Cricket, telecom to boost bus shelter, kiosk ads

MUMBAI: The battle for outdoor advertising channels like bus-shelters, kiosks and hoardings is intensifying with World Cup on the anvil.

Another major revenue driver in this business is expected to be telecom, especially with "Big Daddy" Reliance Infocomm set to make a huge splash in 2003.

ESPN Star Sports has an existing deal with outdoor advertising marketers and its possible tie-up with DD-Nimbus should see the combine use the outdoors extensively. The Sony channels SET and MAX have already started using hoardings but have still not started on the bus-shelter or kiosks channels. JWT's WPP Media has already finalised deals for HLL and other brands, say industry sources.Consumer durable companies such as Akai and LG Electronics will also be using these channels as World Cup excitement builds up.

"The size of the advertising spend is estimated between Rs 1 billion to Rs 1.2 billion in Mumbai, which contributes 40 per cent of the all-India outdoor spend. The estimated share of bus-shelters (Rs 60 million) and kiosks (Rs 30 million) would be around 10 per cent of the total outdoor spend in Mumbai," says Mid-Day Outdoor's general manager Joseph Ramsey.

Mid-day Outdoor has bagged the mandate for hoardings and kiosks on 14 MSRDC flyovers; and the BOT (build, operate, transfer) shelters in the whole city for a period of three years.

"The top advertisers include cigarette companies and FMCGs. TV channels are slowly realising the efficiency of the medium and promising to increase their spends in 2003 - probably due to World Cup cricket. Telecom companies like Airtel have been spending a lot. The beautification options on the Marine Drive also seem to a growing segment," adds Midday's Ramsey.

Till May 2002, Mid-day Outdoor was the monopoly player in the bus-shelters and kiosks business. Currently, Mid-day Outdoor has the bus-shelter rights for South Mumbai (Prabhadevi onwards); kiosks (South Mumbai till Mahim flyover and Sion flyover); BOT donation shelters for the whole city; and hoardings and kiosks for 14 MSRDC flyovers. Mid-day Outdoor added another revenue stream by taking on the challenge of creating the "donation" shelters properties, sourcing clients and maintaining them for a period of three years.

Realising the potential of the segment, players such as The Times of India group's Infotainment division also ventured into the bidding process. Times Infotainment Media has the rights for the suburban areas between Bandra and Dahisar. Times Infotainment senior manager Gurdeep Gill adds, "The major spenders include FMCGs, cigarette companies, banks and insurance companies. The telecom sector is also spending heavily and the entry of Reliance Infocomm should see some major action."

From February 2003, the mandate for kiosks will transfer to DS Mittle & Sons who beat out other bidders such as Mid-Day and The Times of India group. Currently, no advertising is permitted on the kiosks on the western suburbs between Borivali and Mahim causeway as these kiosks are owned by BSES.

Prithvi, the third player, has the rights for bus-shelters in the remaining areas from Sion to Mulund flyover.

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