India uses OOH in a really quirky and fun way: David Payne

David Payne, Global Head of strategy & operations at Mediakeys, talks about their strategic partnership with Laqshya Media Group, India's OOH market and more

e4m by Sonam Saini
Updated: Nov 20, 2018 8:36 AM

Former CEO of WPP Kinetic David Payne recently took over as Global Head of strategy & operations at independent international out of home media company Mediakeys, owned by Comkeys. Comkeys has now entered into a strategic alliance with Laqshya Media Group (LMG) to launch Mediakeys in the Indian market.

Payne was in India recently and exchange4media caught up with him to talk about the alliance with Laqshya Media, India’s OOH market and much more.

Watch the video here or read the edited excerpts:

On strategic partnership with Laqshya Media

We work with brands all over the world, delivering solutions for them largely in the world of out of home (OOH), although we do cover all media. So, for us, it’s quite a narrow and small market. But we are the biggest in that sector. So, on the international scale, India is becoming increasingly attractive for us.

There is obviously an increase in the number of Indian brands that are looking to talk to consumers outside India. So, India is becoming more important for us in terms of sales and outbound. Also, it’s becoming more important for us as brands that work with us globally want to come into India. We have been thinking long and hard about our strategy for the Indian market. We wanted to accomplish something where we get to work with the best in class, both in sales and execution. And we bring exactly the same to India as well. It’s a complementary relationship where we can work with them to drive sales from India, and we can bring business for them into India.

It’s just two like-minded companies working together to jointly invest in the future of the business.

India vs global OOH industry

I have come to India many times in my career and I am always fascinated by the out of home scene here. It has a huge potential as many changes that we have seen in other parts of the world have not taken place here.

It is prime for consolidation and capital investment. If you match that with what’s going on in this country from an infrastructure point of view (with new airports, new roads, new railways and new metros), there is a huge potential for development. Actually, India is yet to establish itself alongside more established & developed markets such as Germany, UK and France. But I think once that acceleration starts, it’s going to be a much quicker transition.

There is no real measurement here yet and so it’s not quite as accountable. But it’s still quite dynamic and creative. What we are yet to see in India is real use of data to bring audiences. But I think that’s coming quite fast.

Digital impact on OOH industry globally

I think it’s a competitive threat, particularly in India where digital is highly accessible. Smartphone penetration has bypassed all aspects of larger screen penetration and it’s very high. Therefore, digital mobile is very accessible and it’s measurable and accountable. And that is what outdoor is not yet here in India.

It’s a big competitive threat to a number of media channels in India. It’s also a really nice business opportunity because out of home in other markets is becoming increasingly technology-driven, where you have digital screens. However, to talk about programmatic buying of digital screens will be a stretch.

Also, it’s very interesting to see non out of home media companies beginning to acquire out of home businesses, something that you are not seeing here. But certainly it’s a big trend in the US and the UK at the moment, and possibly in Germany where you are seeing the likes of Google, and Ali Baba in China.

On Indian OOH market’s creativity

India is really progressive in that. I think India uses out of home in a really quirky and fun way. It is often used as a backdrop in special events or for special demonstrations or activations. I have always felt that India does that quite well.

What India needs is to carry on doing what they are doing well and invest in capital expenditure and infrastructure. Work in partnership with government and public authorities so that the quality of out of home does not just benefit the advertiser but benefit the community.

Future projects

Mediakeys is agile and quick-moving. We make decisions quickly on our strategy. We are able to test and get things done fast, and we are very entrepreneurial. I am looking for the 2019 immensely. We have got a lot of exciting things happening next year, and a couple of major global announcements. We will be able to talk about it after Christmas.

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