Ki­netic’s dy­namic duo on dig­i­tal, fu­ture & more...

Outdoor Asia - - Ooh Speak - As told to Reena Me­hta

Ki­netic World­wide, one of the world’s lead­ing plan­ners and buy­ers of the OOH me­dia, is a com­pany that sets store by the con­nect be­tween brands and con­sumer life­styles. Its an­nual re­search re­port ‘Mov­ing World In­dia’ stands as a tes­ti­mony to their com­mit­ment to un­der­stand­ing cus­tomers. The com­pany’s lead­ing men Steve Ridley, CEO -- Global DnG .LnJ LDL, &(2 -- AVLD 3DFL­fiF, ZHUH Ln 0XPEDL DnG 2XWGRRU AVLD VHLzHG WKH RSSRUWXnLWy WR FKDW XS ZLWK WKHP Rn WKHLU RXWORRk IRU WKH RXWGRRU LnGXVWUy ERWK DW WKH nDWLRnDO DnG JOREDO OHvHO. )ROORZLnJ DUH HxFHUSWV IURP WKH LnWHUvLHZ –

Could you tell us how Ki­netic looks at the In­dian mar­ket from a global per­spec­tive? And, what are your plans for In­dia?

Steve - It’s a nice en­vi­ron­ment to be in, In­dia is a very ex­cit­ing place as the will­ing­ness to in­no­vate is very high. Yes there is a cer­tain amount of dis­or­gan­i­sa­tion but you see things cer­tainly get­ting bet­ter. A lot of in­fra­struc­ture is get­ting built in In­dia which will help the OOH in­dus­try. This and the ad­ver­tis­ing me­dia en­vi­ron­ment with their tech savvy con­sumers make it all the more ex­cit­ing. So yes there is a fan­tas­tic fu­ture. But for a mar­ket grow­ing so quickly, con­trol, reg­u­la­tion and or­gan­i­sa­tion are al­ways a chal­lenge. We have promis­ing plans for In­dia; we in­tend to use in­ter­na­tional tech­nol­ogy in In­dia and also take away things from the In­dian mar­ket into other ar­eas. Our fo­cus for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment in In­dia is to spend time build­ing pro­pri­etary plan­ning prod­ucts, pro­pri­etary sys­tems and see how they can fit and as­sist in up­rais­ing the In­dian and other de­vel­op­ing mar­kets.

How is In­dia dif­fer­ent from Asia-Pa­cific re­gion, and how does Ki­netic tackle this dif­fer­ence?

King - Asia like other parts of the world has coun­tries with dif­fer­ent growth rates and dif­fer­ent rates of de­vel­op­ment. For In­dia, along with China and In­done­sia, with its huge scale and pop­u­la­tions, we have big hopes and am­bi­tions. As Steve pointed out, In­dia takes a lot of pride in its in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy. The hu­man cap­i­tal is a huge as­set here and the peo­ple are en­er­getic and very dy­namic in tack­ling any chal­lenge that comes along.

Share with us the pe­cu­liar­i­ties and chal­lenges you see in the In­dian OOH mar­ket? And how does one in­duce san­ity to th­ese is­sues?

Steve – In de­vel­op­ing mar­kets where you have un­prece­dented hy­per growth, the phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment is con­stantly evolv­ing and chang­ing. The OOH sec­tor is most af­fected by this as deal­ing with the phys­i­cal changes in the en­vi­ron­ment is im­per­a­tive in our in­dus­try. Here you need very ro­bust and me­thod­i­cal sys­tems in place that help you man­age this evo­lu­tion. Thus for me de­vel­op­ing th­ese sys­tems is right at the top of the agenda. While the ma­tured mar­kets have es­tab­lished in­fra­struc­tures and ap­pli­ca­tions, in coun­tries like In­dia and China there is leapfrog­ging in terms of adop­tion of knowl­edge. This is both a chal­lenge and an op­por­tu­nity.

In­dian OOH is a tough nut to crack. What is your take on th­ese tur­bu­lent sit­u­a­tions? And, how has Ki­netic man­aged to pass through it?

