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Out-of-Home is In

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Though times are tough, the OOH sector will continue to clock steady growth, says Out-Of-Home Media chief executive officer Ishan Raina.

Recently, I have been swamped with queries about trends and happenings on the Out-of-Home industry. And it feels good. This shows that the industry is thinking out-of-home and is looking upbeat. Out-of-Home is in.

The last year has seen a flurry of movements in OOH due to legislation issues. Although a tough year for the industry on that aspect, this has been a move for the better. We can now expect more innovation and widening horizons as agencies and the media owners are thinking beyond traditional.

Suddenly, we see a spurt of street furniture being used across cities. Newer formats of outdoor media are seeing the light of the day. Not just media formats, but creativity in using the media effectively also points to the fact that creative agencies, who are the brand custodians, are taking OOH seriously. The use of ambient media, for instance, is another development. So, if you take a walk down any street in a city like Mumbai, you can be absolutely sure that you won‘t feel bored for a moment!

With the audiences now moving out of their residences more often to newer public avenues along with the boom in the real-estate scenario (barring the current situation) such as malls, multiplexes, public entertainment zones, corporate parks, socialising hubs etc, out-of-home has exploited this trend really well.

SEC A audiences frequent to these locations, which gives the advertiser a plum of OOH advertising opportunities to put his monies on. With the Western influence seeping in, a need was felt to experiment with sleeker, technologically advanced media. The onset of digital media and its growth shows that advertisers have adapted to digital media like LEDs, OOH TV etc. quite well. From just two to now about six players already in the digital OOH TV market, this medium is making a huge impression upon the end-users‘ and hence, the marketers‘ mind. Today we have grown to about a Rs 15 billion industry (static and digital inclusive).

The specialty of OOH is the ability of an advertiser to customise his communication and buy as per his budgets. For example, OOH Media offers the tool of Flexicast - which can be explained as the ability / flexibility to telecast brand communication on Out-of-Home Media screens as per the advertisers‘ choice of city, location, target audience etc. Advertisers can, thus, use our medium or any OOH medium for various reasons like for instance to launch a brand, add frequency to their overall campaign, act as a reminder medium, etc depending on their needs. For instance, OOH Media, being the only AV media in an out-of-home environment, has the advantage of adding frequency to TV, and visual to radio, print and outdoor media campaigns.

So whether it is finance, telecom, auto, FMCG, real estate, consumer durables, apparels, media…..any and every advertiser from a small retailer to a multi-crore MNC can use the OOH medium effectively. We have seen advertisers from finance, auto, FMCG, apparels, consumer durables, telecom, real estate, media, tourism, etc use our medium quite a lot.

Legislations have been an issue especially for traditional media, but since we are in an indoor environment, these issues have not affected us much. The fact remains that OOH still remains a fragmented and unorganised industry. Our first step towards making it organised was to launch OOH Metrics - the first ever large scale research on Digital Out-of-Home TV media in India, by OOH Media and Nielsen. The research profiles the likely audience as well as substantiates footfall figures. With a scientific approach to OOH TV, advertisers and agencies are considering the medium seriously.

Though times are tough currently, my take is that advertisers will not stop spending as such on OOH, but will be more prudent and cautious. Value for money and effectiveness will be under scrutiny. That‘s where metrics will come into play. Innovations will be a crucial factor and flexibility to adjust around the advertisers‘ needs will be required.

OOH is a growing medium and will continue to grow. With so many technological advances already making news, we can look forward to a steady year ahead.

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