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Indian OOH industry at a crossroads: Chris O’Donnell

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Indian OOH industry at a crossroads: Chris O’Donnell

The exchange4media and network2media OOH Conference and Awards for Outdoor Advertising and Digital Signage 2012, was held in the Delhi on March 16. Preceding the awards ceremony was the keynote address by Chris O'Donnell, CEO, Kinetic Asia Pacific, a part of GroupM.

In his welcome address, Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, exchange4media Group, said that Kinetic and exchange4media had partnered earlier in the month to launch ‘Moving World’, a study on the Out Of Home business.

O’Donnell, in his keynote address, shared insights on the study. He said that ‘Moving World’ provides detailed information on major cities such as Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc., which are crucial for marketers while planning for their advertising dollars. The study provides local insights, which range from property prices to where and how people spend their leisure time, as well as global insights that impact the outdoor industry. For instance, in China, about 40 per cent of the net spends on outdoor is on digital media. Hence, it provides insights on how digital will change the shape of this industry in the days ahead.

Speaking on the outdoor industry in India today, O’Donnell said, “We are at a crossroads and if we don’t make the right decisions and the right investments, it could be costly for us. We are right to celebrate success tonight, but we also need to come together to consider the threats opportunities.”

He affirmed that what the outdoor industry needed above all else was a currency. He added, “Without a currency you can’t trade effectively and if you can’t trade effectively, you can’t really be a growing medium. We need to collectively develop a currency and industry norms from which the industry could operate.”

The Pitch Madison Ad Outlook 2012 study shows that the OOH industry, especially in Mumbai, de-grew in 2011. But there is hope because there are other pockets and domains where OOH grew.

Sharing his thoughts, Batra said, “I must acknowledge Noomi Mehta, Chairman and the founding force behind Indian Outdoor Association, who pointed out to us that the Pitch Madison numbers were lower than what they should have been. We thus thought that one of the ways to gauge how this domain is doing would be to revisit numbers.”

“We came up with a report that said ‘OOH – Hurt and Recovering’. You might think we were being a little harsh on the OOH industry, but we were just conveying what we thought was happening, and hence, we said ‘recovering’,” he added.

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