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Hungama's Marketing Head Punyashlok Bhakta Joins Balaji Telefilms As CEO-New Media

Punyashlok Bhakta has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer - New Media at the Ekta Kapoor-backed content production house Balaji Telefilms.

Bhakta was previously the Business Head (Consumer Business) and Head of Marketing at Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd where his focus was on building Hungama.com.

Bhakta has over ten years of experience in marketing, and has worked at companies such as Asian Paints and L'Oreal, where he worked on brands like Garnier and L'Oreal Paris. His expertise is in brand management with a focus on communication development and consumer insights.

News of his appointment comes even as the company publicly announced its intent to sell the new media and training divisions in January 2011. The new media division of Balaji runs artist hiring portal Hoonur.com and mobile content production.

During his three year stint at Hungama Digital Media, Bhakta helped build the consumer business and marketing team from grounds up. As marketing head, he oversaw brand building and communication for the consumer and B2B brands, mobile marketing for VAS products, online and social media marketing, insights and research, as well as corporate communications. Bhakta was also instrumental in developing and implementing Hungama's pan-India retail strategy. He also managed international business development and strategic tie-ups for Hungama with entertainment and sport entities, in collaboration with the company agent Creative Artists Agency.

Shlok holds an MMS in marketing from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies and a B. Sc. in Statistics from University of Mumbai.

Balaji New Media

Hoonur.com is a classifieds jobs portal for the entertainment industry with a social twist, allowing users to follow celebrities, read news and receive updates on auditions. Launched in 2009, the website was created as a solution for the fragmented Indian entertainment industry. It was a platform to connect TV and film production houses, media companies, advertising, radio and fashion industries on the one hand with aspiring actors, scriptwriters, choreographers, directors and models on the other. As of October 2010, Hoonur.com's database had 1.19 lakh profiles. K Sera Sera Productions' Kmediatalent.com is also present in this segment. The company also has another jobs portal called Klogtalent.com.

Balaji's mobile VAS division produced audio and video content for mobiles and partnered with telcos such as MTS, Virgin, Idea, Aricel, Airtel, BSNL, Idea, Reliance and Loop Mobile for devotional, humour and mythology related content. In May, the division launched a mobile 'audiosodes' series called Kriminal Kaun on Aircel networks.

It also had an iPhone app, which has pre-recorded stories in Hindi delivered by professional voice artists and Bollywood playback singers.

Corporate Announcements

The company is battling a notice from sales tax authorities for an aggregate amount of Rs. 223.63 crores (including interest and penalty) pertaining to sales tax for the financial Years 2000-2001 to 2004-2005. It had previously received a show cause cum demand notice from the Commissioner of Sales Tax in Mumbai for Rs. 2897.74 lakhs for sales tax in 2008-09 and 2009-10 on exports made to a customer. It had also received another notice for Rs 403.12 lakhs for service tax for the years 2006-07 and 2009-10.

Net profit for the quarter ended December 2010 declined to Rs. 121.46 lakhs from Rs. 181.54 lakhs in the same quarter in 2009 but has increased quarter on quarter from a net loss recorded of Rs. 640 lakhs.

Meanwhile, subsidiary Balaji Motion Pictures' paranormal/ romantic movie 'Ragini MMS' is slated for release. The company also plans to release its maiden Marathi film this year, marking its first foray into regional cinema.

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