AirTel has decided to split its Rs 80-100 crore media business between Madison Media and Carat India.
While officials at AirTel were unyielding, industry sources close to the development have confirmed the news.
As per the arrangement, media planning and buying has gone to Madison Media while Carat India retains outdoor media business.
At this stage, it is not clear which party will get the better (and bigger) share of business as sources say outdoor is definitely not small business in AirTel's case.
The AirTel pitch had many agencies vying for it, but three made it to the final round. These included incumbent Carat India, GroupM's Mediaedge:cia and Madison Media.
There isn't a doubt that the hopefuls would have waited with bated breath for the news.
The account is, after all, of elephantine proportion. Carat can now breathe a sigh of relief. For The MediaEdge (TME) that handled media planning of AirTel earlier, it is a bit of a bad news.
Before the new agency configuration was put into effect, Carat India was in charge of the buying function and outdoor, while planning was the responsibility of TME. For the record, the creative duties of AirTel are with Rediffusion | DYR.
At the time of the AirTel's media business review, sources close to AirTel had informed agencyfaqs! that the rationale for calling a pitch was to consider merging the two components of media - buying and planning. And, therefore the idea was to consolidate the entire media business with one agency, as opposed to the two-agency arrangement.
Though, technically AirTel will continue to have two agencies, media planning and buying has been consolidated with Madison.
AirTel probably felt that its ambitious targets and rapid expansion plans were perhaps too much to handle for just one agency.
Some of the big plans at AirTel, for the year 2004-05, include connecting over 2,300 towns and 20,000 new villages across the 21 circles. Out of the towns, some 300 towns would be added in the six new circles (Jammu & Kashmir, UP-East, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Rajasthan).
To service the telecom needs of its fast growing customer base, in-addition to network expansion, Bharti would also be scaling up its existing network capacities across all its circles.
AirTel currently has a subscriber base in excess of 6.2 million. During the coming year, AirTel on a national scale plans to double its cell site count from 5,000 to approximately 10,000. On the other end, 18 additional Mobile Switching Centers (MSCs) would also be installed taking the total count to 53. © 2004 agencyfaqs!