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PR after the Mega Merger

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Evolving face of Public Relations in India – will this mega PR firm bring change


MergerSince the last fortnight the entire media industry has been busy analysing the impact of the merger of two media giants – Omnicom and Publicis. The alliance will not only create the world’s largest advertising company with $23 billion in revenue, toppling current market leader WPP plc., but will also create the world’s largest PR company with a combined fee income of over $1.8 billion as well.

PR companies owned by Publicis Group include MSL Group (has strong presence in India, entered India by acquiring Hanmer & Partners and later it also acquired 20:20), Publicis Consultants and Kekst & Company; while Omnicom owned PR companies include, Fishburn Hedges, FleishmanHillard (Strong PA presence in India, was recently in news), Ketchum (entered India few years back by acquiring Sampark PR owned by N S Rajan), Porter Novelli, Marina Maher Communications, Portland and Cone Communications.

Immediately after the deal, all sorts of speculations…

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Written by schelluri

August 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Athena Group, East Coast Energy employees support Uttarakhand relief operations

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Hyderabad, July 9, 2013: Athena Group, East Coast Energy & their associate companies extend their financial assistance of Rs 23 lakh to mitigate the suffering of the victims of flash floods and heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand. Over 500 employees of the group companies voluntarily contributed one-day salary to this noble initiative.

In this most difficult period of human calamity, Athena Group, East Coast Energy and its associate companies would like to support Ramakrishna Mission, which has been requested by National Disaster Management Authority to conduct the relief & rehabilitation mission owing to the magnitude of the mayhem at Uttarakhand. Enthused by the employee’s gesture, the management also volunteered to match their contribution and support this initiative.ImageImage.

At a brief interaction, the senior management and employees handed over a cheque of Rs 23 lakh at the Hyderabad office to Sri Swami Purnabodhanandaji from Ramakrishna Math – Hyderabad as our contribution to this massive rehabilitation mission.

Mr. T V Krishna, Vice Chairman said “As a responsible corporate citizen, we are committed to contribute to local communities and well-being of their citizens. Overwhelmed by magnitude of the mayhem and destruction caused by the flash floods, we extend our support to Ramakrishna Math with our small contribution to help a larger cause and particularly the flood victims and rehabilitation in the Uttarakhand region..

We seek the support of the local media in Hyderabad to highlight the contributions of these 500 employees who voluntarily came forward to support the rehabilitation and relief operations being undertaken by Ramakrishna Mission.

Ramakrishna Mission is known for its self less service to mankind through their massive relief operations undertaken by them in India, Burma, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in earlier calamities and hardships. The relief works are being undertaken by the Mission in the affected areas through its Kankhal (Haridwar) center with the relief camp having been established at Agastya Muni, about 25 kms from Rudraprayag. We hope the efforts of Ramakrishna Mission will provide the much needed relief and succor to the victims of the flash floods and devastation it caused at Uttarakhand and our small contribution comes handy in this relief mission.


‘Media has breached citizens’ trust, but all is not lost’ | The Hindu

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‘Media has breached citizens’ trust, but all is not lost’ | The Hindu 

Interesting debate on the Media Industry with senior-most journalists and media commentators of the country at the Sixth Union Debate of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) – Has Indian media breached the Trust of Citizens?

Its so timely and appropriate for my research paper for 22nd Annual AMIC conference at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia in July on the topic of Ethical Dimension of Media Industry – an Indian Perspective.

My paper attempts to understand if the burgeoning growth  of the media industry in India over last two decades in print, TV & online media with rising advertising revenue leading to the ethics of functioning of a media organization becoming the first casualty. Also in this process, is advertising revenues distorting editorial judgement as well.

Since this needs to be seen in the context of India joining the global economy in 1990s and the transition of our society from feudal to modern – the issue of media ownership patterns and cartelization in the industry has a bearing on this transition. Also, one needs to observe that the role of regulation on the print is exercised by Press Council of India but the television and online media don’t come under their purview yet and being vehemently opposed by the industry.

