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- Nov 24, 2022
Winners to be announced during an online show on December 8 The Epica Awards are delighted to announce the preselected entries for the 2022 competition. Reaching the shortlist is a fantastic achievement, so we would like to congratulate everyone who appears on it. ...


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Tuesday, 18 October 2016 00:00

Rammohan Sundaram MD & SVP - APMEA, C1X Inc.

Transparency is a big issue in today’s digital world and while the pioneers like Google and Facebook have done their bit, we still feel those as being walled gardens given the source of information on which these businesses are built, originate from outside of these platforms and we are directly addressing the source thus by helping the publishers make a lot more money” Said Rammohan Sundaram MD & SVP - APMEA, C1X Inc.

In an interaction with MediAvataar India, Rammohan articulated about his new journey with C1X, which apparently is an exciting world of possibilities and endless charm in the digital arena. You think you know all about programmatic buying or not, this one is for you!

Here is the complete Q&A…..

MediAvatar: What does C1X stand for?

Rammohan: At Yahoo there were two types of inventories in display advertising, Class One and Class Two. Typically Class One was guaranteed as deliveries for the brands addressing a particular audience on prime properties and prime ad units and class two depended on a floor price set by the respective teams handling various audiences and communities, which was non guaranteed.

Guaranteed delivery was always on premium audiences and like I said prime properties like Front Doors (Home Pages, Mail Log In Page etc) are considered high value.

At C1X 90% of our staff whether business or engineering comes from Yahoo and we being the only hybrid exchange, offers the guaranteed delivery formula through our patent pending technology in an exchange environment. The term Class One has an abbreviation i.e. “C1” and “X” stands for the Exchange and hence the name C1X, which simply means “Class One Exchange”.

MediAvatar: Which are the markets, globally you are looking at currently?

Rammohan: We are very strong in the US, with offices across US and Japan given our Founders come from these two regions. In Asia and Middle East we have just completed our leadership hiring across markets and are now focused on building our strength in these markets.

MediAvatar: From a business point of view what do you think is that one adjective that defines your approach?

Rammohan: “Transparency” – This is a big issue in today’s digital world and while the pioneers like Google and Facebook have done their bit, we still feel those as being walled gardens given the source of information on which these businesses are built, originate from outside of these platforms and we are directly addressing the source thus by helping the publishers make a lot more money and bringing in massive efficiency by not only saving costs but by bringing in technology. We are playing a role that is defining when it comes to targeting, spill over or wastage and overall efficiency in a campaign.

MediAvatar: Whom are you targeting with this product?

Rammohan: Every advertising agency in the digital space, every brand marketer and people who want to get the fullest from their digital endeavours are our TG globally.

MediAvatar: Marketers who still are oblivious to the programmatic peak, what would be your business advice to them?

Rammohan: Programmatic is not rocket science, it is just a mechanism that brings in efficiency thus by eliminating any possible mistakes, through a single dash board that gives the power to the marketers who need to make those decisions to get the maximum ROI.

Ease of use makes every effort seamless and it is the future of media planning, buying and execution.

When a full stack operator like us comes in the value of that is visible immediately, we have seen several advertiser laud about the platform and we have seen tremendous traction in a very short period of time.

Marketers who are serious about their digital initiatives are learning by the day and are highly involved in ensuring their teams adopt to this wave immediately, we have seen high involvement from CMOs percolating right upto the operations executive and we are climbing the ladder steadily to ensure maximum adoption.

Lets be clear, marketers are not oblivious to the programmatic curve, it is the priorities of the organisations that play a role, E-commerce and Finance clients are very fast to understand it and they are our early adopters since they run their businesses with “digital first” as an approach, the rest do a catch up game but it is just a matter of time before everyone jumps on this bandwagon.

MediAvatar: How do you look at the competition? 

Rammohan: We have no competition, as in if you look at who else plays to the full stack story then you find no one, we are the only ones who are a DSP, an SSP, PMP and an Ecommerce Marktech solution provider in one single stack.

But if you look at the others who exists in the four pillars we stand on in isolation then everyone in that space is competition.

Depends on how you look at it, we look at it as no competition and we see that in our use cases with clients every day given the speed of adoption in the market.

MediAvatar: In this cutting edge and still evolving realm of technology, what would you label as your USP?

Rammohan: Like I mentioned, Ease of Use, Efficiency, Transparency and Value for money in one stack is our USP and it is working for us, which in itself is enough proof of the pudding.

MediAvatar: Imagine this programmatic situation- You serve a branding commercial to someone on his TV and follow it with a display or Facebook ad on his desktop or mobile device. Is this what you are also symptomatic of?

Rammohan: No, what you are talking of is cross functional device targeting and for that one needs to be some sort of an operator like a mobile operator or DTH Platform Owner or WiFi operator or have a solution for the above mentioned.

