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Guest Column: Decoding the new & complex OOH ecosystem

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Guest Column: Decoding the new & complex OOH ecosystem

We live in a world changing at dramatic pace…
• Innovations are changing the way audiences consume media, almost overnight. For example, the iPad has been the most quickly adopted non-phone electronic device ever recorded (Source: CNBC / Bernstein Research).
• Formats are converging... For example, the humble poster is no longer this in a traditional sense, it can be a TV or a website, or a transaction point or a gaming console. Similarly, experiential activity is transforming - combining interactive content, video, mobile and social activation.
• And of course, phone handsets themselves can now do many of these things and more…There is a huge race amongst payment-services brands to dominate the mobile commerce platform. People are increasingly expecting to be able to do anything, anywhere.
• The content brands are using to communicate to audiences, which is also changing – many used to rely largely on a bought media model, but are now increasingly incorporating owned assets in strategies, plus driving earned sharing/ exposure.
• Data is the new gold in identifying exactly where, when and how to engage these audiences. To plan effective multi-market campaigns requires efficient use of a wealth of local, proprietary, third party and client data.
• Whereas the variety of communication channels that consumers have access to is fragmenting, businesses are increasingly centralising their media planning, ensuring consistency in the way their brands talk to ever-more-mobile audiences.
• This mobility is on a global scale, by both land and air – Over 51 per cent of global citizens already live in cities... by 2050 this will rise to 70 per cent (source: UN World Urbanisation Prospects 2009 Revision). Global airport traffic will rise from just under 5.0 billion in 2010 to 6.3 billion by 2015 (Source: ACI Global Traffic Forecast 2010).

The world is being transformed by technology, changing how people behave, especially when out of home.This is evidenced by the way we are having to re-define OOH, traditionally positioned as posters and screens that you can put ads on. Maybe a bit of experiential too.Today’s OOH media infrastructure looks very different.

Posterscope Group in India has invested in world’s largest OOH study – OCS (Outdoor Consumer Survey), a Posterscope’s proprietary consumer survey based on a representative sample size of over 9,000 adults. It evaluates their OOH activities, their attitudes towards, and opinions of, advertising in different environments, and importantly their typical moods and mind sets in different environments of OOH, retail and ambient.

Available audiences include all the standard demographic groups, plus detailed audience segmentation (matching client specific audiences), category enthusiasts, WOM influential and social and mobile audiences. Typical areas of analysis may include weight of media consumption, travel behaviour, thoughts when travelling, environmental effectiveness, formats noticed, intention to purchase, actions taken in response to OOH advertising, etc.

The infrastructure that makes up OOH is much broader and includes a variety of things people are exposed to when out of home. This includes traditional OOH media such as hoardings, bus shelters to client-owned media such as delivery trucks, store windows, experiential spaces, buildings, retailer partnerships as well as portable devices such as mobile, tablet and laptop. With this wider infrastructure, we suddenly see an enormous range of capabilities for OOH media beyond traditional branding. It can provide services such as public Wi-Fi or local information on touch screens, broadcast branded content on digital screens, bring mobile and digital screens together to provide a gaming platform, allow retrieval of coupons or even product purchase straight from a poster site. For example, Location-based technologies will play a greater role in out of home space with the opportunity, which exists at store level for a rich interactive experience. In fact, there is a whole host of technologies that can be integrated into this new infrastructure, redefining OOH from a series of posters and screens to an entire ecosystem full of interconnected and interdependent parts.

In today’s increasingly complex world OOH needs a much more advanced positioning that keeps it relevant to consumers and advertisers alike. As convergence continues to transform the medium, we strive to understand the connections between OOH, technology, content and the platforms we can operate across. Understanding implications from bought media to owned assets and earned media enable us to transform and pioneer brand communication capabilities out of home.

Clearly, OOH will continue to grow and form a serious ecosystem that is no longer just a media channel planned and bought in isolation. Key drivers have reinvented OOH’s place in the convergence ecosystem allowing for the medium to pioneer the way for a participatory media culture to flourish.

Haresh Nayak is Managing Director of Posterscope Group.

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