The Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) has initiated a third party study of the Indian outdoor landscape with a view of starting an industry-wide audience measurement system.
The lack of a common currency has long been a concern for advertisers and OOH agencies and has often been cited as one of the reasons for OOH advertising’s lack of growth in the country. After failed efforts in the past, the IOAA now seems prepared to once again approach the issue with fresh vigor.
Noomi Mehta, MD of Selvel and Chairman of the IOAA, told exchange4media that the industry body has appointed US-based Olympic Media Consultancy as consultants to carry out a nation-wide research into how an audience measurement system can be set in place. Mehta informed us that Olympic Media Consultancy founder, Tony Jarvis has already met some clients and media operators.
However, the entire study is likely to take at least a couple of years. “The first thing to be done is to have the study accepted by the ISA (Indian Society of Advertisers). Media agencies and ISA have been very supportive till now,” said Mehta.
The IOAA is also looking at different technologies that can be used to provide accurate and reliable audience numbers. For example, Mehta told us that one of the technologies being evaluated is “Eyes On”; a system that gives likelihood that an ad has been seen rather than the “opportunity” of it being seen.
“There has been a huge gradation in improvement in the technologies available. Numbers are always important,” said Mehta. He gave the example of print. “In print, circulation figures of front page, back page and middle page are the same, which cannot be possible,” he stated. IOAA, it seems, wants to minimize inconsistencies with their own audience measurement system as much as possible and Mehta agreed that it was an ongoing process and would take time.
The study currently underway is just one of several initiatives that the IOAA has taken post a couple of meetings between members in the past few weeks. Some of the other key decisions that have been taken include extending membership to even OOH agencies so as to make it a more democratic and inclusive body. “For the first time, the IOAA will be services by both sides and we hope to see faster movement on decisions and initiatives post this. OOH agencies have been offered a position on the board so they can monitor the progress themselves,” said Mehta.
Haresh Nayak, Regional Director, Posterscope Asia Pacific & MD of Posterscope Group India, who is also a member of the IOAA also welcomed the several initiatives being taken by IOAA, especially the move to expand membership. “IOAA, earlier, was only vendor-based. Now we have equal partnership from client, agencies and vendors. We are looking at creating common currency, streamlining payment from clients and bringing in quality and new talent,” he said.
Around 6-8 agencies had attended the last meeting of the IOAA held a couple of weeks ago and both Mehta and Nayak told us that they have already given their verbal approval for joining the organization. These agencies include StreetTalk, IOA, DDB Mudra, Milestone Brandcom, among others.
“The input required will be huge and the work will need to be broken down into committees and sub-committees, which will meet regularly. The implementation has not been up to the mark in the past and this will continue to be the case if there is no collaborative effort,” opined Mehta.
Some other initiatives that the IOAA will focus on is enforcing a code of ethics in the industry, becoming stricter about client payments, setting up a SOA, etc.