We have capabilities currently to perform cross device with mobile alone but we need to still evolve our offering and hence some time away, maybe six to eight months.

Programmatic is nothing but algorithmic purchase or sale of any digital advertising space that is available on the internet or mobile in a real time environment, typically is fully automated and non guaranteed inventory is on real time bidding.

MediAvatar: Is Mobile and Programmatic still a problem? Does your product address that matter?

Rammohan: No it is not a problem, mobile is just a platform through which you deliver a communication when someone is on the internet or through some gateway to the internet like apps and it is fully controlled through programmatic platforms like ours.

Yes we do have the product to address both desktop and mobile.

MediAvatar: You are a startup expert, with so many successful ventures under your belt what drove you to this company/product?

Rammohan: Success is a relative term so if I have to consider myself successful then I would be foolish, yes I do agree that I could be a start up expert having started off more than twice.

I have been in the adtech space for over 15 years now and I have not seen something like C1X before. Everything in one stack and highly effective to address every need of a marketer in the digital space so it was natural that when something like this came my way I didn’t have to think on whether this will succeed, the only thing I spent time doing was whether I wanted to involve myself since it requires a whole lot of your time and a lot of energy that any start up would need.

It took me 6 months to decide before I accepted this offer.

MediAvatar: One thing you wish you had known when you started off? 

Rammohan: Started off, as in, entrepreneur? If that is what your question is then, I would have ensured we thought out of the box to create some disruption with scale than just think inside the box of how good we could look within the space. 



India’s challenges are also its greatest promise. Its diversity, geographical spread and demography may seem like challenges to new players in the market. But for Lufthansa, which has made India home for more than half a century, it is second nature to us and our greatest opportunity.” Said Sangeeta Sharma, Senior Manager- Marketing & Product at Lufthansa India - ‎Lufthansa German Airlines.

In this Interview with MediAvataar Sangeeta discussed the brand’s USP when it comes to the Indian market as well as what will be the walk though next year.

Here is the complete Q&A…

MediAvataar: Tell us how the company used to operate in India and how it has changed today.

Sangeeta: Lufthansa has been in India for more than half a century. Long before India became a hotspot for global business, Lufthansa has been building a partnership with India on a strong foundation of quality, innovation and reliability. In the more recent past however, it has become ‘More Indian than you think,’ progressively customizing its services to the Indian market.

MediAvataar: The ‘More Indian than you think’ brand campaign has been a hit, what made you come up with it?

Sangeeta: Brand Lufthansa has always had a very strong position in the Indian market at a rational level. It was trusted for being a dependable airline with a quality product. However, with the ‘More Indian than you think’ campaign we aimed to extend this trust to an emotional level by emphasizing the airline’s respect for Indian culture and the distinct preferences of its Indian guests. It highlighted the Indian heart within the German soul of the airline.

MediAvataar: Was the result of this campaign more monetary or emotional?

Sangeeta: When you focus on empathy with your customer, it is always beneficial for business. We have received an overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers who said they were truly touched by the campaign. The impact may not be tangible immediately, but this emotional connect is extremely important.

MediAvataar: What will be the brand strategy for the coming period?

Sangeeta: India is an extremely important market for Lufthansa. Our strategy here is to continue our ongoing efforts to elevate the customer experience by introducing state of the art products while focusing on high quality service customized to our Indian guests. Already, our flagship aircraft - the A380 and B747-8 - are flying to India and soon the ultra-modern A350 too will be introduced on the Munich-Delhi sector. In addition to ensuring a consistently satisfying travel experience, we are also committed to being a responsible member of the community. For instance, as a partner in the success of Indian business, we have worked diligently over the past 7 years to create the biggest platform for SMEs in India – Runway to Success.

MediAvataar: Lufthansa is such an old brand but why the need to incorporate Youth centric campaigns?

Sangeeta: India is a young country. With 65 per cent of the population below the age of 35 years, our market and audience are getting younger. Having said that, we still have an integrated approach with an even focus on age groups, genders and travel segments - both leisure and business.

MediAvataar: What has been the biggest challenge for the company so far especially for a country like India?

Sangeeta: India’s challenges are also its greatest promise. Its diversity, geographical spread and demography may seem like challenges to new players in the market. But for Lufthansa, which has made India home for more than half a century, it is second nature to us and our greatest opportunity.

MediAvataar: What has been one of your most a) gratifying and b) bizarre experiences in your career so far?

Sangeeta: In today’s work environment where change is the only constant, scoring a quarter century in just one organization might seem counter-intuitive, even bizarre. Yet, to me this has been the most gratifying experience. This is simply because I am learning new things every single day. I take every single campaign as a new challenge and each success gives me a new high.

