SRI Establishes New Media Unit

Select Resources International has established a new media unit, and appointed a former iXL executive to head it up.
Paran Johar joined the Los Angeles consultancy as managing partner of its new SRI Select New Media division, which will provide strategic counsel in interactive searches and agency-client relationship management. Johar joins SRI from the Los Angeles office of Atlanta-based interactive marketing agency iXL, where he was director of business development. He will report to SRI chairman and chief executive officer Mike Agate.
“There is huge opportunity in the [interactive] market,” said Johar, who met Agate while working for Poppe Tyson. Select New Media will help align clients with shops by “knowing the specialties in [those] various shops,” he said.
The unit is housed within SRI’s offices on the Sunset Strip. Its first job is to shepherd the Blue Shield of California interactive consolidation search. The contenders are Modem Media.Poppe Tyson, Organic Online and SF Interactive, all San Francisco. Chemistry checks will take place early next month.
The selected interactive shop will then pitch against the winner of the direct agency search, handled by SRI, to determine the agency with the best interactive capabilities, Paran said. Finalists in the direct search are FCB Direct, San Francisco, and OgilvyOne, Los Angeles. The business may be consolidated at one agency, Johar said.
Total billings for the San Francisco-based direct and interactive health care business are $8 million.