It’s Sidharth Rao. The MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year 2019

20 Dec,2019


By Pradyuman Maheshwari



Greetings! It’s D-Day all over again. December 20, 2010. The day when we said we would announce the MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year 2019. Unlike various other awards and presentations, this is done via MxMIndia, not through an event. So we aren’t dictated by the demands (and exigencies) of sponsors and the constraints that venues and budgets put us under. We like to compare it with the Time magazine’s Person of the Year. Just an online announcement. We are sure you will join us in the celebration of who our 2019 Mediaperson of the Year is.


First a quick look at how we are different from various other awards/title presentations:


First, it’s not based on a survey. It’s not based on any industry poll. It is based on a study conducted by us through the year. This makes the decision-making tougher, as we can’t pass the blame on to research. Or the collective view of the industry. Or of a jury.


Second, it’s an A&M industry study. Agreed CEOs of big clients are important, but we are looking at CMOs and not CEOs of well-marketed organisations.


Third, we look at performance through the year, and do not base it on the highs of the last two quarters of a year which tend to influence any voting-based process at the yearend.


Fourth, it’s about performance in the year. The highs and highs achieved in this calendar year.


Fifth, we give you a clear reason why we have chosen the winner


Sixth, we are as sincere and honest about the awards as one can get. A few years back there were suggestions that we should make it an on-ground event. But then that comes with its own set of issues (and compulsions). We even had one large media group expressing its interest four years back. But we think it could’ve influenced our decision-making.


So: the MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year 2019 is an online presentation. It’s an accolade that’s for the truly well-deserving. And for the True Achiever of 2019 in the Indian Media, Advertising & Marketing arena.


With the backgrounders done, here’s  how we went about our task.


We maintain an online notebook that records important developments of the year. It’s also a drill that ensures one can do recaps etc with ease.


For the Mediaperson of the Year, one reviews names, quarter-wise. This ensures the choice of the winner doesn’t suffer from the recency factor.


We looked at various names. We couldn’t miss the achievements of the various media biggies as they went on consolidating operations.


We had also asked our readers for their nominations, and we added these to the come to a shortlist of five.


Ladies and Gentlemen, We have great pride in announcing that the 2019 MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year Award is:


Sidharth Rao

CEO and Co-Founder, Dentsu Webchutney

Sidharth Rao

He was all of 19 when he started a digital agency called Webchutney. He was its co-founder and CEO. Six years back (in 2013), the agency was acquired by the Dentsu Aegis Network and hasn’t looked back ever since.

Dentsu Webchutney was the most-awarded Indian agency at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2019. And has won numerous awards – at the Goafest Abby, at the Kyoorius Awards and almost everywhere else. The year also saw the release of Rao’s book ‘How I Almost Blew It’


Rao is also an angel investor, was the co-founder of Network Play, which became one of the largest brand ad network in less than three years and was later acquired by European media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG.


So how did we arrive at our decision: 


The year 2019 has been pretty horrible for the media, advertising and marketing ecosystem. Achche Din didn’t happen. In fact the line that’s used is: Burre din kab jaayenge.


This state of the economy has had a huge impact on the business of media. Profits are down, work has reduced and the bottomlines have been severely impacted.


So we looked at all the small, medium-sized and large companies that did very well in the year. While there has been a fair amount of great work done despite all the odds, we didn’t find an individual’s achievement striking enough for being a ‘Person of the Year’. There is of course the argument that the very ability to navigate and profit in a tough year is by itself an achievement.


We couldn’t agree more. So to the media and advertising industry and all the professionals who are part of it: kudos. You are all super-achievers.


But in all of this, we found Sidharth Rao’s achievements stand out. Digital has been growing over the years, but one of the reasons why it hasn’t grown enough so far is because it’s always been compartmentalised and hence never considered as mainstream advertising.


Rao’s achievements of the year have changed that. And will do that forever. He’s not your pinstriped suitwallah adperson. He’s not a turtle neck T-shirt wallah techie. He belongs to the breed of industryfolk who have done things quietly and have done it over the years.


A truly deserving winner of the 2019 MxMIndia Mediaperson of the Year title.



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