Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising has been a poor cousin in terms of ad spends for years as compared to television and print. However, fevelopments in the digital arena have heralded a new revolution in these ‘traditional’ mediums, with tracking and measurement benefiting a lot from these developments.
OOH advertising has been getting its share of benefits from the digital revolution in the form of newer display options and even some tracking tools. Measurement has been almost negligible for the medium, but with the advent of LCD displays and digital signages, research has developed a lot in this field.
Moderating the session on ‘Its Drive Time for OOH’, AP Parigi, Chairman, FICCI Radio Forum, and MD, ENIL & Director, Bennett & Coleman Group, which owns Times OOH, shared his thoughts on the ‘fast growing industry’. Talking about the positive aspects of the medium, he set the stage for Dennis Sullivan, a UK-based outdoor advertising industry advisor.
Recounting from his international experience, Sullivan through his presentation shared some of the most appealing OOH advertisements from around the world. Observing that “OOH advertising is at the brink of growth, and India must act fast and grow with others”, Sullivan further said that India should also stay there. Calling OOH the only pure form of advertising, he explained that all other traditional mediums like print and television had other content to support them. “Outdoor advertising is the only medium, which stands on its own creativity. There is no other content or distribution mechanism to support them, nor are there any possibilities of targeting specific consumer groups. Outdoor advertising has the power to evoke emotions too,” he pointed out.
Noting that there had been an unprecedented growth in the last five years globally, Sullivan pointed out that outdoor advertising occupied a 6.5 per cent share of the advertising pie, effectively translating to $35 billion. Reasoning the growth, he said, “The lifestyle patterns of consumers are fast changing and drive-time of families have increased. Most importantly, time spent for consuming traditional mediums is also getting shorter.”
Continuing his insights from the international market, Sullivan further talked about the huge investments taking place in audience measurement internationally and gave the example of POSTAR. In his presentation, he further continued to stress about the importance of digital in the medium.
Coming on next, Partho Dasgupta, CEO, Future Media, shared his experiences. Talking about the dramatic changes in the Indian outdoor advertising landscape, he pointed out the changing consumption basket for Indian consumers. “Outdoor is catching more attention span of the consumers than ever before,” he said, pointing out that media brands were increasingly investing more on outdoor advertising than ever before.
In his presentation on ‘Digital media in the OOH advertising industry’, David Dorfman, Senior VP, Lehman Brothers, New York, talked about the investment opportunities in the space. Interestingly, GS Strategic Investments (Goldman Sachs) and LB India Holdings Mauritius II (Lehman Brothers) had subscribed to equity shares of Times Innovative Media (TIM), the OOH media subsidiary of ENIL, for a total of Rs 200 crore in January 2008.
Giving his perspective from the point of view of the US market, Dorfman said that “banning tobacco brands to advertise on highways and roads has turned out to be a big push for developing the OOH advertising industry in the US as they contribute close to 15 per cent of the entire OOH industry”. He went on to talk about how digital technologies had been instrumental in creating newer display mediums for the domain, and further developed the measurement mechanisms.