WPP forges another big alliance in India with Hungama Digital deal

WPP has bought a majority stake in Mumbai based Hungama Digital Services for an undisclosed sum.

Hungama Digital Services is part of Hungama Digital Media Entertainment and specialises in web design, digital marketing, search engine marketing, social media optimisation and communications strategy.

The agency employs 110 people and clients include Mahindra & Mahindra, Bacardi, Godfrey Philips, Britannia Industries, Tupperware India and Hindustan Unilever.

Hungama claims to be south Asia’s largest mobile and internet-based entertainment company with exclusive rights to over half a million music and video titles. It powers nearly 70 per cent of all mobile digital entertainment content in India and operates in 33 countries, with more than 145 partners across the world. So it’s a handy ally to have in a fast-growing market, even though the Indian economy has slowed recently.

The deal echoes the one struck this April between WPP and another big Indian domestic company Infosys, India’s second-largest IT firm (the biggest is Tata Consultancy Services) to launch a new digital media ‘platform’ or service called BrandEdge.

WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell seems to be calculating that the best way to strengthen the company’s already strong presence in India (it owns four ad agencies and four media agencies) is to partner with big local companies.

There is a degree of resentment in India about Western marcoms companies dominating the Indian scene and alliances may be a more diplomatic way forward. The Hungama (entertainment) and Infosys (IT) alliances may also offer WPP the opportunity to expand into areas currently on the periphery of its business.

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