Outdoor advertising in India is an extremely fragmented and disorganised business. There are no official figures available, though out-of-home - comprising billboards, mounted vans and airport media - is estimated to be a Rs 2,000 crore (US$509 billion) industry, and expected to more than double to
Rs5,000 crore in the next three years. And a lot of this category growth is expected to be fuelled by digital signages, which has just started becoming popular in India.

1. ”The current value of digital outdoor" is not very high at around 5 per cent of the entire Indian Advertising agency. But in the 3 years time if the ad industry grows to Rs 25,000 crore, digital will be worth Rs 1,300 crore, “says Ishan Raina, director and CEO, OOH Media, a year-old start-up which has been funded by private equity player 3i and has China’s Focus Media as its strategic partner.

2. The pace of growth and market potential can be measured by the manner in which OOH Media, within a few months of launching, acquired rivals AdImpact and Flash networks says Raina. “It made sense to acquire them, rather than compete.” CVL Srinivas, CEO of Surewaves, says the company started with a relatively smaller kitty of $10 million. “But as the time passes, we will need bridge funding to move ahead ,” he admits.

3. Digital outdoors in India is largely in-store. Which explains why Kishore Biyani’s  Future Group got into the fray with Future Media, the first retailer owned media company in the country. Future Media offers Future TV (an in-store TV network), Future Radio (different radio stations play-out in different retail formats) and Future ‘Theatre (which has on-screen media rights of the Inox chain of multiplexes)

4. Digital out door targets people with high spending power and are tech savvy to boot. Surewaves allows its client to engage with customers using mobile phones. Its 42-inch screen has a combination of content fed on it; like videos of shops in the malls, offers at these stores, a commercial and current news relevant to the area/mall/product. The solution allows customers with Blue-tooth-enabled phones to download the Surewaves application and get relevant content, “Users within a 10-km radius can get information being displayed on the digital screen on his mobile,” explains Srinivas, Surewave has about 10 to 12 pilot projects running and three confirmed deals.

 

What it means for…
ADVERTISING AND AGENCIES
• Be willing to experiment with the new formats available to see
what, resonates with the target audience.

• Think interactively. The true power digital outdoor comes from
harnessing its interactive elements, whether that is relevant
commercial content or download route maps.

• Understand the audience; largely affluent, but not necessary
within a brand’s typical target demographic.

MEDIA OWNERS
• Up investment. Digital outdoor players risk funding does not
improve.  For a nation where retail is poised to boom, the opportunities are dear.

• Observe other countries- in particular China, where digital outdoor has made Focus Media the nation’s largest media company.

5. OOH Media has a network of 4,000 screens across 20 cities, and boasts of 60 clients, According to a research conducted for a confectionary client by OOH, 100 per cent of respondents claimed to have notice the SMS facility, and 46 per cent of them could recall the correct SMS, “Clients are spectical right now; budgets today vary between Rs 10 lakh (US $25,000) to Rs 55 Lakh. But many clients like Hindustan Unalike and ITC Foods are coming back”. Partho Dasgupta, CEO, Future Media, says the greatest USP of digital is the ability to target consumers with purchasing power. “This includes consumers  who may not fall into brand’s typical SEC classification, but still hold significant buying power.”

6.  Indian advertising veterans are also watching this space with interest. Sam  Balsara, Chairman, Madison communications, warns that digital outdoor still has a long way to go, “Digital screens, if intelligently placed to target  a certain homogenous audience and engage in a dialogue with them, will be a step in the right direction, “ he says, Indrajit Sen, CEO, Streor India, shares his point of view. “ what we are trying to develop is a combination of social networking. Mobile convergence, Bluetooth, and so on. We are also trying Kiosks  fitted with webcams, which can display ads and downloading route maps.” he says.

7. But Raina thinks the medium may be in danger of getting overthyped. “ What clients buy is reality and not hype. All these announcements of grand plans itself is hurting the medium,” he feels. The next two or three years will provide a clearer picture, both on the robustness of both the medium, and the eventual outcome of the battle for the advertiser’s money. Chances are it’ll take the entry of at least a few more players – and experimentation with a few more business models – before the category rationalisation sets in.

Canyaa, a website that aims to encourage
Consumer interaction with online video advertising, will launch in China.

e Bay has launched a Thai language site at
www.shopping.co.th with Sanook. com.

Marketwire has acquired International Media
Services, extending its North America presence to 17 new operations in Asia and Latin America.

Baidu has opened its own entertainment channel
Online in a bid to shift the search engine towards a general web portal offering.

Focus Media has made a US$5 million investment
in Yanhuang Health Media, resulting in 20 per cent ownership in the company.

Redgate Media has acquired Shanghai’s Hong
Men Advertising to double its light-box inventories and penetrate outdoor advertising in residential areas.

Sony and World Sports Group have bagged 10-
Year TV and promotion rights for cricket’s new India Premier League after a US$1 billion bid.

Rob Gllby has relocated from the UK to become
the new VP and MD of Disney-ABC International Television for Asia-Pacific.

Shanghai Media Group has launched
International Channel Shanghai for expats, with programmes in English and Japanese.

Radio e Televisao de Portugal and The New Media
Group have launched a Portuguese language channel, RPTi, in Japan and Asia.

Discovery Networks Asia is launching its HD
channel through PCCW’s Now TV platform in Hong kong on a monthly –fee business model.

AlJazeera English has signed a deal with Hong
Kong Cable to air news from its Malaysian headquarters.

Star India has created a 50:50 joint-venture with
Digital Entertainment Networks to create a distributing platform for its TV channels.

India’s Zee TV has secured landing rights in China
to offer a tailored 24- hours service.

Asian Joint-venture HBO Asian is now owned by
HBO and Paramount, after the Time Warner subsidiary took a majority stake over NBC Universal and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Previously Chinese-only Singaporean title my Paper has re-launched in English and Chinese, and increased its daily circulation to 300,000.

Executive life will replace its previous Fashion Week section with a quarterly supplement from Business Week China, covering 32 Chinese provinces in April.

Disney Publishing India has entered a licensing agreement with Popular Prakashan to publish classic Disney content in Hindi and Marathi.

Mobile messaging services provider TynTec has opened its regional headquarters in Singapore to oversee its Asia-Pacific sales and marketing operations.

Motorola is closing an acquisition deal with
Soundbuzz, a pan-Asia music provider.