Malls are great for Digital: Ishan Raina

27 Sep,2011

Ishan Raina, CEO & MD, OOH Media India Pvt Ltd is an advertising veteran. An IIM Calcutta Alumni, Raina was one of the first industry experts to stress that it was important to engage consumer at various touch points.  The changing lifestyle today has proved his conviction true. In a conversation with Ritu Midha of MXM India, elaborates on the evolving OOH medium, advent of digital OOH and measurement. Excerpts:

Q: How do you see Digital OOH growing in India vis-à-vis other media?

The Out of home TV medium in India is about four years old and still in its growth phase. But the medium has grown a lot as compared to what it was four years ago. It was a conceptual selling at that point of time where the challenge was not only in growing the company but also growing the industry as a whole. Today people understand this medium and the future prospect of this medium. The change in the lifestyle trends of the consumers and media fragmentation has led to the growth of this industry. Time spent for consuming traditional mediums is also getting shorter. OOH TV being an SEC ‘A’ focused medium adds dynamism to the existing media plan of the clients for their brands.

Today OOH industry commands 15-20 percent of the total advertising share.  Digital OOH TV has 15 percent of this share ie 1-2 percent of the overall advertising budget. The biggest challenge is to grow the size of the market which is still at a growth stage. We need to grow this to 4-5 percent in the next two years.

Today we have over 300 clients from across categories from Automobiles, Finance, Telecom, Retail (Luxury, Apparels etc), Media, FMCG, Consumer Durables, Travel & Tourism, Education etc. using us for various reasons /campaigns. In brief, since the industry is still emerging and not yet mainstream media, there is immense scope for new clients, categories and growth. While starting new clients & categories has been difficult, repeat clients have been relatively easier, due to good formal (research) & informal (word of mouth) feedback.

Q: In terms of new types of Digital OOH advertising, how does India compare with US, China and Europe?

In India there is certainly a considerable change in the lifestyle of consumers today. People spend more and more time out of home whether it is in their offices, malls, multiplexes, restaurants, gymnasiums, bookstores etc. This change in the lifestyle trends of the consumers and media fragmentation has led to the growth of this industry. OOH television networks adds a great value as it follows these consumers wherever they are thus becoming the only medium present in a day of the life of a consumer.

India is a growing market and thus provides tremendous opportunities to advertisers to reach out to their target group. This has also resulted in the development of various new media formats with digital OOH being one of them. In general, Digital OOH space is expected to see a tremendous growth in the future, given the expected infrastructural growth, increased amount of time spent outside home, and the general economy boom in the coming years.

China is the largest market in the world for digital OOH TV, and our strategic partner Focus Media, is the global leader. In Europe as in the US this medium has become more of a point of sale medium and not a “day in the life of an SEC A consumer” as it is in emerging markets, such as India and China.


Q: What part of media spends goes into Digital OOH?

Digital OOH TV commands 1-2 percent of the overall 24,000 cr advertising industry. This will grow to 4-5 percent in the next 2 years. About 80 per cent of this would belong to 2-3 national players and we hope to continue being the revenue leaders of digital OOH TV industry. Digital OOH advertising is emerging as an integral part of the media mix for advertisers, and is being used by them for various companies and launches.

Q: Is measurement still an issue with Digital OOH advertising and promotions? What kind of research is now being done to measure?

In Digital OOH format, we understood the gap of measurement in traditional OOH and thus initiated OOH Metrics, which is today India’s first ever large scale digital Out-Of-Home TV research. Out-of-Home media conducted this research in association with Nielsen – world’s leading provider of marketing information and audience measurement.

OOH Metrics is the only Metrics available in Outdoor Audio Visual space as of now conducted to understand the Demographic profile of the people and the audience behaviour. It is the study done across 8 cities, conducted by Neilsen, with a sample size of almost 15,000. OOH Media also does campaign research for the brand advertisers on OOH screens to quantify and qualify the viewership.

We have done over 100 Campaign Evaluation Studies across categories like Auto, Telecom, Finance, FMCG, IT and many more to find the recall of ads through this medium. The results have been encouraging which have resulted in long term relations with clients.

