Quite a few marketers have taken a plunge:
Flash Media’s Clientele include HSBC, Pierre C, Sharp Electronics, Sahara Television, Croma, Shoppers’Stop, MTV, among others, while adding Addimpact has the likes of Ford and social groups like Cry Advertising on its screens. “Our initial experience has been quite positive,” says a senior official from HSBC India. Some major marketers are seriously considering it too. Rahul Welde, GM, media services, HLL, “This medium allows for specific local marketing and activation”.

What makes this medium alluring is that many see it as an alternative to conventional media that allows advertisers to target difficult- to-reach audiences. With up market consumers increasingly giving television a miss and with the potential for TiVo- like gadgets which allow viewers the option of zapping adds, the effective cost of advertising on TV has shot up. Bunty Peerbhoy, chairman, MAA Group, believes that no TV program gets more than 30% of viewers attention. Traditional out-of-home (OOH) Media on the other hand is expensive but is not really able to garner

At the moment, the cost of experimentation for advertisers is low. According to Kandoy, pricing depends on factors like how long the client commits (15 days or 15 months), how many people are being reached (5 or 5000) and the category of people(sec A, sec B). Flash media put the effective cost of reaching 1000 consumers at Rs 15-20 cost per thousand, while MAA Group’s Peerbhoy puts it at Rs 40cost per thousand, which, according to home works out much cheaper, than Rs267-1500/ cost per thousand for cable and satellite television. With quite a large range between quoted and actual prices, players are yet to evolve a good system of hoe to price their offerings, “Today, there is no understanding of how to value and benchmark the rates. This needs expertise, “ says Sakhuja.

What’s really needed to make this a mega hit , though, is scale, and all of the players in the market are working towards rapid ramp-up.” When we begin  operations we will be 10 times the size of our competitors.” says Raina. He says that 3i will kick of within 2 months with 100-2000 screens

enough attention. “There is a need for are relevant media that can guarantee the adds shown by advertisers are seen by relevant people, “ agrees Raina. He believes that apart from enabling the targeting of very specific groups, this will be more intimate media than traditional OOH communication. For example when placed in an elevator lobby, the screen-adds are bound to catch the attention of everyday office goers who wait for the elevator for 2-3 minutes. Raina says,

in the major metros and later expand to 20 cities and 30,000 screens, at a accost of about Rs 250 crores. Flash media, which has about 351 screens in 19 Shopper’ stops stores across 10 cities in India, Plans to install 700-800 screens by early December and exp-and to 3000-4000 screens by the end of march 2007, taking in cities like Lucknow, Noida, Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Agra. Tag media network has currently installed 170 screens in 65 Spencers showroom and plans to install some in Fabmall and Foodworld and 40 more Spencer stores, before taking the model to South east Asia and Europe. Addimpact media,

In China, LCD advertising allows smaller advertisers to release their creative in the more expensive TV markets like Beijing, Shanghai & Shenzhen. ‘LCDS can often be a way for them to reach the target consumers in this market than avoid them altogether.’ Says Amrita Randhawa, brand team leader, Mineshare (Beijing,), China, kaushik Chakraborty, country head, Enchance India, Starcom Media, Vest’s retail branding unit adds that contextual messaging is another advantage. “It synergises really well with the pre-existing awareness of the brand. It’s the last 3 minutes of the purchase spectrum, influencing the movement of decision, “he says.

Modes of operation vary from player to player but most use a version that stores add on computer chip that is changed every week. Flash media, for instance, uses software on its chips that maintains a log report of what has been written for 15 days. A loop of one hour is created which is repeated for ten hours a day and the content is changed every 15 days. As media uses a broadband technology that enables it to change programs and control screens from a centralized location in Bangalore.” We can run special offers or ads in specific outlets anytime, “says Peerbhoy.

 

which currently has 100 screens installed in commercial buildings, is considering adding residential buildings to its portfolio as well. Considering that Focus Media grew largely on the back of acquisitions, it is clear that scale and consolidation will determine the eventual winners in the game.

How the LCD medium is marketed will also affect how much of a dent it makes in conventional advertising. For instance, says Vikram Sakhuja, there will be barriers if vendors try selling this as one-off medium.” The medium has to be part of larger communication solutions. For example, if retails TV is seen as just another out of home TV viewing opportunity we will completely miss the plot, “ he says, and while marketers are right now testing the waters they ae going to ask foe effectiveness benchmarks when budgets committed grow larger. “Advertisers are seeking more accountability from “New Media” like retail, internet, mobile telephony, etc than from say conventional TV and prints. Sellers need to be in a position to establish how this medium actually works,”  says Sakhuja. Parthodas Gupta, CEO Future Media feels that the current players are just concentrating on the BTL pies and that they must tie up with advertising agencies to get the ATL share.” It has to be a combination of a ATL and BTL both are important in this media, “ he says.

With a bench mark like Focus media in China, success with the initial forays will open up opportunities in other areas- in addition to malls, multiplexers and elevator lobby’s, the media could work in entertainment complexes, F&B outlets; offices and even educational institutions. And going by the line of the players on the starting block, 24/7 and 360 marketing communication may soon be a Chindian reality.