Alokananda Chakraborty

You need to be big to be of consequence: Shripad Kulkarni, CEO, Carat Integra

The Mumbai-based media-planning consultancy merged with Carat Integra, and its managing director Shripad Kulkarni is set to take charge of the merged entity as CEO on March 1

History has strange ways of repeating itself. The phenomenon of local advertising agencies merging into bigger and powerful advertising houses, mostly international players (quite common in the last decade), seems to be showing signs of revival in the media world as well. The reason for this marriage of sorts - be in advertising or media - remains the same - to garner maximum size and revenue, and, in turn, be regarded as a force to reckon with.

The latest to fall victim to the lure of size is Mumbai-based media planning consultancy, M:Ideas. Headed by media veteran Shripad Kulkarni, M:Ideas has merged with Carat Integra (Carat Media Services' joint venture with Percept), effectively removing the stigma of being a "small" player. "You need to be big to be a main player in this market," explains Kulkarni. "And we were not big enough," he adds.

What Kulkarni brings to the new outfit is his 15 years of media experience in agencies such as Contract, O&M and Clarion, coupled with his team of nine members and of course, his clients including DKT India, Kalnirnay and the Dynamix Group among others. Carat Integra, on the other hand, has an annual turnover of around Rs 140 crore with Percept clients Bharti, Sahara and Reid & Taylor making up the bulk of its business.

Kulkarni will take charge of the merged entity on March 1 replacing Meenakshi Madhvani who was looking into Carat Integra's operations till now, besides heading Carat Media Services India. Though Kulkarni claims there is no plan to merge Carat Integra and Carat India, what is clear is that the former has moved out of the realm of handling only Percept clients. For the record, Carat has a 51 per cent stake in the joint venture.

Kulkarni declines to reveal any more about the agency's plans stating that they are being "firmed up". He, however, has an interesting take on the prevailing media scenario and the role of media over the next couple of years. "The media function is in the midst of a discontinuity," he says. "The next 20 months will be tumultuous and at the end of it we will see a new media world. Media buying companies will invade into communication, commonly called Account Planning, while media planning, in its current avatar, will cease to exist, giving birth to strategic buying or a buying-led approach to planning," he states.

"We, of course, will be at the forefront of this revolution," he adds in quite a matter-of-fact tone. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

Have news to share? Write to us