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Pramod Bhandula

COO | 18 May 2005

“Regulation for outdoor advertising is still a distant dream .We are looking forward to have them in place. The international players will play a vital role in forcing the government to have the laws and regulations in place for uniformity.”

Pramod Bhandula left his village for Delhi in 1975 with dreams of making it big one day when he joined Selvel. And for 30 years Bhandula has stuck to the company, proving his mettle along the way. He began his career with Selvel as a Sales Representative. Today, he is the COO, and confident of facing the challenge of international players who are making a beeline for the Indian OOH industry. Excerpts from a conversation with Sumita Patra of exchange4media:

Q. Q: How is outdoor advertising evolving as an industry? How different is the OOH industry compared to what it was few years back?

A: Outdoors has come of age. A lot of international players are entering the fray and they are going to make a difference. We are on way to attain maturity as an industry.

Q. Q: How friendly are government regulations on outdoor advertising at present?

A: Regulation for outdoor advertising is still a distant dream .We are looking forward to have them in place. The international players will play a vital role in forcing the government to have the laws and regulations in place for uniformity.

Q. Q: How has outdoor advertising grown, vis-à-vis print, television or radio?

A: Outdoor advertising has grown but not at the expected rate due to non-existence of regulations and laws. The growth that other media have have witnessed has not happened in our case; OOH is yet to get that kind of boost. Outdoor is still seen as a remainder media.

Q. Q: How do you see the outdoor market scenario in India at present vis-a vis the global market?

A: At present it’s small but with international players coming in, it will grow tremendously and will have a bigger pie of ad spends. It has to have a regulation first in place; with regulations in place innovations are bound to happen. If we have proper regulations, then we can compete with anybody in the world.

Q. Q: What are the factors on which the growth of outdoor is dependent?

A: The growth of outdoor advertising in India is dependent on rules and regulations. The regulations have to be in place in order to drive the growth of this industry. The economy is booming. Outdoor is an established media that you really cannot ignore. It has its own value. Nowadays people prefer to venture out a lot, so that will also be a major factor that will help the OOH industry grow.

Q. Q: What are the major challenges facing the outdoor industry?

A: Lack of vision for future growth of our cities, how they should look, especially the skyline, is one of the challenges. Besides, another major challenge which one can think of is that the industry is not consolidated, there are lots of small players around. That is also a major hurdle.

Q. Q: With new players entering the OOH space, how geared up are you to face the competition?

A: Traditionally we have always been the first. When digital printing happened, we were the first to bring that technology to India -- the first monopole structure in India was put up by us on a foot overbridge in Kolkata with escalators and elevator. We are equipped and ready to face and compete with the latest.

Q. Q: What new trends can advertisers look forward to in the OOH sector in India?

A: Street furniture, advertising in malls, mobile advertising, LEDs and ad junctions are some of the trends which advertisers can look forward to.

Q. Q: What is the size of the OOH industry in India today?

A: The OOH industry is estimated at Rs 1,000 crore at present. I expect OOH to grow by 16 per cent in the coming year. And, if we talk about the next few years, I guess it would cross Rs 2,000 crore in the next five years.

Q. Q: Can you share with us your client portfolio?

A: All the communication, electronic, financial, consumer goods, real estate, print media and electronic media form our client list.

Q. Q: Would you like to share with us some recent innovations that you have done for your clients?

A: We created a backlit mobile van with neon and 3D cut-outs for Sony Electronics. It was appreciated a lot.

Q. Q: Can you share with us some of the brands/companies which in your view have done some remarkable work in the outdoor media?

A: Hutch, Airtel, Times of India, Kingfisher Airlines, among others, have gone if for some great outdoor work.

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