OOH ad industry could take a hit due to COVID-19

TV and radio could benefit from people staying home.

MUMBAI: The pandemic of COVID19 continues to take a toll on every possible industry; the advertising world is no exception. With people being asked to stay indoors, the impact on the OOH industry could be huge. Though the cases are currently restricted to just a few cities in the country, further escalation could damage the OOH segment.

Laqshya Media  group CEO Atul Shrivastava says: “OOH ad spending could feel a negative impact if the social distancing and isolation measures that have emerged in some cities expand to larger territories. Consumers in India with significant numbers of reported COVID-19 cases are already actively avoiding large public places and gatherings, and that may eventually impact advertisers’ willingness to advertise there as well. For now, however, we are not making any other major adjustments to our business forecasts because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our forecasts are for the full year, and there is still a strong possibility that the virus could be contained in the coming months, allowing for a rebound in H2 2020. Most of the times, the bulk of ad spending takes place in the latter part of the year for the holiday & festive season.”

Meanwhile, the impact of COVID-19 is likely to cause a significant growth in viewership on YouTube, OTT platforms and television. This will come as an alternative to the 3-hour travel journey each day.

"With the disappointment of IPL being postponed, OTT and other online content platforms will be the only space. People will catch up with series, movies and podcasts they have missed and explore new content. Online classes will prosper as people may set out to learn a new language or skill, as will a lot of the content on YouTube, especially children's content as parents will try to find a way to keep kids indoors and busy,” says GoBisbo Broadcasting Network founder Shakir Ebrahim.

Akund Communications founder Sadiya Khan differs in her view. She says that considering the self-imposed isolation that we are all moving towards, people in the coming days would spend more time at home with family while watching news channels. Most online content that's viewed on mobile devices in transit would be a second priority to this.

“As consumers try to keep themselves informed and entertained at home, advertisers too would bring down ad spends on online platforms and opt for mainstream coverage,” she further adds.

The spread of coronavirus has caused a sense of unprecedented uncertainty for Indian advertising. The ad world is already pivoting and adapting a few measures as a result of the outbreak. Overall brand spending could take at least a temporary hit, and agencies and brands need to think proactively about how to tackle the situation.

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