Our vision is to build an imposing Times Square-like OOH setup in India: Aman Nanda

Nanda, Chief Strategy officer, Times OOH, says data, technology and infrastructure are three factors that can make or break any OOH campaign

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Published: Aug 9, 2019 8:21 AM  | 5 min read

Times OOH is one of the oldest players in the outdoor advertising industry. Known for providing comprehensive and customised solutions to advertisers, the company never fails to stand out.

 exchange4media caught up with Aman Nanda, Chief Strategy officer, Times OOH, to talk about a host of topics, including how the company plans to bring disruption in the OOH industry and the impact that data, technology & infrastructure will have on OOH advertising.


 According to you, what are the latest trends in the OOH space in India as well as the world? 

 Digital OOH (DOOH) is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance and significant momentum within India as well as the global marketing community. Of late, there has been a remarkable interest in DOOH creatives, and we have seen brands using the medium to narrate compelling stories and create an impact. In markets like the UK, DOOH is projected to claim a share of at least 40 per cent of the overall out-of-home advertising pie by 2020. Though in India, digital OOH advertising is largely restricted to a handful of captive places such as airports, malls, cinema and metro stations, we believe this will change soon with improving technology, accessibility and infrastructure. DOOH is set to become an integral part of media plans. 

 Another trend is the ability to capture the attention of audiences through activations and engagements. BTL OOH activities such as product sampling, events/activations and lounge tie-ups are gaining popularity. Brands want to engage with attention-deficit consumers and are moving away from vanilla advertising. OOH is a great format for brands to capture potential consumers' attention as a message on this medium cannot be switched-off or skipped. 

 Thirdly, brands have made OOH an integral part of their 360-degree campaigns, as it complements other mediums, especially mobile. Today OOH campaigns are often executed at premium locations such as Delhi and Mumbai airports. The campaigns at these locations reach 1-1.5 lakh passengers in a day. And they are amplified using social media to increase the reach to 10 million.

 What do you think is the future of DOOH in India?

We believe programmatic DOOH will catch up in India. This will enable us to change the creatives dynamically based on time, passenger movement, weather, etc. It will transform DOOH from a static OOH medium to a dynamic one. Given that it also adds to the overall ambience of any place while opening up new revenue streams, the government will hopefully chart a positive legislation for DOOH, which will increase its share in the OOH pie.

 What are the disruptions TIMES OOH is planning to bring in the outdoor space this fiscal year?

 Our vision is to build an imposing Times Square-like OOH setup in India. We believe OOH, as a medium, is designed to deliver impact and reach the widest set of audience. This cannot be replicated by other mediums, and we would continue with our efforts to create these platforms for brands.

 Audience tracking is an important aspect of advertising. For mediums like television or newspaper, there are bodies like BARC that give ratings. But with OOH, there is no such system. How are players in the OOH space luring the advertisers? 

It is true that there is no standardised rating system for OOH. At Times OOH, we have partnered with reputed third parties such as Nielsen, Ipsos and Kantar to offer our clientele detailed psychographic analysis of the audience at our assets. These reports include key statistics like audience activity at the transit medium, dwell time, purchasing habits, lifestyle etc, coupled with the usual traffic numbers audited by government authorities like AAI and Metro Rail corporations.

 Interestingly, there are niches in the OOH space like events and activations that offer measurable ROI. We have hosted multiple shopping festivals at key airports and offered our brand partners analytics on conversions. We also did a fashion show where an accurate number of total impressions could be deciphered. With the advancement of technology, we will soon be able to calculate impressions, thanks to eye-ball tracking systems, and trigger on-spot SMSes to redirect audiences to a nearby store, making it easier to track actual sales.

 According to you, how can data, technology and infrastructure optimise the future of OOH? 

Data offers brands the ability to make informed decisions, while technology and quality infrastructure enable ad innovation to thrive. These three factors complement each other and can make or break any OOH campaign.

Infrastructure has seen a significant revamp in recent years, with the development of better roadways, rapid railways, modern airports and corporate parks. And the government plans to fuel this growth further. We have 102 operational airports across the country, and there are plans to increase this number to 250 by 2030. Technology has also become significantly more affordable and brands are open to experimenting with it.

We hope to see many more LED screens across the country, thanks to lower capital and operational expenses. These factors, along with greater access to quantifiable OOH-related data, will herald an incredible era for the country’s outdoor advertising industry.

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