Hi friends welcome back to brand new session of AG talk, this week we bring an exclusive interview with Ishan Raina, CEO, OOH Media. The gentleman in question has a fair share of experience in his more than 30 years of career. He has had an expertise in bringing life to start ups and sinking business. An IIM-Calcutta alumnus, after his stint in Lintas, moved to Contract Advertising, which was then in doldrums and resurrected it. He became associated with Euro RSCG when it launched in India in 1995-96 and helped it reach amongst the top 15 contenders. He took up the challenge of setting a complete new media in the country ,the digital out-of-home space along with Shanghai based OOH agency and launched OOH Media. Raina, in this interview talks about his three year old company and the past, present and future of digital OOH space.
Adgully (AG): What are the challenges you faced three years back when OOH Media rolled out as a start up?
Ishan Raina (IR): The primary challenge was that the medium in India had just been introduced and hence gaining advertisers faith was very important. It was a conceptual sell at that point of time where challenge was not only in growing the company but also growing the industry as a whole. The aim then was to allow majority of the players to try the media that acted as a feedback for us to improve the media offerings.
AG: How has the company grown in three years time and what are your expansion plans for the future?
IR: Out of home medium itself in India is 3 years old and still in its growth phase. But the medium has grown a lot as compared to what it was 3 years back. Today people understand this medium and the future prospects of this medium. The change in the lifestyle trends of the consumers and media fragmentation has led to the growth of this industry. Time spent for consuming traditional mediums is also getting shorter. OOH medium being the reminder medium adds dynamism to the existing media plan of the clients for their brands. According to me, the number of screens is not the game now, rather it is the number of clients that is important and that’s why our target is to increase the clients from 300 to 1000. Also advertisers are now very clear that audiences, both quantity and quality is the game going found and not just screens.
AG: What are the number of clients that you are handling, what is the revenue you are generating and what is the growth rate?
IR: We have more than 300 advertisers who advertise on our screens & we are still growing in terms of clients and categories. If we have to build the Industry we have to double every year.
AG: What are the kind of packages OOH Media offers to the advertisers for e.g. is it per 10 Sec or per ad slot etc in that case is there any difference in terms of time band?
IR: The packages are differentiated on the basis of the requirements of the client such as audience, city clusters properties etc. We have created many packages such as star package, Micromarkets, special network package and specialized packages. The Clients can choose any of these Packages as per the product offerings. No difference in terms of time band, differential a pricing is for different audiences.
AG: You have spoken in the past that there is no specialized creative for out of home digital medium gets from the advertisers, were you able to put across your differentiating factor and demand for specialized creatives for OOH Media?
IR: There is occasionally a need for the specialized creative for OOH media screens but a lot of existing TV commercials work. In fact, we help them in developing or adapting these creatives. We have our full fledged in-house studio which helps clients to create or adapt these creatives from whatever raw material they have. Our in-house creative department helps clients to create such creative as per their requirements and brief which can then be then run on OOH screens. This service is provided by us as a value-add to the client.
AG: Is there any prime time for Digital outdoor medium?
IR: This medium has an advantage of all day prime time and there is no fixed prime time. Our screens are placed at such strategic locations where people come for different activities throughout the day and for the entire week. Also the biggest advantage of the medium is that it follows the consumer wherever he is, thus making it a medium present in a day of a life of the consumer.
AG: According to you what is the biggest issue in digital Outdoor industry that you think needs to be addressed?
IR: There is no issue as such but the challenge is in growing the client category like an IPO category, health care category etc., which has already started. Right now, the good news is that many of our clients who are convinced about the medium; themselves convey the importance of the medium to the media planner. Once the client is positive about the medium then it becomes easier for the agencies to put the medium in their media plan.
AG: How has the medium evolved since the time it launched in the country?
IR: The medium has evolved a lot since the time it was launched in India. The Client’s perception about the medium has also changed and they have accepted the medium and are using it for their brand promotions. We have some of the clients who are consistently using us for many of their offerings. The medium has also been able to offer a lot of innovations to different clients. Apart from this, the content has been an important part of the screens which was not the case when the medium started. Clients even buy our existing content properties and we also create customized content properties for our clients. Even though the medium is still in its growing phase, the medium is doing well, e.g. within 3 year 5-6 players have already setup. Our screens are present in almost all out-of-home locations where people spend their time whenever they are out of home such as malls, multiplexes, office buildings, restaurants, bookstores, gymnasiums, supermarkets, residential buildings, CSDs, etc.
AG: Where do you see this medium going in next 5 years?
IR: Within the next five years, I see an evolution happening in the digital OOH space. The outlook of the clients, the specialist agencies and also the media owners will undergo a sea change. Digital OOH Medium will definitely become an important part of the media plan. Innovation and quality audience and reach will be the benchmarks that clients will use to judge us.
AG: Any specific message you want to communicate to media, marketing and advertising fraternity?
IR: Every medium is over estimated in the short term, due to hype and underestimated in the long term.
The inflection point and twitter moment for OOH media is about to happen – we can see the change across clients in various categories varying from automobiles to telecom, to FMCG and financial services. So, I believe, between 2010 and 2012, there will be accelerated growth, in the same way as other media (satellite, radio and internet) have seen in the last few years.