ittys Middle East LLC, ittys for short, is a boutique corporate communications agency that offers specialised branding, re-branding, electronic and print media relations and social media assistance to companies or marketing divisions of companies looking to outsource such services. We have been registered as a business entity in the Sharjah Media City (Shams) free zone. The company is promoted and led by chief executive officer Shibu Itty Kuttickal, a business journalist with about three decades of experience in India, Singapore and the UAE, and advised by P N Balji, a celebrated doyen of the media industry in Asia.
P N BALJI, who has firmly established himself as an iconic figure in the Southeast Asian media scene, has kindly consented to be Patron and Advisor of Ittys Middle East.
Balji has about half a century of experience in journalism — in print, television, radio and online. He entered print journalism in 1970, when he joined the Straits Times group in Singapore as a cadet journalist for the Malay Mail. He moved to the group’s New Nation the following year, moving steadily up the editorial ranks.
From 1982 to 1988, he was Deputy Editor of The Straits Times. He went on to help launch The New Paper in 1988, of which he became the editor two years later. In November 2000, he launched TODAY and became its Chief Executive Officer cum Editor-in-Chief.
With both The New Paper and TODAY, he created media history. Under his leadership, the former crossed the 100,000 mark in copies sold daily. No afternoon newspaper before that has done a daily circulation of more than 50,000 copies. With TODAY, he put it on the road to becoming a viable product opposite the grand old dame of Singapore journalism, The Straits Times. No other newspaper has ever survived the might of The Straits Times.
Balji co-hosted a weekly current affairs programme on Channel News Asia called Talking Point and helmed a fortnightly radio programme, Beyond The News. As for his online work, Balji was a guest writer for the theonlinecitizen and now writes the occasional column for Yahoo!
Outside Singapore, he was the project leader for the conversion of The New Straits Times in Kuala Lumpur from a broadsheet to a tabloid, helped revamp the Indian weekly, The Week, and did a prototype of a 40-page newspaper for women for the Hindustan Times in New Delhi.
He writes occasionally for newspapers in China, India and Malaysia. His most recent overseas assignment was in Kuching, where he did an editorial consultancy for the Borneo Post.
Over the last five years, Balji has provided communication/ media/public speaking training to senior officers of Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs, Public Utilities Board, Nanyang Technological University, National Environment Agency, Work Development Authority, National Heritage Board and Singapore Indian Development Association (Sinda).
He was the director of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and adjunct associate professor at the communications school at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
A business journalist for about 30 years, Shibu has fully embraced the opportunity to grow into a lively role in public relations. The CEO understands well the inner workings of the media, an essential attribute of a corporate communications consultant. He brings to the business essential traits such as a news media professional’s thought process and an insider knowledge of what it takes for a good business story.
Apart from his experience as a business journalist, Shibu has helped organise trade conferences and has often donned the hat of a strategic thinker and counselor of conference organisers.
Anne takes care of the marketing and accounting aspects of the business. Her experience has been in the travel and tourism industry in India, UAE and Singapore. She is currently looking forward to carve out a niche in the business of public relations.