MediAvataar: One thing you wish you had known when you started off? Your advice to the budding marketing professionals

Sangeeta: The fact that there are no rules! My only advice to budding marketing professionals is “Keep your ears glued to the customers’ voice and success will follow you wherever you go.”

Part 1 of this two-part series, ‘Successfully managing your clients’ highlighted the concept of client growth and its metrics. As discussed previously, client growth in any business is a result of client acquisition and client retention. This part focuses more on the ‘how to’ of client retention.

Understanding your customer and their expectations

Managing portfolios requires an executive to be sensitive to customer needs, understand intently to client requirements and execute and deliver those requests in a timely manner. Executives must also be able to listen-not just nod along thinking of the next response, but really listen, absorb, understand and then advise. Managing expectations of clients is key- Promise only what can be delivered, lighting their candles with the sun when only a matchstick could do will only lead to a fall into the classic “empty vessel makes much noise” syndrome. Doing so can hamper the reputation and credibility of the team and the company.

Increasing the client Portfolio

Understanding the client and their business needs can win this battle. Many companies such as Meltwater, a media intelligence firm thrives on trust and personalized relationships with their clients that help them in serving their clients by providing expert consultancy besides the usual services. They ensure great service by having their most seasoned executives play this quintessential role of portfolio growth. There are ways of achieving this kind of account expansion namely upselling and cross selling.

Upselling- When a growth executive approaches existing clients with an 80% of the service suite that they haven’t bought and explores the opportunity of expanding the relationship. They can sell either higher value products or a new product range that can help their business processes.

Cross Selling- A concept where subsidiaries and different departments within an existing client can take up independent customized licenses. The business should be dynamic enough to be able to cater to multiple avenues and provide multi-layered business solutions.

Making product/service as a part of the workflow

Building long-term associations is fundamental for client growth. Think about your regular day. What products do you use on a daily basis? Or rather what products can you not live without? Skype? Whatsapp? Google? Netflix? Take a moment and think why? Why are these products invaluable? Amongst other reasons, the primary one is just that they are a part of our daily lifestyle. If the service/product can be made a part of the client’s daily workflow, then there will be no issues in shaking hands on a long-term partnership. For example, at Meltwater, we provide a solution called Newsfeed that allows streaming relevant media mentions onto the clients media room, enhancing SEO and drawing in customers. Once live, a client can be rest assured for inflow of online traffic. Most Meltwater clients rely on and value the solution; they incorporate it in their regular communication processes making it a part of their routine.

Adapting your business to your client needs

Genuine client care requires businesses to adapt. Over the last 4 years, a personal observation has been that, the landscape of client consultation has changed drastically. From simple media monitoring and analysis, clients now expect insight reports and influencer mapping. Keeping these changes in mind, at Meltwater the SaaS platform has evolved from media intelligence to big data. Social media monitoring evolved into social ORM and simple journalist databases were evolved into influencer contacts outreach. By adapting the solution to the changing client needs, Meltwater ensured its relevance and was able to grow its business by acquiring new clients and retaining its existing clients.

As the Managing Director of Client Success at Meltwater India, I encourage my team to treat all our clients like partners as they might forget what you said but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. This is the crux to sustaining and growing your client relationships and hence your business.

Authored by: Bhaskar Bose, Managing Director, Meltwater India 

This is the Part 2 of two part's column series.


Zee Classic and Zee TV bagged awards for excellence in Public Relations at the Asian Customer Engagement Forum (ACEF) Awards held on 27th September in Mumbai. Zee Classic’s ‘The Bimal Roy Festival with Boman Irani’ won the Gold ACEF award in the Marketing Capability category for the Best PR Campaign while Zee TV’s ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2016’ won the Bronze ACEF award in the Marketing Capability category for the Best PR Campaign. ACEF Awards recognizes excellence in the field of customer engagement campaigns and activities across Asia. It provides an ideal platform for recognition and learning in perhaps the most critical, emerging area of content creation.

Zee Classic has always been at the forefront in conceptualizing and executing public relations campaigns that ensure a holistic brand experience. One such successful campaign was ‘The Bimal Roy Fetival with Boman Irani’ bagging the Gold award qualifying in the judging criteria including Innovation, Measurability, Strategy, Budgets, Results and Relevance. The festival was promoted through The Bimal Roy Retrospective in Mumbai, media interactions with Rinki Roy Bhattacharya, Joy Bimal Roy, Press Conference with Boman Irani, Radio, and snippets revolving around unknown trivia about the movies and featuring artists.

Zee TV’s PR campaign for ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ revitalized the iconic brand by highlighting the re-invention of its format and the introduction of a 30 member jury panel for the first time on Indian television, thereby making it relevant to contemporary audiences. Be it a ‘press concert’ organized in Mumbai with the current season’s talent performing alongside former contestants and the show’s mentors, a Top 10 talent showcase concert in Gujarat or the sustained week-on-week buzz kept alive through a slew of news stories appearing across key publications and top news channels ensured that the contestants became household names all through this immensely successful season of the show.

