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To understand OOH, it is imperative we understand ‘people’: Steve Ridley

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To understand OOH, it is imperative we understand ‘people’: Steve Ridley

“I believe that OOH (out of home) is not only one of the most important media but also a cornerstone of society. We perhaps don’t treat it the way we should but this a medium that is all about people, what they do, their aspirations and how they live. It reflects human progress in the grandest scale, at a very granular level,” Steve Ridley, Global CEO, Kinetic Worldwide said, as he set the tone for Kinetic India to unveil its study Moving World India on February 28, 2012 in Mumbai.

exchange4media Group publication, IMPACT, partnered with Kinetic to present the Study. The other presenter was Global Advertisers.

The ‘Moving World’ series is Kinetic’s attempt to provide insights in the OOH industry, specifically to consumer behaviour and the evolving manner in which individuals consume OOH media. India is the third country, where Kinetic has executed this study, the first two being United Kingdom and United States. Moving World was also done for the markets of Europe and South Asia. Ridley divulged that Kinetic will soon announce Moving World China too.

One of the objectives of Moving World is to “intimately understand” developments at a macro level in a market that impact the OOH industry and then offer insights on changes at the micro level.

Demography, Travel & Technology: Pillars of Change
Drawing the macro scenario, Ridley pointed demography to be the first pillar of change. “As the world is changing, we notice a stark contrast emerging in consumers. The Western countries are experiencing an ageing population, which is creating its own pressures and challenges. On the other side of the world, there are countries, which have a very young population and will remain so for some time to come. The consumers in these markets are fuelling economic growth.”

He added that in Kinetic’s attempt to understand changes on a country by country basis, infrastructure is seen as the second pillar of change. Many countries are investing in infrastructure and one of the areas where its impact is most visible is travel. “Travel patterns are changing,” said Ridley, as he proceeded to point out the growth in local and global travel to an extent that there are conversations of even commercial travel to space.

The second aspect, also emanating from investments in infrastructure, is the growth of technology. “People are spending perhaps 70 per cent of their time out of home but most of them carry their mobile devices with them at all times. Everyone today is part of the connected world. This significantly changes the way we think and we expect to use technology in the future,” Ridley observed.

In the changing OOH world, mobile is perhaps its best friend given the manner in which mobile is combined with OOH for some very effective OOH communication exercises.

Emergence of new Phenomena
One outcome of these changes is the phenomenon of unprecedented urbanisation, where huge populations are moving to cities and markets can expect vast explosion of cities. In this scenario, how urban infrastructure is planned becomes critical to the very growth of media and communication.

The OOH industry has evolved so rapidly that it has led to the emergence of specialised media within OOH. One such medium is airport advertising. Markets like India have significantly deployed resources to develop airports in some of the key cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad amongst others. This has allowed smoothening of growth in airport traffic, whether for business or leisure, and has led this to be a high opportunity medium for various brands.

Many would argue, and Ridley most definitely agrees, that shopper marketing is a more specialised form of OOH media too. Increasingly shopper experience is blurring lines with leisure time. Cities are grouping shopping centres, movie theatres, eating joints and in some cases even spas, under the same roof. The coming together of shopping time and leisure time is another key insight of the Moving World.

And then, they all Converge
The critical aspect of OOH is to understand the convergence of all these changes, whether it is of the evolving consumer behaviour, the sophistication of infrastructure in both travel and technology and how the same OOH vehicle will have different use in different markets and situations.

“Sometimes you may want to talk to the consumer in one environment but you may want them to act in a completely different environment. Technology such as mobile phone, specially smart phones, allow you to do that but you need to first truly understand people and their behaviour. Moving World is our kickoff point to be able to do so. India is such a dynamic market, it was no surprise that Moving World India is the most exciting study we have done so far but we look forward to be able to offer more insights into the OOH industry in India,” concluded Ridley.

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