Another important dimension is the need for minimum qualifications for journalists as being recommended by Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman – Press Council of India but not finding favour from the media community. However, since Indian democracy is passing through this transition – a fair, transparent and free media is the cornerstone of democracry and is required at any cost. How we navigate these turbulent times with cartelization, changing media ownership patters, rising advertising revenue-based media industry will be a healthy challenge for our country.

Written by schelluri

May 30, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Why Srikakulam????

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Ask any industry captain to consider investment in Srikakulam district – all you get is a stern glare that is full of question marks?? Recent incidents of any corporation wanting to set up shop both in public & private sector have not been encouraging. Violence, death, protests, public hearings getting sabotaged, growing activism are factors worrying an investor to consider Srikakulam. But what led to this situation needs some careful understanding?

The moot question is about why Srikakulam district is unable to create employment & income generating opportunities, despite incentives from the State Govt. It has the advantage of a long coastline of 193 kms and spread over 5,837 sq. kms with a population upwards of 25 lakh; but more than 75% of the population is still dependent on agriculture, saltpans, fishing and sundry jobs.  


Whether it’s sand mining, fish research center, thermal power, nuclear power plant or pharmaceutical industry – protests are widespread. What are their lurking fears to permit and partner in any development project. Is it fear of losing land, poor compensation, provision of jobs, issue of pollution, human rights; bad rehabilitation & relocation policy for land losers; lack of proper jobs for land losers – without skill up-gradation; ill-health from the industries; political interference. Maybe a combination of all these factors and misguidance by some vested groups as well.

This kind of ambience definitely doesn’t augur well for any industry. Even if the best incentives are offered – no businessman would like to risk his investment and work in a tense environment that puts his men & material under threat of constant uncertainty. If the entire work cycle is to come under the cloud of protest & negative sentiment – he/she would re-consider his option and move to a more congenial industrial atmosphere that fosters development. Remember how the Tata Nano project moved lock stock & barrel from Singur to Sanand in the backdrop of a similar protest & negative sentiment.

INDUSTRY COMPASSION OR LACK OF IT: The scale of industry coming up or proposing to set up shop needs to take cognizance of these local issues; identify the stakeholders, understand their issues, myths & concerns and partner with both the local Panchayat officials and also with govt. administration. Is it lack of compassion by the industry captains denying these villagers who forfeit their land for the project & get a raw deal in the process and get further exploited by the vested groups and politicians. Is the industry being driven by profiteering motive and denying the local villagers their share of the progress either social, economic benefits accruing from the said project??


The biggest loser is the Srikakulam district and its citizens. Can we change this?? I propose an initiative titled Srikakulam First that will identify the issues plaguing the industrial development, partner in stakeholder engagement and work in conjunction with local villagers and Govt. administration. Members of Srikakulam First could be people with origins & roots in this district – who have done well for themselves in any area – education, politics, cinema, sports, IAS, IPS, artist, business etc. Let’s identify such people – form a committee and work on a time-bound agenda to bring change!!


This needs to be done on TOP PRIORITY – with the rising protest groups, violence in the form of protests, media reportage, angst within the village folk against any development could create the much needed gap for extremist forces to enter and create a Singur-like situation in West Bengal?? 

Written by schelluri

May 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Falling media standards or moral policing

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Shun moral policing, media told – The Hindu.

This is the theme of my next paper for 23rd annual AMIC Conference in July at Indonesia.

Am trying to establish that with the growing proliferation of media (newspaper & TV channels) over last 30 years (1980-2010) & changing ownership pattern with politicians & business houses picking up ownership in them – there is a perceptible dip in ethics and reporting standards.

The advertising budgets also increased in this period and hence their clout and influence started clouding the editorial judgement in newsrooms. With marketing budgets going up and sponsors pushing newer boundaries in newspaper & TV channels during this period – the pressure of survival; one-upmanship and competition is lowering the bar with every passing year. If one was to bring the lack of training in newsrooms into the above hypothesis – the deduction of dipping standards and ethical reporting is a bygone conclusion.