Q: If we look at geographical segmentation – do some parts of the country respond better to Digital OOH than others? Similarly would the trends vary in metros and non-metros?

Digital OOH is value for money in metros but as you go down the chain that is tier 2 and tier 3 cities, it becomes an expensive option because of the availability of the regional formats. So Digital OOH is actually a medium for major 8 metros with good density & quality of audience or locations.  This will change over time.

Q: To what extent has the advent of mall culture and modern retail helped the cause of Digital OOH. And how do you see it contributing five years from now?

The OOH TV format has actually evolved tremendously in Offices / Commercial Bldgs and Tech Parks / Residential complexes, Gymnasiums as well as large format malls / multiplexes / Modern Trade. There is a constant evolution of infrastructure (malls and hypermarkets) which is bringing the radical change in lifestyle and spending patterns of consumers. These In-stores facilities offer a wonderful opportunity for Branding of various products at the “point of purchase”. Thus greater the increase in number of In-store networks more is the opportunity to utilize these networks as a medium of advertising and creating a top of mind recall. Digital OOH media is strategically present in In-store locations with more than 2000 screens in Malls, lifestyle stores, Supermarkets. Digital OOH adds a lot to the communication by being the only audio- visual medium and thus we can say the medium is increasingly becoming effective and is here to stay for a long time.

Q: What as per you are emerging trends in Digital OOH advertising?

Audience, not screens, is the Mantra:  The quality and quantity of audiences that the screens provide, is what is the ultimate driver for this medium and the differentiator between different brands in the medium.

Localisation / Customisation of Messages: OOH Media has been the most flexible medium today and gives a chance to slice and dice the message of the campaign as per the kind of audience an advertiser would like to reach. The client can select the locations, cities, frequency and language as per their requirements. Flexicasting provides an advantage of getting as local as possible just like an outdoor but with the power and capability of Audio-Visual.

Relevance is the new king: The role of content is thus becoming very important in this medium and OOH Media continuously experiments with content to make it more relevant for the audiences and thus attracting more eyeballs. Content Integration helps in creating a contextual connect for the brands. OOH Media customizes in-house content as per the client’s requirement and offering to make it contextual.

Connect with consumer: The medium offers an advantage of Flexicreation i.e. creating customized ads and content according to the kind of audience the client wants to reach and also the kind of locations they want to advertise in. Flexicreation for the same medium is impossible in any other audio visual medium. The future will be and has to be the contextualization of the content and advertising messages.

Q: How effective are touch screen kiosks and how best can they be utilized by the advertisers?

It is still early  days – not currently scalable. Our model is ‘Push’ to the consumers, where as Kiosks rely on consumers to take some action.

Q: A lot of money is being spent on airport advertising? Is it just the premium customer that lures the advertisers there – or is the recall value much higher of airport ads?

Airports are a very effective locations –and of course brands advertise there to target a specific target group.

Q: How powerful is OOH as part of experiential marketing?

Its part of the experience currently, not really experiential marketing or interactive marketing. What OOH TV ensures is great recall across Sec ‘A’ and increasing also reach in select locations where due to media fragmentation and audience habits, OOH TV is actually the first time the audience is exposed to the advertising.

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One response to “Malls are great for Digital: Ishan Raina”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Digital OOH is currently the most active ATL media engagement platform. Numerous examples of Digital OOH innovations abroad, prove the fact that eyeballs get glues faster outdoor, esp. during weekends, when customers are much receptive to innovative ways of communication.

    However, OOH and especially Digital OOH in India will depend on the time your customers are ready to spend outdoor – and that excludes office or work related outdoor activities.

    Secondly, while push is the current strategy and potential, innovative ways to incorporate interactive means will definitely improve ROI. There’s no reason why AR (augmented reality) cannot be incorporated within existing use of Digital OOH locations, e.g. large format malls, Metro stations, Airports, etc.

    Thirdly, Digital OOH at best is still heavily clustered around select few locations. Locational innovation (i.e. converting an existing location into meaningful OOH ad space, as per its locational flavor) is overall missing!