Steve - There is a lot of churn in the In­dian mar­ket that you see through­out. I think the chal­lenge is when you have clients who are very im­age con­scious and want to make sure their dis­play re­ally says some­thing about the prod­uct. The ex­tra ef­fort that has to go in to make sure that hap­pens and con­tin­ues to hap­pen con­sis­tently is just a bit harder in a mar­ket like In­dia. Re­tail is an in­ter­est­ing space in In­dia. We will see a lot of things hap­pen­ing; things that are so­phis­ti­cated and things which will be dif­fer­ent from the rest of the world. We might even see an oc­ca­sional global for­mat, though it will be slow to catch up. My think­ing is that it go­ing to be about in­fra­struc­ture. King –We have ex­pe­ri­enced pos­i­tive en­ergy and a pos­i­tive out­look in In­dia. So our peo­ple, as com­pared to other play­ers in the mar­ket, are very sta­ble. That is a pos­i­tive in­di­ca­tion that peo­ple are happy where they are and the dy­namic en­vi­ron­ment in the team is for­ward look­ing and pro­gres­sive. We are do­ing new things and mo­ti­vat­ing the peo­ple by chal­leng­ing them and giv­ing them the best.

What is ki­netic’s fo­cus on dig­i­tal? How re­cep­tive is the In­dian mar­ket to dig­i­tal? How does it com­pare with other mar­kets?

SR – It re­ally does vary across the world in terms of de­vel­op­ment. And, it varies in its use across dif­fer­ent coun­tries. China is the most ad­vanced when it comes to dig­i­tal OOH en­vi­ron­ment. There they say – ‘why

bother with some­thing static when you can go dig­i­tal’. One of the key ad­van­tages of hav­ing dig­i­tal me­dia is the fact that you can ad­dress huge quan­ti­ties very quickly and you can change your mes­sage. In the US there was a lot of dig­i­tal de­vel­op­ment and then dur­ing the world eco­nomic cri­sis, the ven­ture cap­i­tal fund which was fu­elling this was dried up. And then there was a rapid con­sol­i­da­tion. I would say that it has lost its way and has not gone to the crit­i­cal masses quickly as one would imag­ine. So I think at this mo­ment there no one coun­try that has the ad­van­tage. In­dia too hasn’t de­vel­oped quickly. But I think when it does hap­pen it will be more evolved tak­ing learn­ing’s from other coun­tries and im­ple­ment­ing them in a more con­struc­tive way, un­like in the US where there was a lot of in­vest­ment go­ing into things that were not in use any­more. It’s an evolv­ing pic­ture in ev­ery mar­ket, but it will be very ex­cit­ing go­ing for­ward from here. There will be real time au­di­ences, but it will change the con­cepts of plan­ning and it’s go­ing to be a brave new world. I be­lieve at some point of time, the cost of the dig­i­tal in­fra­struc­ture will plum­met and it will be more cost ef­fi­cient as com­pared to the tra­di­tional me­dia. At Ki­netic, we know it and we be­lieve in it. We have a sis­ter com­pany in the US that is look­ing at dig­i­tal OOH and is do­ing a lot of au­di­ence based re­search. We have brought some on­line ads on to the dig­i­tal OOH. So we are es­sen­tially tak­ing the money out of on­line and putting it in OOH and thereby ex­pand­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the medium.

Could you share some in­ter­na­tional trends as far as brand spend­ing on OOH is con­cerned?

Steve - There have al­ways been some tra­di­tional stal­warts of the medium who have sup­ported the medium. Tele­com for in­stance, is a strong sup­porter. In a lot of mar­kets there is this great bat­tle be­tween Ap­ple and Samsung and they tend to get this bat­tle onto the street i.e. OOH. Cer­tainly you see con­sumer groups in­creas­ing their spends when the qual­ity of the for­mat changes. Re­mem­ber when UK changed from the stan­dard poster to the back­lit for­mat, all the big con­sumers started spend­ing on the medium be­cause they could get mag­a­zine style qual­ity in the OOH medium. Go­ing for­ward, the op­por­tu­nity lies in un­der­stand­ing the con­sumer, specif­i­cally in un­der­stand­ing the con­sumer jour­ney and how it dif­fers with dif­fer­ent de­mo­graphic pro­file, dif­fer­ent prod­uct cat­e­gories and at dif­fer­ent times of the day. That in­nate un­der­stand­ing makes the dif­fer­ence

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