Rocky road for Digital OOH?

12 Dec,2011

By Robin Thomas


The ‘Global Digital Out-of-Home Media Forecast 2011-2015’ revealed Digital Out-Of-Home media as the fastest growing media in the world with the US as the largest global market and China, the fastest growing.


However, in India, the medium is yet to make a huge impact. Advertisers are said to be sceptical about investing in the medium due to the lack of an effective measurement system, which is seen as the single biggest challenge. In fact, the effectiveness of digital out-of-home, as per experts, is not evangelized to advertisers and media planners, and as a result, India has not been able to catch up with some other markets.


Ishan Raina, MD and CEO, OOH Media observed, “The OOH TV medium in India is still in its growth phase. India provides tremendous opportunities to advertisers to reach out to their target group. This has also resulted in the development of various new media formats, and 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.”


According to industry estimates, the OOH industry, estimated to be around Rs 1,500 crore, commands around 15 to 20 percent of the total advertising share, of which digital Out-of-Home commands 1 to 2 percent and is expected to further grow to 4 to 5 percent in the next two years. It has telecom, banking and finance as its top spenders, among other categories such as retail, FMCG, consumer durables, education and media.


OOH media players are very optimistic about its future in India, and feel that as infrastructure develops, the economy grows and consumers spend more time out of home, there is high possibility for the medium to grow tremendously.


Gourav Tandon, Managing Partner, Apex Integrated Marketing said, “India is still at a very nascent stage; however I strongly believe that digital OOH has immense potential in the Indian OOH scenario. The transition has already begun and we do have very large format digital media in places like Gurgaon. Clients today are immensely demanding and the onus is on the agencies to provide high quality mediums.”


For Digital OOH to grow, there has to be significant number of innovations in the medium, the effectiveness of the medium also has to be evangelised to the advertisers and the media planners, and most of all the industry must come together for an effective measurement tool for digital out-of-home.


R Venkata Subramanian, Senior Director-Investments, MPG India said, “Advertisers are still sceptical about Digital OOH as there is no effective measurement in place. It is a very good medium and its future is bright, the only draw is the lack of effective measurement to showcase the effectiveness of the medium. However Digital OOH is growing and one of the reasons is because consumers are increasingly spending most of their time out of home.”


But not all are so positive about the potential of the Digital OOH industry. Ashish Pherwani, Associate Director, Advisory Services Ernst & Young said, “I currently don’xt see Digital OOH crossing 4 to 6 percent of the total OOH segment in the next two years. It requires a different mindset to create ads for Digital OOH, as well as a separate sales technique.”


Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, underlined the need for a scientific exploration of the Digital OOH space. “Digital OOH is a medium with potential, but I do not believe the potential has been exploited. What is needed is a scientific exploration of this space. It is time for digital OOH companies to do pressure tests in limited number of cities to prove the efficacy and true value of the medium. As of today, there is a gap in terms of acceptance and faith in this medium, and in the bargain, the medium writes a self-fulfilling prophesy of stagnation in terms of value and use,” he said.

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