After consolidating Lodestar UM and Lintas Media Group (LMG) in February this year, IPG Mediabrands has now rolled out its third media agency network in India, BPN (Brand Programming Network).
This new agency, headed by Suresh Balakrishna as its chief executive officer, will fall under the LMG umbrella brand.
On the announcement, Balakrishna commented, "In addition to providing conventional media buying and planning services to clients, BPN will offer training and consultancy for media houses in India. It will also have a branded content cell which will conceptualise, strategise and produce AFPs (Advertising Funded Programmes) in India."
He added that while the agency is meant to handle conflicting business, it is different from the other two agencies of IPG Mediabrands India in that it will be far more focussed on brand strategy than any conventional media agency.
BPN will begin its operations in India with a team of 70 people spread across five offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi, Cochin and Hyderabad. Balakrishna told Campaign India that the agency won't be hiring new people at the moment, but that there will be new hires as business grows.
The agency will handle all client brands handled by Karishma Initiative (another media service agency under LMG) and some of the new clients won by LMG over the last four to five months, like
Henkel (Mumbai), Yepme.com (Delhi), OCL (Kolkata) and Jayalakshmi Silks (Cochin).
According to the company, BPN has taken on the responsibility of clients like Jyothy-Henkel, Bajaj Auto, Samsonite, and the above-mentioned other clients of LMG, to start up with a billing volume of over Rs. 1000 crore.
The launch of BPN in India is part of a globally strategy - the roll out is happening in 14 countries around the world. These include those in North America, Scandinavia, Latin America and parts of Europe. The other 13 countries will see a roll out over the next two weeks.
He added, "BPN has been launched in India first because IPG Mediabrands considers India an important market. After the USA, it is considered to be the second largest market among the 14 countries where BPN is being launched."
At the global level, BPN claims a start up billing of over $ 900 million, working with brands such as Heineken, GSK, Staples, Applebee.
Balakrishna will be responsible for the profitability of BPN in India. He will report to Lynn de Souza, chairman and chief executive officer, LMG and Jose Antonio Espinoza Rodriguez, president - international, BPN.
Lynn de Souza said, “For media agencies thus far, the starting point has always been the advertiser. Consolidation, portfolio management, aggregation etc. are all client-focused and to some extent consumer data-driven. BPN will focus on the brand. The time has come to turn back several chapters and make the brand the hero of all communication effort, and BPN has developed processes to do just that.”
"Our immediate target is to consolidate the existing business and then expand. We will work closely with Reprise Media, the digital offering under LMG, and Lintas Initiative Outdoor, to offer brands complete media solutions," added Balakrishna.