JWT buys 51% stake in Hungama Digital Services

MUMBAI: JWT, the global marketing communications agency and India’s leading integrated communications company, has acquired a 51% stake in Hungama Digital – the digital and promotions marketing pision of Hungama Media Entertainment.

The new entity called Hungama Digital Services will be a full-service digital agency, specialising in digital marketing and social media solutions. As part of the acquisition, Hungama’s activations arm, Hungama Promo Marketing, will become a part of Hungama Digital Services and provide an engagement platform linked to online and offline deliveries.

In the 13 years since Neeraj Roy, MD and CEO, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, started the digital services business as part of Hungama.com, it has grown to a Rs 48-50 crore operation for the parent company, which retains the mobile, entertainment and gaming business, as well as Hungama.com.

In fact, Roy was explicit that he has no intention of selling stake in any other part of the business. “As a company, we had grown to a level where we found brands asking for far more strategic vision as far the digital space goes and a year ago we began examining our options. We wanted to partner WPP and what better than JWT, a recognised and established player,” Roy said.

Hungama Digital’s team of 120 people will continue to drive the agency, including servicing old and new clients and offering creative and promo marketing services, viral marketing campaigns, social media marketing and mobile marketing, applications, managing websites and video services. Hungama Digital is present across six cities in India.

Speaking of the development, Colvyn Harris, CEO, JWT India, said: “It will complete our proposition to our clients and the market place in general.”

He said the structure at the digital agency was still a work in progress, but that JWT’s senior vice-president and digital head, Max Hegerman will play a key role. He also clarified that Hungama Digital will be a separate company within the JWT Group and will co-exist with its current digital agency, JWT Digital.

Roy is confident that India is at the cusp of a digital revolution what with the country moving from 2G to 4G in a span of 12 months. He expects the same speed when it comes to the internet-connected audience moving from the present 125 million to over 500 million consumers in the next 3-4 years.

“We have greatly expanded our digital capability across the region, and we are not standing still. JWT will continue to hire new digital experts and explore possible acquisitions across the region this year,” said Michael Maedel, President, JWT Asia Pacific. JWT Asia Pacific has moved aggressively into the digital space over the last year, expanding both organically and through acquisitions.