‘Planning is still gut based’
OOH Clutter – The solution
Clutter exists everywhere. Not just in OOH, but also in Print, TV, radio and now in digital too. Breaking the clutter and using the medium effectively needs a collaborative effort from the client, agency (including the creative agency) and the media owner. If the strategy is right then the client will surely find value in the effort and investment in creating campaigns that break clutter and stand out. Most of the time, we see campaigns that do not come with a sincere effort of captivating the TG and are only driven at creating just another option of advertisement.
Regulation of the industry
We are observing the interest of the government agencies in the industry which is reflected in the beautification and other PPP (Public-Private Partnership) projects in various cities across the country. I think that is the beginning of regulation in a form. Most of these initiatives are capital intensive projects where only serious and organised players get through. Once more such projects are rolled out and new mediums are developed, it will naturally shun the small players from the industry which are mostly causing the chaos through unauthorised/ illegal structures. This will also result in some form of consolidation among the industry. Besides, IOAA has taken initiatives like the SOP which if implemented efficiently could regulate a lot of existing practices.
Digital OOH is not unknown in India. It has been introduced long back but really hasn’t taken off. With very few LEDs at a few metros and Category A towns in India, we haven’t seen much of DOOH finding its place. I primarily see two reasons for DOOH to be a far off dream. One, India overall does not really have a night culture like one would experience in Shanghai, Macau or the Vegas. Digital OOH being mostly an illuminated/ LED phenomenon does not finds its place here and remains restricted to indoor opportunities like Malls, ambient, airport, etc. Secondly, if we look at the bigger picture of India going beyond category A towns, most towns have power deficiency which is a significant premise for Digital OOH to take place. In the Rural1 and Rural2 segments we are still struggling with the basic hygiene of outdoor media. However, digital video networks (smaller screens) have made good in-roads in most of the ambient locations like café outlets, malls, office complexes, etc. across the country. I am not very sure if they are making money but I see them around when I travel.
Credit issues – The solution
IOAA was I believe formed to take up this as one of their main objectives but I feel the association has not really reached out to the larger market. For example, I am the only member of the association in my entire region – North East where there are almost 50 players. IOAA needs to reach out and become powerful and only then they can take up the credit issues. Otherwise, the cycle will keep moving from the various stakeholder doors with very few actually adding value to the process other than delaying it.
Measuring the medium
OOH can be measured and must be measured. OOH is being measured through various metrics across America and the EU (not sure about other markets). A new development in the American OOH industry is the “EyesOn” metrics. The previous, and less granular, metric was DEC (Daily Effective Circulation), which measured the number of people who could potentially encounter an advertisement, fundamentally a measurement of total foot traffic. The Traffic Audit Bureau spent five years developing the Eyes-On metric, which measures the number of people who will actually see an advertisement by taking into consideration factors such as an ad’s positioning along the road, size and format. Eyes-On also provides advertisers with a larger set of demographic measurements, increasing the ability to deploy more targeted OOH marketing efforts. For marketers evaluating the effectiveness of their advertising efforts, intermediate metrics such as “Eyes-On” will provide a richer data set that should hopefully give marketers a more precise determination of how dollars spent on OOH advertising drive financial outcomes such as revenue and profit. We can still continue to be without any metrics but introducing a well-researched and accepted metrics will add some science and mathematics to our planning which is largely gut-based today.