‘Why look international? Why can’t we have our own standards?’
Mandeep Malhotra President, DDB MudraMax
Measuring the medium
I have been fighting the battle for measurement like many among my peers have been. There have been numerous efforts done whether at the organization level or at the industry level. Unfortunately, we have all decided to pull everyone and the matrix down rather than working on them to make the process better. We have always felt challenged and said it doesn’t work because of self-centered reasons. But I want to now create my own battle field and measurement even if it may be appreciated only by a few. I think I have a responsibility to return back to the industry whatever I have got from it. The onus is now on me to build certain tools and make them available. It is up to others, whether they want to use them or not. I am putting a lot at stake to ensure that the industry grows because what you leave behind for the next generation is you what you have done in your lifetime. I want to leave behind a measurable medium and I would like to leave an equipped medium in place to take the second layer forward, rather than fighting for the same pie. So we will have something of our own coming up soon.
Challenges in OOH
Lack of unanimity is the biggest problem here. The attitude has more to do with ME than WE. I am not against competitiveness but I am totally against getting to the top to pull somebody down; that is not the way of working. We can achieve more by qualitative work and not by kick shorts.
Credit issues faced by media owners
I don’t think there are any credit issues. It is a diversified business, so from a small Rs 2000 billboard to a Rs 20 lakh billboard there are variants that exist. As far as I am concerned; we thankfully in our organization don’t have credit issues as long as documentation is in order. If there is lapse in documentation, then media owners need to put the process in place as well. DDB MudraMax has already put in the act four years ago. The result is that, except for maybe one or two in the last 4 years, there have been no credit issues. Now people understand that it is not a one time business and can’t afford to forget paying the bills. If processes are in place then I don’t think credit issues exist.
Reaching international standards
Why do we want to match international standards? Why can’t we have our own standards? Why can’t we build a benchmark the rest of the world looks up to? The rest of the world already looks up to us for various industries, but not in OOH for sure. But I love the way the OOH industry works in India. Tell me one media owner or agency which would say that I can’t deliver a campaign in 48 hours? The business here is very different from that in Europe and other developed markets. I don’t want to assume any benchmark. I have seen the media overseas; and it is as shabby as it is in India. The only difference is that they have access to infrastructure which India doesn’t. I don’t get intimidated by the developed markets. We are doing a good job though we always need an improvement now and then. Indian OOH should be able to communicate the brand message at the right place and in the right form to the right audience. This is my ultimate desire now. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seen. But if I can’t even dream, then I can’t even work towards it.
I don’t think there is anything called digital outdoor in India. But I will probably be the first one to jump on the electronic medium and vouch for it to all the brands. I am personally kicked about being able to control the communication sitting remotely across the nation with a wide network and at an affordable cost. I think we are really looking forward to that.