, stretched out its hand in June this year by taking a stake in the search marketing agency, Communicate2.
"We are very serious about doing it right this time. My view of the Indian market is that it's a very important market, not tomorrow, as currently, it is very small in terms of advertising. But the market is growing very fast because of the burgeoning middle class," says Stahle. He says that advertising is going to be more and more important and Aegis intends to be aggressive.
afaqs! wondered why Aegis didn't wait for Carat to take off before bringing in the other services. Stahle explains, "It's not 'either or'. We want Carat to grow and we need to bring the other services in because though these services are small in India, currently, they are growing very fast. The relaunch of Posterscope was a part of this strategy that Aegis is undertaking in India."
Posterscope was earlier launched in India in a joint venture with Percept in 2005, but this fell apart a year later.
Stahle pointed out that OOH is one of the few global media, like the Internet. OOH has more consolidation, as opposed to the fragmentation that exists in television, magazines and print. And in a multilingual country like India, it is easier to use OOH.
Other mergers and acquisitions, too, are under way, though Stahle didn't provide any details. "These would include digital services and anything that fits into the Aegis culture and is of use to our clients," was the response.
Apart from beefing up the team for Isobar, Aegis is also considering the area of sports marketing in India. "In India, where people are sport maniacs with the IPL, etc., we will launch Velocity, too, when the time is right." Velocity is the sports marketing and event marketing arm of Aegis Media and is present in the US market.
Also, with most of Aegis' international tools at their disposal in the Indian market as well, global clients would be more comfortable. This could be all that the media conglomerate needs.