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Pramod Bhandula

Managing Director | 03 Dec 2007

“In India, as cities are becoming more affluent, the proliferation of leisure activities such as cafes, bars, late-night leisure centres, gyms and cineplexes have combined to offer a lifestyle that is increasingly out-of-home. A typical person in India is now more likely than before to come into contact with some form of outdoor advertising on a daily basis.”

Pramod Bhandula has a strong experience in the out-of-home segment. He began his career with Selvel Media Services as a Sales Representative. Having spent 30 years in the company, he rose to be its COO, before he joined JCDecaux India as Managing Director. He has been instrumental in making changes in the OOH in the country. Under his leadership, JCDecaux launched the Indian subsidiary, JCDecaux India.

In this conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha, Bhadula talks about JCDecaux’s works in India, the OOH industry in India, and more. Excerpts:

Q. When and what made JCDecaux enter the Indian outdoor scene?

JCDecaux entered the Indian market in 2006 with the street furniture win for New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). NDMC had floated a global tender for the same sometime in October 2005. Realising the quality requirements, NDMC wanted leading international players in state-of-the-art-street furniture, keeping in view the Common Wealth Games in 2010. They wanted to give an international look and feel to the city of Delhi, and JCDecaux was the winning partner for the same.

Q. The outdoor media has seen the entry of some big players in recent times – News Outdoor, Times Group and many others. How do you plan to beat competition?

The Indian market is growing at a very fast pace and there is place for everybody. OOH advertising is a segment that has great potential, but as a medium, it was not being utilised to the best of its capacity. We respect our competition and there is some good work being done by others too. We prefer the quality of the OOH media that we have installed on the streets to do the talking.

Q. What are the technological advances that the medium is witnessing?

In India, as cities are becoming more affluent, the proliferation of leisure activities such as cafes, bars, late-night leisure centres, gyms and cineplexes have combined to offer a lifestyle that is increasingly out-of-home. A typical person in India is now more likely than before to come into contact with some form of outdoor advertising on a daily basis. This trend is not only visible in India, but almost in all Asian countries because of economies performing better. So in order to make the right impact, technology will play a very important role in the times to come.

Q. How big is the outdoor advertising industry? What is the share of OOH in the total advertising industry?

The market is growing rapidly and rough estimates would put the market size at around Rs 1,500 crore.

Q. Has the issue of regulation been raised strongly enough? Why is the government being so negligent about it?

Authorities are waking up to the fact that some broad-based guidelines are required, and it is in the benefit of the city for such guidelines to exist. The current outdoor policy for Delhi is a pointer towards this direction wherein the Supreme Court has directed for increased use of street furniture backed by public service.

Q. How do you compare the Indian outdoor advertising industry with the global market?

The Indian outdoor advertising is different from the global market in many ways. Quality is the key differentiator here vis-à-vis global markets. Currently, authorities are looking at revenue maximisation rather than focusing on quality. Some civic bodies are opening up to discussions, and there have been suggestions to bring in quality rather than just quantity. Strict parameters pertaining to quality is something that the civic agencies should focus on. Another aspect that is a major differentiator is the design of the medium.

Q. Who are your major clients in India?

We have been a part of nearly every campaign that has been executed in Delhi since April 2006 – the time when we started having displays on our bus shelters.

Q. Recently, you have won the Bangalore Airport outdoor contract. What kind of innovations can we look forward to?

We believe in the ‘less is more’ concept. There will be limited number of innovative and interesting displays at the airport to deliver more impact for the advertiser. Bangalore Airport is JCDecaux’s 142nd airport concession and we are bringing in the latest designs from all over the world. We will ensure a visually delighting experience for all passengers.

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