JWT plans big-bang digital India foray

KOLKATA: JWT India, the country’s largest advertising agency, is making a major push into digital media business at a time when India Inc is rapidly increasing its spend on the digital media.

“Digital medium will be our next focus area so that we can offer holistic solutions to our clients,” JWT India CEO Colvyn J Harris said. He expects this pision to account for almost one-fourth of the agency’s revenues in five years.

According to a study by industry chamber Assocham, companies in the country plan to spend 30%-40% of their marketing budget through the digital media platform this fiscal due to increasing popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This will amount to about Rs 1,200 crore, the study said.

JWT has already hired Max Hegerman from Tribal DDB India to head its digital media solutions, which will have completely new teams in Delhi and Mumbai. JWT has already hired 25 people for this pision and plans to expand the team.

Harris said the digital business is growing 50% a year and has the potential to grow faster.

“We are looking at clear leadership in the digital space,” he said, adding that the company is eyeing acquisition opportunities in this space.

“An acquisition will help us to grow our business significantly and expand local understanding, which will be a vital factor to become a leader in the digital space,” said Harris.

He said the company is evaluating possible targets, but declined to name any.

JWT has operations in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad and has the widest range of clients across industries. Harris said JWT can offer digital engagement ideas to its clients.

The Assocham study, which surveyed about 1,400 people including directors, CEOs, CFOs and managing directors, said most start-ups as well as leading national and international companies are embracing the social media to expand their business in the country.

About three-fourths participants said they have doubled their spending on social media this year. “Companies both large and small are turning to social media platforms as the percentage of internet users on social networking sites continues to climb,” the study said.