Most people would agree that media is going through a revolution. Increased globalisation, clients wanting more international appointments and a more consistent delivery and the effect this is having on international agency networks, who need to deliver an integrated and consistent offering. At the same time, convergence is accelerating and consumer behaviour is changing, empowered by technology. The recession did not act as a pause button on the changing behaviour.
If we consider a few statistics, we can see how the pace of change is accelerating and not slowing down. The consumer is in charge. Everyone is a broadcaster – 20 million bloggers, 4 billion photos on Flickr, 55 million tweets a day. Everyone is connected – 500 million people are now on Facebook, 25 per cent of the world’s population is now online and half of new connections are mobile. In India, the latest predictions are that by 2015, there will be 260 million mobile Internet subscribers. This will revolutionise how advertisers communicate with consumers when they are out of home.
The recession forced many companies to take a hard look at where they were investing to ensure that the investment is relevant to the changing communications environment. The recession in a sense accelerated the changes needed to adapt to a new media world.
The old ways of working are changing. Partnerships and collaborations are the new relationships rather than the more traditional buyer-supplier approach.
There are less ‘silos’ as everyone in the communications business needs to work in a different way in an inter-related and interconnected world. In a developing market like India, this means that OOH is moving quickly from being a commodity medium to a medium that is increasingly used by advertisers to deliver more strategically. Flexibility, accountability, innovation and better quality are being demanded by advertisers, who are looking how best to connect with the consumer outside the home.
And of course, the development of digital OOH means that the medium will be able to offer much more depth to advertisers through engagement and connectivity. Although much of the digital development in India is yet to happen, no one doubts that it will become more and more evident. As new shopping malls and airports are built, the chances are they will be 100 per cent digital, so the transformation of the medium will accelerate.
There has been better collaboration in 2010 at the supply end of the Indian OOH market with better trade practices being introduced and a recognition that if the outdoor industry works together to increase professionalism and accountability, the medium will grow.
India is becoming increasingly important to global advertisers. Developing markets like China start with digital as an option, and this will happen in India. The year 2010 has shown us that new ways of working, new partnerships and innovations are very much part of the Indian OOH market. The opportunity for OOH is immense, but there is work to be done. This opportunity will be optimised by increasing accountability, increasing collaboration across the industry, and increased innovation.
The developments in OOH in 2010 in India give us cause to be optimistic about this market. If the industry builds on the momentum, invests in evidence, continues to collaborate and stays committed to improving trade practices, OOH in India will quickly become a must have for global advertisers.
(Annie Rickard is President, Posterscope Worldwide.)