By Arun Sudhaman

Telecoms giant BT is to choose between either heavyweight player Genesis Burson-Marsteller or upstart firm Six Degrees after ending its relationship with incumbent PR agency IPAN H&K in India.

The company has shortlisted the two agencies after an initial round of presentations that also involved Perfect Relations, The PRactice and IPAN.

BT Asia-Pacific corporate comms and PR director Richard Wright told the Holmes Report that the pitch covers all aspects of BT’s PR and comms functions in India, including thought leadership, awareness and CSR/sustainability.

IPAN ends its tenure after more than two years on the account. “The level of agency quality has risen in India alongside the business boom,” said Wright. “IPAN will not be renewed this time but I may choose to work with them again in future as they are a good firm.”

While Genesis B-M is one of the biggest names in the country, Six Degrees is a fast-growing start-up launched in 2009 by Rishi Seth and Zacharia James, two industry veterans from Text 100's New Delhi office.

Wright, who is based in Hong Kong, added that presentations had been conducted over a Telepresence videoconferencing system, rather than in person. “It’s the first time I’ve done an agency selection this way but it just like being in the same room so I’m happy to save the environment.”