DOOH is growing at double the rate of traditional OOH: Srikanth Ramachandran
Srikanth, Founder & CEO, Moving Walls, on what is bringing disruption to the OOH industry and how Digital OOH is becoming the growth engine for the business
Out-of-home (OOH) is one of the oldest advertising mediums and lately digitization has taken the OOH industry by storm. The Digital OOH or DOOH industry in India is booming and according to Srikanth Ramachandran, Founder & CEO, Moving Walls, the medium is now able to provide proof of delivery and reporting and is therefore a seamless extension of digital marketing in physical spaces.
Moving Walls is a global advertising technology company that provides an online platform for planning, buying, and measuring OOH media. In a candid chat with exchange4media, Srikanth shares his views on what is bringing disruption to the OOH industry and how DOOH is becoming the growth engine for the OOH business.
Marketing and advertising are always about disruptions. What is that big disruption the OOH market in India is seeing?
To summarize it in one word, I would say digitization. But digitization means different things to different people. I wouldn't call it a disruption, because it's just a financial equation and a financial model that needs to change. But the disruption comes from the fact that the entire business has to digitize itself.
Be it television or newspaper, it is an evidence-driven media scenario in India (rather everywhere) and advertisers are always looking for supporting numbers? How is OOH handling that scene?
So far, the honest answer is, not very well. I remember two years back, a gentleman was speaking at a conference in Mumbai. And he made this statement very boldly on stage, saying that we all know digital lies to us sometimes. He said that there are a lot of issues even in the digital world in terms of reporting number, but they are reporting something to us. It’s sad to say that it has been more than two years since he made that statement and OOH has remained static in terms of reporting as an industry.
Now, we would like to believe that we are doing all the right things. But if I have to take it at an industry level and say, are we reporting on all the campaigns? Are we optimizing the client's budgets in a wise way? The answer is probably not. Some people would say yes, but it's not in a very transparent manner. The sources of data are not standardized. We are not looking at the same sets of data. Moving Walls hopes to change it, in fact in a short span we have changed it. It’s something that we are chasing as a dream to solve.
Even as digital OOH is becoming the growth engine of OOH business worldwide, how viable it is for OOH firms in India to invest in data and technologies?
Data and technology play a vital role for the industry. For instance, a small media owner in Guwahati will need data to make it big in the industry. The same person will need to find an automated way of reaching clients, whether it is through our platform, or through some form of website or through some form of demand platform, which is where technology comes in.
Times Square is still the Mecca of OOH, while India might have a long way to go to reach that level, when do you foresee India seeing a good chunk of premium OOH space?
Times Square takes everyone’s breath away. I don't know how long it would take us to get our own Times Square. But in India, I think what we really need is larger, iconic assets. Even if they are indoors, networking them together, one will be able to perhaps create a grid across the country.
There is a lot being said about junking unorganized and unauthorized OOH. What is the kind of loss organized business faces due to these illegal displays?
I think the first step towards solving illegal advertising is a simple registry. If we are able to digitize all the assets that are available, in a centralralized registry, open it up to everyone, including agencies, clients, even other media owners, they can start planning better and reaching their clients better. I think some of these legal issues will start going away.
We are planning to launch an open registry where everyone can join for free, and they can drag their assets into it. Because we work on the demand side as well, we are publishing it as open registry for anyone who wants to access it. We will be announcing it this week.
Which is the leading sector investing in OOH? How has the advertiser sentiment changed in the last two to three years?
Traditionally, Industries like automotive, property industries, jewellery, retail/properties are among the top advertisers. However, we have seen a change happening in the last two or three years. All the unicorns, the new businesses, and most of them are digital-first, think Google,
Spotify, Uber or Flipkart, are investing in OOH quite significantly. I think that's actually done a lot of good for the industry.
These digital brands are used to outcome-based media buying and most of them are pushing for common metrics. To grow these spends, we must be able to provide them metrics to measure and improve their current spends.
What is the market size of OOH in India? And what is the year on year growth rate of OOH?
The OOH market size in India is Rs 3500 crore. And the year on year growth rate has been 15 percent/ year over the last two years. Meanwhile, the DOOH market in India is currently worth 150 crore and growing at double the rate of traditional OOH. The medium provides proof of play and impressions and is therefore a seamless extension of digital marketing in physical spaces.
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