The onslaught of digital media and citizen journalism has helped reach larger audience – quicker and without geographical boundaries. While this helps news travel faster and larger audience when its good – the reverse is much faster when there is bad press and collateral damage is much higher. The other problem with social media publishing vis-a-vis traditional media is the issue of lack of validation of news content and editorial content not being checked in news rooms akin to traditional news room.

Look at how recent Boston blast led to large global news media houses also jumping the gun and pushing the boundaries of digital media in their quest for Breaking News & First to Report and in the process leading to false rumours and creating panic. The FBI & Boston Police had to counter these news reports as published by CNN & Associated Press and try to calm the situation. Read the story that appeared in The Hindu on this issue – http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/media-missteps-after-blasts/article4630987.ece

Is news consumption patterns changing in this period is also another dimension that one needs to explore – the attention span is falling and media organisation approach to news dissemination is changing with Business of News falling at the altar of ethics, standards, regulation. This is a serious issue with changing ownership patter, rising marketing clout and media proliferation pushing the organisation to revisit how they look at news dissemination in India and globally..


This is from the wordpress as related articles and press releases but closely resemble my blog and hence am updating it with them – Happy Reading!!



Written by schelluri

April 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Power”less” sector & issue of clearances

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The power sector is one of the most critical components of our economy and nation building and also a huge contributor to the GDP growth. As a nation, if we want to achieve 8-10% GDP growth – the importance of a robust, efficient and functional power sector is very crucial.

However, in the current state of affairs in the country given the governance or lack of it, political will to help develop a robust and efficient power sector seems to be touching new depths by the day.


Suffering from worst energy crisis

Issues of clearances and approvals in our system become one of the biggest obstacles to growth and the interpretations of these for setting up a power project anywhere in the country is taking its toll on them.

Irrespective of the type of fuel being used for setting up a power project – coal; LNG, nuclear, hydro or non-convention like solar & wind; project developers be it State or private are up against a huge wall. Be it government; civil society or administration – there is no respite for any developer wanting to set up a power project.

When a project developer has received all the statutory and mandatory approvals from the government agencies – State & Central as stipulated by the Ministry of Power and then decides to set up a project – the obstacles and issues start. Right from identification of land and its acquisition thereafter is fraught with some myriad of issues that start at the village level right up to the State and Center – even if the land is government land. Compensation; Relocation & Rehabilitation don’t find enough support despite it following the rule of the land and in accordance to the stipulations issued by the government agencies.

The recent observation of Justices H L Dutta and Ranjan Gogoi sums up the mood in the country on power projects. “The moment a power project is to start, litigation is filed in court. If initially the project cost is Rs 1000 crore, it escalated to Rs 10,000 crore over the years and tax-payers money is wasted.  They also went on to add: “People don’t want a hydro-electric plant or a nuclear power plant, but everybody wants bijli.”

In the power sector where chaos seems to be rule with no redressal body for the power developers to go and knock doors seeking a solution to their problems especially when large sums of money – upwards of Rs 75000-100000 crore of public funds; we are running into a “darker” side of “power” in the truest sense.

We are also moving to a situation where Governments will start declaring Four Hours of Scheduled Power Supply instead of Four Hours of Scheduled Power Cuts; if the government, civil society with its green or other social activists and the administration don’t pay heed to the huge mess they have created in the process.

With administration not offering support | succor of any sort; political will lacking in any case whether it’s do with clearances & approvals of setting up power plants; the highly fragmented and distorted tariff structure and civil society in the garb of pollution, land & labour loss or compensation continue to push the country into a darker and irreversible path – we are running the risk of moving back to stone age.

The multiplicity of stakeholders and need for creating a situation where we agree to disagree on some issues and looking for partnership and willingness to work out amicable solutions instead of pleasing everyone – in my view is the only way forward.

Written by schelluri

March 12, 2013 at 6:02 pm

No one wants power plants, but everyone wants bijli: SC

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Written by schelluri

March 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm