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Vinit Karnik appointed Head – Sports, Esports and Entertainment, GroupM South Asia

In his new role, Karnik will report to Prasanth Kumar, CEO of GroupM South Asia

Vinit Karnik

GroupM India has announced that Vinit Karnik, the Business Head of GroupM’s Entertainment & Sports practice (ESP), will take over the new role of  Head – Sports, Esports and Entertainment, GroupM South Asia.

The media arm of WPP said Karthik Nagarajan, Chief Content Officer for Wavemaker India, will take on additional responsibility at GroupM in the new role of Head of Branded Content, GroupM India.

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In their new roles, both Karnik and Nagarajan will report to Prasanth Kumar, CEO of GroupM South Asia.

Kumar said, “Disruption and evolution go hand in hand and it also brought in opportunities in the content, sports and entertainment space and it is consistently redefining the market place. Over the years, we have been building these spaces by shaping great solutions for our clients. While we will continue to build on advertising technologies that will add speed and scale, we are equally committed to enhance our creative process and enable larger solutions in the content space. We are fortunate to witness leadership grow within as they bring in experience, adaptivity and inventiveness for being fit for the future. These leadership appointments signify our commitment to the journey and I am confident in both Vinit and Karthik’s abilities and together we look forward to creating great solutions and opportunities for our clients as well as our partners.”

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Karnik is a GroupM veteran who joined the agency over 14 years ago and has been at the forefront of some of the high profile, high-value sponsorship and consulting deals in the business of sports and entertainment. Under him, GroupM witnessed the launch of thought leadership for Indian sports and entertainment reports titled ‘Sporting Nation in the Making’ and ‘Showbiz’ respectively.

Before joining GroupM in 2006, Karnik was a part of the film fraternity in Mumbai, heading the film production & distribution business of Padmalaya Telefilms and Prasad Film Labs post production studio.

Karnik said, “The new-age consumers have a better understanding of advertising and this can be seen by their ongoing interactions with brands and readiness for participation. The demand for higher personalisation shows that. Data indicates that delivering high-quality personalised content is what sets successful brands apart from their competitors. Today a brand has various means to reach out to its audience be it via sports, social media, eSports, influencers etc. Hence by strengthening our offerings and by bringing together creative optimization and data, we want to ensure that the brands get to reach their consumers with content, which is highly personalised, effective and relevant for them.”

Nagarajan spent a significant part of his early career in consulting, as a practice head for Frost & Sullivan in the United States. Before joining GroupM in 2011, Nagarajan set up Nielsen’s online division and was also the India Country Head for NM Incite, the joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey for social media consulting in India. He set up the social media practice for GroupM India, which also included its foray into advocacy. Nagarajan also evangelised the data agenda for GroupM by building its social analytics practice, products like Radar and the command centre offering. In 2015, Nagarajan conceived and launched Brew, which became the premier content up-front event for not just GroupM but the industry as well.

Nagarajan said, “Content is a cultural intervention for a brand and the need to be authentic has never been more critical. Hence the journey of an idea today is seeped in data-led audience truths as much as it is in creativity. From an era when brands rode the trend waves, we are well and truly in a phase where brands author their sub-cultures. This is what makes it an extraordinary time to be in this industry. I am looking forward to taking on this additional responsibility at GroupM, at a time when the lines between content and commerce are blurring.”

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