MAM

Media Direction' to 'Optimum Media Direction

It's been on the cards for a while now. The media arm of the Omnicom group, Optimum Media Direction (OMD) setting up shop in India. Known as OMD internationally except in India, the global media agency, which is second in command worldwide was formed with Optimum Media and Media Direction coming together. The process of OMD coming to India, and Media Direction becoming a part of OMD has intensified this year. Although, a number of issues are yet to be resolved.

Omnicom's creative agencies are DDB, BBDO and TBWA. In India, DDB has a 10 per cent stake in Mudra, BBDO has a majority stake in RK Swamy (50.1 - 49.9 % )- the first Indian agency to have an international tie-up) and TBWA a majority stake in TBWA-Anthem which took place last year with 60-40 ownership.

For the formation of OMD in India, one would assume that all the three creative agencies need to have majority holdings from their international partner, as that is the formula traditionally adopted by OMD in other markets. Considering DDB is a minority holder in Mudra, how OMD International will work this out is still a big question mark. What is clear though, is that the shareholder issues are coming in the way of consensus on the formation of OMD. Some clarity on this issue was given by Swamy, "OMD will come to India in the next few months."

Internationally, OMD is an established media brand though Optimum Media and Media Direction as entities have been retained under OMD to handle conflicting interests. Media Direction currently functions as OMD's partner in India, with its P&L separated which guarantees operational independence. Media Direction is also in charge of all OMD?s network client?s in India for recent years like Allianz, Singapore Tourism and Peoplesoft.

How will OMD make a difference to Media Direction?

States Tarkas, "It will make a difference to a limited extent. The big change being access to their international tools and knowhow. But in my experience, I believe that a lot of international tools needs to be tweaked and customised to Indian market realities. So, we are already developing our own indigenous tools."

One would also assume, that if OMD is formed in the conventional way (which might actually not be the case) Media Direction and Optimum Media Solutions (Mudra's media agency) will come together to form OMD. In this scenario, Media Direction may then get a significant push as a media agency both in terms of a independent stature as well as being taken more seriously by clients as a media hot-shop.

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