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“By 2012, the role of technology in this space will become clear.  Currently, the Industry is focusing on being ‘interactive’ without being ‘active’! In other words, the thrust is more on technological advances without ensuring that the basic hygiene factor of the screen
being operational is met in the first place.”

 
     
  ISHAN RAINA  
     
 

2012, HERE COMES OOH!

 
     
 

Going by the current media reports and the press coverage on the OOH sector, it seems that by end of 2012, OOH will be the answer to every problem, be it marketing, advertising, global warming, poverty et al.

However as I see it, by the end of 2009, three players will emerge in this space — people who have bought right (both capex and rental commitments) and sold right giving value to brands, advertisers and consumers, while simultaneously delivering value to the organizations/investors.

By 2012, the role of technology in this space will become clear.

Currently, the Industry is focusing on being ‘interactive’ without being ‘active’! In other words, the thrust is more on technological advances without ensuring that the basic hygiene factor of the screen being operational is met in the first place. Also, it’s amusing to hear people discussing content development or technological interaction and future plans with no screens/ properties on the ground to sell.

History proves that every new media and role of technology is overestimated in the short term, and underestimated in the long term. This explains the demise of the various internet startups that thought short term with a clear focus only on valuation as opposed to value. And in 2009, the same logic will also explain the demise of various OOH companies who have thought short term.

By 2012, 100 serious advertisers will emerge who have, since 2008 been using/ experimenting/ researching/repeating the medium and realizing what creative or brand mix works well for them. There will be an organized metrics/regular syndicated study that will guide media owners and planners and advertisers and make OOH TV a ‘safe’ option to buy, not just an effective one.

By 2012, while the entire OOH will account for 12-14 percent, only OOH TV will account for 3-4 percent of Indian advertising industry. This 3-4 percent will come from TV/ Print/ Radio/ Retail/ BTLJ/Brand/ Sales promotion and a whole new mix of advertisers. Therefore, new media needs new thinking. For all the survivors, 2010- 2012 are going to be great years as they will realize the benefits of their entrepreneurship and shall have the satisfaction of having overcoming the challenge of building a ‘real’ industry as opposed to hype about the future.

So what according to us is a ‘survival kit’ in this new and exciting space?

l)Scale
2)Focus on media and consumer, not technology
3 )Role of research and measurement as a critical tool
4)Engagement-Role of content
5)Choosing the apt real estate, at the apt price
6)Understanding which clients need the medium not which clients the medium needs
7) Credibility- transparency as distinguished From hype
 
In a nutshell, by 2012 OOH may not solve the environmental problem and may not get rid of poverty, but will at least emerge as a respectable and viable option for large/small retail advertisers across categories and a ‘not to be ignored’ medium for media planners. Here’s to 2012!

 
     
 

‘ACCEPT IT: YOU
INTERACT WITH AN OOH SCREEN DAILY’

 
     
 

I’ve been asked to write on the four cornerstones of the Indian Out of Home industry. The number four conjures up many thoughts in my mind — the four media that I have been associated with (Internet, Radio, TV and Out of Home). All four are startups, creating their role in a media plan.
Then there are the four lousy phrases that my clients across my previous jobs used, leading me to move to OOH.
“Niloufer, can you make/ do
.a vignette?”
.a contest?”
.a ground event?”
•suggest some innovation”

To which, my immediate response would be, “Why, is your 30 second radio spot/TVC not working?”
That’s not the real answer though.
The answer lies in accepting the fact that with acute media fragmentation, with the quantum of time we now spend out of home, with this surge in real estate throwing up great Out of Home experiences like malls, multiplexes, lifestyle shops, café, gyms and clubs, the consumer is getting increasing difficult to reach with a plan heavily skewed towards traditional media.

Using ‘Wait-Marketing’ opportunities not prevalent before:-
The above gave birth to several touch-points where marketers could interact with their consumer. As media owners/professionals, we decided to place LCD screens at dwell places from 3.45 minutes and upwards.
Accept it; you interact with an OOH screen daily during the course of your day. It’s not asking you to fix an appointment with it, to take time out for it, to change your schedule for it, it is working around you. it has you and your Lifestyle at the centre of its being.
‘Imagine creating all day primetime.
‘Imagine a medium with no remote.
Try selling not just a new medium, but a concept minus research.. .no, we decided not to be so radical. We tied up with The Nielsen Research Company and have, in the course of the last one year, completed 40 research tracks. What do we research Screen recall, Advertising recall, Elements of advertising recall, Hygiene check on medium? We have conducted research across the following categories: Media, Travel, Personal care, Automaker, Insurance, Fuel, Chocolate, Snack, Bank etc.

Research toplines include 87 percent average visibility for screens across locations, 81 percent average recall for any advertising, 66 percent recall for client-specific advertising.


A first-of-its-kind survey

We will make this into a meatier, industry study, medium-focused research — the first of its kind surve on the LCD OOH space. By end July 2008. we shall be able to share the findings of a 9,675 sample size study done by AC Nielsen (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune).
This will throw light on questions like:

•What footfalls do the locations have?
•What is the profile of the footfalls?
•Where do they go within locations?
‘What other media do they consume?

Consumers exist for the Out of Home category; some 130 plus clients have shared some learning and some happy moments.

I shall encapsulate four insights:

 
 
Vicinity marketing or ring fencing is working. Client s have used our screens in an area to drive traf to the nearest their nearest outlet. (Examples: Zod Club from zodiac, Wrangler from VF Arvind brands, and more).
As a top-up medium; giving extra bang in a market/city and helping reach a fragmented TV mark (Examples: Bingo from ITC Foods. Nokia etc).
‘Reaching out to a TV dark audience at BPOs & IT Parks (Examples: Thomas Cook, SET Indian Idol, etc)
Promoting a BTL activity/event or a trade push (Examples: Panasonic TV, ITC Fiama di Wills, LG Mobile etc)
 
     
 

Four OOH growth trajectories by summer of 2009:-

 
 
More screens, OOH at 10,000, industry hopefully at 20,000 plus
Interesting insights from research
Content development, Creative learnings
500 plus clients on the OOH space
 
     
 

With annual deals and many a repeat, I know that we are well on the road to making a medium for the future.