Initiative Media's Suresh Balakrishnan to join The Hindustan Times

MUMBAI: Lowe Lintas' Initiative Media (IM) executive vice president and Linterland general manager Suresh Balakrishnan will be joining The Hindustan Times group as vice president, media and marketing, from 2 January 2003. He will be involved with various functions such as marketing, new initiatives and strategic planning. He will be reporting to HT group executive president Rajan Kohli.

Balakrishnan had joined Lintas way back in 1996. Within Lintas, he is considered to be one of the stalwarts responsible for the transition of media from being a mere 'function' to a profitable and independent 'business' (as he calls it).

Balakrishnan was head of buying between April 1996-98; head of the strategic marketing for IM between 1998-99; started Millennium Media in April 1999; and started Linterland, the rural communication arm of IM in November 2000.

Talking to, Balakrishnan claimed that Linterland was the highlight of his career. Balakrishnan has been through the entire gamut of rural marketing including outdoor media, mobile vans, melas, ground promotions and sampling exercises.

Balakrishnan stated: "Rural marketing was a new field and very unstructured at that point of time. However, IM's foray into rural marketing was a significant one as the urban market was getting too crowded and market shares were getting fragmented. Today, Linterland and O&M's rural marketing wings are the top two players in this space."

Balakrishnan also emphasised that the attitude of advertising agencies and media planners towards the rural market has changed considerably in the last few years.

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