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Jignesh N Sharma

Co-Founder | 02 Nov 2010

"After spending around a decade with specialised OOH agencies and later getting into the media owners’ shoe, was at times difficult and easy because I knew what the brand managers/media planners and buyers expect from OOH media owners... I went through the process of understanding the business from present media owners who apparently knew me through various business deals executed in my agency days. There were series of discussions and a final consensus after which I threw my hat in the ring."

Jignesh N Sharma, currently the Executive Director of Hype Integracomm Pvt. Ltd., a company he co-founded, has 14 years of experience in outdoor media services. Besides having worked with a plethora of well known and well respected names in the OOH world, Sharma has quite a few special achievements to his name. He launched and made the OOH Division of Posterscope Worldwide the 2nd largest Agencyin India in 2005 and has been awarded as the YOUNGEST CEO in 2005. He also set up the Outdoor Division of LINTAS – Aaren Initiative, WPP – Portland India, Mudra – Primesites, MOMS. Sharma successfully worked on OOH campaigns with India’s leading corporate and consumer brands including Airtel, ITC Ltd, Star TV, Cadbury’s, Kellogg’s, Maruti Suzuki, Ford Motors, Sony Entertainment Television LTD, Indya.com, Sherkhan.com, Bombay Dyeing, Titan, Aviva Life, Max New York Life, Kotak Bank, Hyundai, Samsung. LG etc.

Sharma has worked with Posterscope Worldwide (OOH) and has been the youngest CEO in the group, for which he was awarded. Besides Posterscope Worldwide, other companies that gained from his OOH expertise are- MOMS (Madison Outdoor Media Services), Initiative Media (LINTAS India), Portland India (WPP Group), Vertigo India Pvt. Ltd.

In conversation with exchange4media’s Pallavi Goorha Kashyup, Sharma shares the future plans and technology advances in OOH sector.

Q. How’s your journey been till now with the company?

After spending around a decade with specialised OOH agencies and later getting into the media owners’ shoe, was at times difficult and easy because I knew what the brand managers/media planners and buyers expect from OOH media owners. Being a media owner was a tough task as I was never exposed to the micro dynamics of the media owning side for e.g. handling govt relations or understanding legalities etc.

I went through the process of understanding the business from present media owners who apparently knew me through various business deals executed in my agency days.

There were series of discussions and a final consensus after which I threw my hat in the ring.

By 2007 end we started our actual media investment and creating new properties and by the grace of God within first few months we achieved a reasonable growth in terms of acquisition. Today we have good presence in Banglore and Pune markets, plus there are some projects under finalisation in other metro cities.

Q. How is it starting your own venture after being in OOH industry for so long?

It is a great feeling of having something of your own, you know finally whatever hard work you put in will always remain for yourself, there is no age for retirement, you keep working till the time you want and the way you want. So it’s really a great experience.

Q. What kind of work you do for your clients?

We tried to create a small differentiation from current trend; we were the first one to introduce designer grab handles in mass transport system in Mumbai and Bangalore. We were the first to introduce LCD TV network in Mumbai suburban trains. We were also the first to get India’s first BRT route advertising project where advertising was coupled up with Commuters Convenience Centres in terms of ATM/Tea/Coffee vending machines/Book stalls, etc. We do have conventional properties like BQS and utilities, but our endeavours is to create something innovative. While some of these has been very well accepted by clients, some like the train LCD was not successful; but I think all India market has rejected LCD display option so it’s ok when we also didn’t received good response.

Q. What is your view on advertising in radio cabs?

Radio Cab option is good and in most of the developed cities it is a regular feature of any media plan but in our countries it’s yet to get it’s due. One of the reasons is the fleet size, to get better response the fleet size needs to be bigger.

Q. What are the new businesses that you have bagged in the past six months?

There has been lot of new campaigns we have done in last few months, both from the agencies end and from direct clients as well. We have done some good work for City Union Bank, Muthoot Fiannace, Century Ply, Big FM, King Fisher, Bank of Baroda, MTS, Docomo, Star Union Diachi, Sonata, IDBI Forties, LIC, BSNL etc.

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

LED has huge role to play in OOH which is yet to be witnessed by us, then there are lot of new printing technologies available, Blue casting is also going to play role in intelligent advertising, so lot of these are yet to come.

Q. How would you compare OOH ad spend vis-à-vis total ad spends done by brands/companies?

See it differs from category to category – now for instance telecom or GEC or real estate players, OOH works far better then other form of communication and OOH becomes their driving medium so for these type of clients their OOH spends are much higher compare to other categories. For FMCG or white goods, electronic media works better but one thing is for sure that OOH is growing with leaps and bounds and it has a great future ahead.

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

I think most of the developed countries have gone through the scenario which the Indian market is witnessing today; sooner or later media ownership consolidation is going to take place at least in most of the key cities. Key media properties and then media owners will have a larger role to play but considering the size of our nation and the way authorities are also fragmented- how and when this will happen remains a million dollar question. But for sure this is the way ahead. For e.g. India Railways is the biggest LAND LORD in India after Govt of India and it also offers a good amount of guaranteed foot falls- so imagine tomorrow Indian railways offering a monopoly of their media properties to any one agency!!!! It will completely change the dynamics the way media business is conducted. So let’s wait and watch.

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

There is no syndicated study available but I feel the OOH business should be in the range of 2000 – 2500 crores because there is lot of spill-over amongst the conventional OOH, retail and rural communication as they also have some element of OOH in their activity, that’s why today you will see most of the agencies are clubbing their OOH, retail and rural businesses under one umbrella.

Q. How different is it working with clients directly and with agencies?

Working with clients is always easier because both the parties in the transactions are having clear deliverables; however dealing with agencies always gives us larger footprint of clients. So both are good for us.

Q. What are your future plans for the company?

We want to go slowly and steadily there is long way to go.

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