Moving away from just creating hype on celebrity power, the approach for Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa campaign was one of making a hero of the common man, and built the contestants every step of the way till the Grand Finale held in Goa. The PR campaign for Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2016 is the No 1 amongst all singing reality shows’ PR campaigns across GEC's in terms of overall season coverage across mediums including TV, online and leading Indian publications in English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati in the last 5 years.

India’s leading content conglomerate, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) today reached another major milestone by announcing its foray into Radio with the acquisition of UAE’s first and leading Radio station, Hum 106.2 FM. ZEE now becomes the only entertainment network in the region to provide an extensive media solution to its partners through Television, Radio and Digital.

After being a pioneer with the launch of India’s first Hindi Satellite channel, Zee TV in 1992, Zee Entertainment was the first to launch a Bollywood TV channel, Zee Aflam in 2008 for the Arab audience as well introduce the Arab world to Hindi programs dubbed in Arabic with Zee Alwan in 2012.

Speaking on this significant acquisition, Amit Goenka, CEO – International Broadcast Business, ZEEL said, “In our journey of over two decades, ZEE has always led the industry in its evolution and transformation. At ZEE, we are always looking at strategic acquisitions across the globe to increase our footprint and market share in the entertainment industry. Radio has been an area of interest for ZEE for quite some time and after extensive planning and studying of the brand values, ratings and revenue generated by various stations, we felt that an investment in Hum FM was the best option. Hum FM has a legacy of almost two decades and with a current market share of 26%, it is the top Hindi radio station in the UAE. ZEE is confident that it can leverage its very strong South-Asian brand connect onto Radio, and offer a synergy of Television, Radio and Digital that could revolutionize the entertainment industry in the UAE.”

“We are excited about our new business ventures. Radio comes immediately after our foray into film production and distribution where movies like ‘Rustom’ and ‘The Flying Jatt’ have done extremely well globally and specifically in the UAE and Middle East markets. The acquisition of Hum FM in UAE is a step in that direction and we are upbeat about its prospect in the coming years;” Amit further added.

Commenting on ZEE’s plans for the region, Mukund Cairae, CEO – MENA and APAC, ZEEL said, “This move is a diversification to our entertainment business portfolio, adding to the numero uno position we possess in Television among South Asians in the Middle East. This investment also shows our commitment to the region and its business landscape. Now we can offer media across Television, Radio and Digital platforms, leading to a great synergy between content and mediums. With an extensive library of music content that includes singing reality shows like ‘The Voice India’, ‘SaReGaMaPa’, ‘Antakshari’ and ‘Asia’s Singing Superstar’ which have produced great singers in Bollywood, an on-going relationship with the big names in the industry and with one of the biggest music labels in Bollywood, Zee Music Company as a part of its portfolio, the new venture has all the ingredients needed to redefine the Radio industry in this market.”

His Excellency Ali Jasim Ahmed, General Manager of Umm Al Quwain Broadcasting Network (UBN) said, “We are proud to partner with Zee Entertainment, the leading global company in the media industry with a strong presence in the UAE and across the Middle East. Zee Entertainment will provide new content and concepts in the world of entertainment and marketing, and will provide the station the required media expertise of a highly effective and competitive value. Further, we will give all the facilities and backing for ZEE to achieve its strategic station goals and we will work together to support the qualitative superiority of the programs in order to meet the wishes and aspirations of the esteemed listeners.”

106.2 Hum FM was previously owned and operated by Shamal Media Services. The station is a frequency originating from the emirate of Umm Al Quwain and forms a part of Umm Al Quwain Broadcasting Network (UBN). The frequency was one of the first Hindi and Urdu language frequencies to hit the UAE airwaves in the 1990’s. It redefined drive time and boasted of many celebrity Radio Jockeys. It also went on to popularize live cricket commentary on radio and has a lot of pioneering firsts in the radio business.

Shahid Jamal, Founder & MD, Shamal Media Services said, “Hum FM pioneered FM Radio in UAE and over the years, we have made it the No. 1 Radio Station. It is now a great opportunity for us to hand over our successful radio legacy to a media network that has been a pioneer of South Asian entertainment globally and in the region. Zee Entertainment, who themselves have had a great legacy in the media business will only take the success of Hum FM to the next level.”

New and strategic investments in media and related businesses have always been at the forefront of ZEE’s business strategy. The addition of UAE’s first Hindi Radio station to its bouquet of TV channels makes Zee Entertainment one of the strongest players in the UAE’s entertainment space. More announcements are expected in the coming weeks on the future channel programming and its positioning.


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