Adgully Exclusive | Eying global talent: PTM's Rajnish Sahay

Percept Talent Management (PTM) was launched in the year 2007 by the multi-media giant Percept Holdings. Initially the company started off to capitalize and professionalise the celebrity endorsement and talent management space. However over the years the company progressively emerged in the space further redefining the word celebrity and taking it to an altogether new level.

The company recently announced huge deals and plan for the winners of recently concluded Commonwealth Games 2010. With a multi-deal plan of action and new strategies in place it will be interesting to see how the company plans to take the talent management industry in the country to an international level, Adgully spoke to Rajnish Sahay, Chief Executive Officer, PTM, to find out more.

Talking about the media space evolving to encompass brand association with celebrities, Sahay says, "It has come a long way. In fact when Percept initially started off with this unit, people didn't know much about this concept in our country. We got the concept in the market, we started selling the concept and people started buying it. But compared to the price and to the extent where a brand manager would accept a celebrity as a brand endorser or in in-film branding has evolved very rapidly. Today whether it's a public event or a private event everybody wants a celebrity."

"But yes endorsements in terms of the kind of monies put on the table for an association with a celebrity are quite miniscule. Everywhere and everybody wants to be associated with a celebrity because it brings a certain kind of differentiation for the product. The advantages that come along are extended exposure and brand recall. Besides it was earlier just cricket that was looked at with a celebrity quotient, but now thanks to the exposure other sports have been getting, other sports and their players are slowly looking as potential celebrity endorsers," he adds

The other trend he points out and which is fast growing is pitching endorsement deals for celebrity couples or celebrity family. These kinds of celebrity endorsements works well with brands like automobiles, financial services etc. "All this while they were looking at a single entity to be their endorser. We started educating them that buying a real estate or an automobile is more a family's decision than an individual one. So impact of a celebrity family endorsing a product of this nature makes much more sense," Sahay adds

He also points out that a couple of brands are also looking at international talents as their endorsers in India, but this presently is a trend that is catching up for lifestyle products and premium brands. Further he says that the market is also looking at demarcation of the market instead of going for a big star, in other words the market is looking at a Bollywood actor available at reasonable amount of money and plus coupled with a South Indian actor for the southern markets and so on and so forth for every market across the country.

Talking about the growth in the talent management industry in India, Sahay says, "It's growing in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately there are not many corporates to talk about, there are a lot of fly by night operators who are trying to get into the picture. But thankfully brands have realised that dealing with a celebrity who is being backed by a Talent Management team makes so much more sense. Besides most of the talent management agencies in the country today are ex-Percept, so taking the learnings, taking the contacts in the market from us, they have started their own companies. So in terms of being within the sector of talent management there are very few players."

Though given the limited number of players in the space, Sahay has still set an ambitious road map for the company. Elaborating further, he says, "We are very actively looking at non-Bollywood and non-Cricket celebrities as well. The market besides has been accepting them very well. Moreover they have made a great impact in terms of their TG, they are not as expensive as Bollywood or Cricket. There are clients who are talking to us about in-film branding of Hollywood movies as well, getting the Hollywood talent to India. We are also actively managing the digital IPR, licensing and merchandising of many celebrities. We are trying to build a strong bridge between Bollywood and Hollywood, further very closely aligning it with sports like Cricket, Wrestling, Boxing, and Badminton."

The company he says is also looking at making it big with Percept Casting -getting talented actors major film deals. "Talent Management for us is not just taking a celebrity and getting him/ her endorsement deal. We look at Talent Management in its entirety, grooming the talent to as deep as providing diction training to them, managing their entire PR, taking them to there circle of interest and getting them introduced to the right people. So we do it in an entirety," he adds.

When asked what kind of targets he has set for PTM, he smiles and says, "Very aggressive targets."

Talking about the latest news about PTM managing almost all the winners of CWG from the Indian contingent, Sahay says, "We are talent managers, so am not just looking at getting endorsements for them. We would be very keen on supporting them in all kinds of forms. Like our initiative Fight Nights, we are looking at working closely with each form of sporting activity and building an unique IP of their own."

Speaking about the intellectual core of the company, Sahay says, "It is a people driven company. However in today's dynamic age strategies keep changing frequently depending upon the market scenario. There is a lot of scope; we are very clearly becoming the major stakeholders in many areas I mentioned before. We are definitely looking at atleast 90% of share in the market."

The company is also looking at cracking three major Hollywood deals in a few months time and which should be announced by the end of this year. "It doesn't get bigger than this," Sahay says. | By Prabha Hegde [prabha(at)adgully.com]

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