‘Need more re­search in­vest­ments from the in­dus­try’

Noomi Me­hta, Chair­man & Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Selvel One Group & Chair­man - IOAA

Outdoor Asia - - Edia Wner's Take -

OOH Clut­ter – The so­lu­tion

Clut­ter can only be avoided if the rules and reg­u­la­tions of the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are strictly fol­lowed by the in­dus­try peo­ple. The en­force­ment by the au­thor­i­ties should be even-handed and equal. If it is not equally im­ple­mented, peo­ple will al­ways try to find a way to break the rules in or­der to find an equal plat­form. This is the only way a so­lu­tion for OOH clut­ter could be found.

Reg­u­la­tion of the in­dus­try

OOH has to be reg­u­lated in or­der to sur­vive and surely will be be­cause it is al­most at the tip­ping point in In­dia. In my opin­ion self-reg­u­la­tion is the best way to ap­proach this prob­lem and the joint ini­tia­tive of all the me­dia own­ers from this out­door in­dus­try will help the mar­ket get reg­u­lated. In the ab­sence of self-reg­u­la­tion Govern­ment reg­u­la­tion is in­evitable. This will be much more painful. Delhi is a great ex­am­ple of the con­se­quences of re­fusal to fol­low norms and reg­u­la­tions. Out­door ad­ver­tis­ing was banned in 1997 for sev­eral years and has only re­cently staged a come­back in a highly reg­u­lated form. In the in­ter­val OOH worth sev­eral hun­dred crores of ru­pees per an­num was de­stroyed. In the near fu­ture if rea­son­able norms and prin­ci­ples are not fol­lowed, other towns and cities would face the same fate.

Dig­i­tal OOH

Dig­i­tal OOH has al­ready been in­tro­duced in In­dia. At present it is at a very nascent stage and his­tor­i­cally any new tech­nol­ogy at least takes a few years to in­cu­bate in any new mar­ket. In In­dia dig­i­tal print­ing took 3 to 4 years to ex­plode. In Dig­i­tal the growth will be seen not be­fore 3-5 years down the line. Any new tech­nol­ogy though is not some­thing which can be su­per im­posed by the me­dia own­ers. At the ini­tial stage me­dia own­ers may in­tro­duce it to the out­door ad­ver­tis­ing mar­ket but the de­mand from the clients will ul­ti­mately de­cide its fate in In­dia. There are dif­fer­ent forms of Dig­i­tal Out­door: LCD screens which are nor­mally found in­doors, LED screens which are used out­doors and come in gi­ant sizes and are ex­tremely ex­pen­sive, smart phone dig­i­tal ads with dig­i­tal coupons and down­load op­tions with NFC ca­pa­bil­i­ties/or bar code ca­pac­i­ties etc. Only a few of th­ese will be suc­cess­ful and al­ready the land­scape of LCD screens has been lit­tered with fail­ures. LED screens are ex­pen­sive and the price of sites has to be rea­son­ably high for clients to agree to share time and space by ex­ploit­ing this new tech­nol­ogy. It is per­haps the right time to in­vest in dig­i­tal for­mats though the quan­tum of in­vest­ment is high con­sid­er­ing the In­dian OOH space at present be­cause it is in­ter­na­tion­ally at its low­est ever and is not ex­pected to re­duce much fur­ther. Price is the main rea­son why it will take time to get ac­cepted by the nu­mer­ous small com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the In­dian mar­ket. The max­i­mum mar­ket share we could ex­pect Dig­i­tal OOH to grab would be around 5-10% of the to­tal OOH mar­ket, start­ing in the next 3-5 years.

Credit is­sues – The so­lu­tion

IOAA is try­ing to con­trol the credit is­sues in a ma­jor way and each of the mem­bers in the body should re­alise the grav­ity of this is­sue and en­sure their full back­ing. IOAA is the ideal plat­form for the in­dus­try to take a stance. Our con­ver­sa­tions with the AAAI leave us hope­ful of find­ing and As­so­ci­a­tion to As­so­ci­a­tion so­lu­tion. Once our Me­moran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing is fi­nalised and signed we are hope­ful things will fall into place.

Mea­sur­ing the medium

It can surely be mea­sured as is the norm in more de­vel­oped mar­kets. In In­dia the prob­lem is the way it is ap­proached. All the me­dia own­ers as a body have to be more pro­fes­sional and back the pro­ject with sub­stan­tial fi­nan­cial re­sources. I be­lieve that good Mar­ket Re­search will help us get at least an­other 2% of the to­tal Ad­ver­tis­ing Pie. That would mean in­creas­ing the OOH share by an­other 700 crore ru­pees! In the fu­ture this fig­ure would keep in­creas­ing. I am as­ton­ished that we would rather spend crores of Ru­pees in un­der­hand tac­tics than in­vest a few lakhs of Ru­pees each for a solid study! I be­lieve that a steady in­vest­ment of just Rs 5 crore per an­num by the en­tire in­dus­try will lift us to un­seen heights in just a few years. If we sit tight re­fus­ing to look ahead pre­fer­ring to suf­fer from my­opia our share of voice will keep de­te­ri­o­rat­ing un­til we are too weak to fight and will sim­ply be sit­ting ducks for hunters hun­gry for a slice of the In­dian mar­ket, whether In­dian or for­eign.

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