President | 06 Feb 2012
The industry will move to some kind of SOP outlined by IOAA, which will bring system and procedures in the industry. We have seen some stray activities in blu-casting and augmented reality in 2011. Technology will be used more in 2012 to enable OOH media. Ambient and transit media will evolve because of infrastructure development. Clients will move from making decision based on excel sheets to strategic planning with 360 degree solutions, which will involve outdoor, retail and activation too. Their focus will also be innovation.
Sanjay Pareek has had a professional exposure of over 20 years in the FMCG, consumer durable, service, infrastructure and consulting space. His corporate culture exposure varies from Fortune 500 MNCs with a matrix reporting structure, to medium sized Indian companies. His expertise lies in leading and building successful start-up businesses and managing and growing existing business through acquisition and partnership with team sizes ranging from 10 to 1,000+ personnel.
Pareek’s professional career started with GTC Industries, where he launched the ‘Roll your own tobacco’ in a breakthrough packaging, introduced for the first time in India. He later moved on to Blow Plast, where he was involved in launching System Furniture and Ergonomic Seating with foreign partners. Sodexho was the next stop, where he was responsible for the launch of Sodexho Facilities Management (FM) in India with the self-management concept. This model has become the benchmark of quality and service in the Indian FM industry within a short period of time. He later joined Visionaire, a Canadian company’s India operations (audio visual system integration company), working in audio visual projects in the field of distance learning, National Networking Operation centres, and high end audio visual facilities with cutting edge technology.
At Percept Out of Home, Pareek added two more verticals to the existing business of outdoor, viz., retail and rural, to offer a complete 360-degree solution to clients in the OOH space. Both the divisions in three years have achieved critical mass. He also enabled these businesses with technology for better planning and monitoring to offer better value to its customers across verticals. Today, the three OOH verticals service clients across the sectors of Telecom, Entertainment, Consumer Durables, Retail, Banking & Finance, Express Courier, Clothing & Textile, Jewellery, Lifestyle and Agro-based products.
In conversation with Priyanka Nair of exchange4media, Pareek shares the key developments in the OOH space in India, the growth drivers, the challenges and the opportunities…
Q. What have been some of the key milestones for the OOH industry in 2011?
The year 2011 saw two major consolidations in the industry – Lintas buying Aaren’s stake in Aaren Initiative and Selvel buying the stake of Outdoor Advertising Professionals (OAP) from Rediffusion. This very clearly indicated that the future of business is good and, therefore, companies will stay invested in the business. We have also see efforts by the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) to organise and bring some method to the madness in the industry through standard operating procedure (SOP). It still requires complete buy in from all stakeholders of the industry: asset owners, agencies and the advertiser, but I think it is, in fact, a step in the right direction. It has to be followed through more effectively by talking to all the key stakeholders of the industry interest in consideration. More innovations were seen this year in the outdoor media than ever before.
Q. Would you call it a year of growth for the industry?
The industry growth was stunted, which was led by substantially reduced spends by telecom players, who were the leaders in the last five years, plus in spends on outdoor. Yes, the industry had a qualitative way forward, but will require a persistent and hard follow through.
Q. What is the most important factor while connecting with the audience through OOH?
The out of home space gives you a larger than life experience. An advertiser can customise this medium according to the needs of its brand with innovations and high visibility at various touch points. The beauty of the out of home medium is that if used wisely, it can give you the best impact than many other channels of communication.
Q. How different is OOH today compared to what it was a few years back?
The difference has been defiantly developed towards the positive side. There have been various new outdoor formats that have evolved; smaller format ambient medium, transit medium are much more used to customise and localise the brand’s communication needs. The planning process has become far more creative as many clients are seeking separate creative OOH solutions from agencies which earlier many a times was a replica of the creatives from media formats. What has still not changed is that the regulators are still not the enablers of our industry. By regulators I mean the government authorities. Changes are made in bits and pieces, but there has to be unified single code of conduct which we need to look at and change. There has to be a standard regulation across the country. Having said all this, the industry is still growing very strongly and will continue to bring out the best results if these things are taken into consideration.
Q. What do you think needs to be done to push the Indian OOH industry forward?
Honestly, there is no single regulatory body where all the stakesholders of the industry can come together. There is an urgent need for all the stakeholders to come together at a single platform to formulate a set policy. If this gets done, the industry will come together to deliver better.
Q. Other than government regulations being a deterrent in the development of the OOH industry, what are the other disadvantages that you can think of?
One very important thing according to me is to maintain quality of people in the industry. We at Percept are working very keenly on this. We will be running training programmes to groom management trainees so that they are the ones who take active position at various management levels in the course of time. This is extremely important in an industry like ours where there is no set formal education to get into our industry.
Q. How would you compare India’s OOH industry to the global one?
The biggest advantage of out of home advertising across the global market is that brands there do not consider OOH as their last resort in their media plan. Their systems are in place; measurability and planning process is much more organised. Also, quality of assets is another concern that we come across at many markets here; poor quality of frames many a times is like an eye sore in the lovely landscape that we have. All this can be put in place only if our regulators look forward to get some action done for our space.
Q. Which, according to you, have been the effective OOH campaigns of Percept?
We had done the outdoor campaigns for the launch of Tata Manza and Panasonic air conditioners last year, which were some of the most successful outdoor campaigns. Apart from this, we have also done some big campaigns for Levis, Mainland China and SAB TV.
Q. What you think the penetration of digital OOH will bring to the industry?
We are yet to see penetration of digital OOH in India, it’s just at a nascent stage. Evolution of digital OOH will happen when the regulator will be the enablers and an effective consumer engagement trends up.
Q. What is Percept’s client portfolio like?
We have clients across all major brand categories.
Q. What are major trends you see that will shape 2012?
The industry will move to some kind of SOP outlined by IOAA, which will bring system and procedures in the industry. We have seen some stray activities in blu-casting and augmented reality in 2011. Technology will be used more in 2012 to enable OOH media. Ambient and transit media will evolve because of infrastructure development. Media owners will have more realistic bids, after failure of unrealistic bids by media owners specifically in the West. Clients will move from making decision based on excel sheets to strategic planning with 360 degree solutions, which will involve outdoor, retail and activation too. Their focus will also be innovation.
Q. Is there infrastructure or regulatory changes expected in 2012, or that you are hoping for in 2012, that will impact the industry?
The standardisation of large assets will happen; we have seen the trend in Delhi and Mumbai. Both Kolkata and Bangalore are seeing some heavy activity by the local government to standardise the assets. This trend may spread across other class towns. With infrastructure growth, new assets will be created, which will be better in terms of aesthetics and upkeep as it will be built and managed by large asset owners. Service tax change in notification last year will continue and will force both agency and asset owners to enhance their working capital outlay. And it is clients who don’t fulfill their part of the contract by paying in time which will stretch agencies’ and media owners’ finances and further erode the margins.