The monsoons have traditionally seen as a time when outdoor business slows down, especially when it comes to hoardings and billboards. To counter this, OOH agencies usually resort to discounted rates and special offers to entice customers. This year, however, it seems that business has been more stable as compared to recent years. We spoke to a few outdoor vendors and agencies to find out how business is getting affected this year.
Sanjeev Gupta, MD of Global Advertisers, agreed that the rainy season is generally considered a slack period and this season was also not an exception. “In my opinion, this is not a healthy way of looking at the OOH business. All urban centers experience traffic jams during the rains, and your normal billboard and other OOH media gets viewed much better than in other seasons. There is every reason to be optimistic about the rains and project the season as a great time to advertise,” he said. This was something echoed by the senior executive of a national-level OOH agency too. In fact, it seems that this is something that OOH operators are trying to convince brands of, that traffic jams might actually work in their favour.
To further entice advertisers, agencies and vendors are also offering discounted pricing to consumers, opined Rajiv Saxena, MD of Blue Ocean Media. For example, Gupta said that Global Advertisers is offering bulk discounts, special monsoon rates, barter deals, complimentary social media and PR support and free media planning and buying services.
Though Saxena admitted that it was too early to actually predict how much business would be affected, he suggested that the OOH industry could see as much as a 15-20 per cent drop in business over the next three months.
However, not everyone is convinced that business will necessarily suffer. Some agency heads we spoke to pointed out that in-film branding, mall activations, etc. tend to pick up during this period, which to an extent makes up for any loss in revenue from traditional OOH.
Atul Srivastava, CEO of Laqshya Media Group said, “For the past few years we’ve not seen any major slow down in the spends during rainy season. I am sure that this year too the demand will remain unaffected, though there will be minor variation due to general slump before the start of the peak season.”
When asked whether there is any particular strategy that the company adopts during the monsoon, Srivastava said that they keep proposing and executing campaigns during the rainy season. He also said that festivals like Kerala’s Onam, which is peak season for the state help too. “Long term campaigns continue as it is. Most of the categories continue with their OOH campaigns, without getting affected by the rains. Business so far has been good compared to last year. It’ll be a wonderful year for the OOH Industry and we can see it happening during the H1,” he said.