NEONS 2018: Competitive business sans regulatory framework leads to commoditisation: CEO, IOAA

Indrajit Sen demystified the key points on how OOH industry needs a common voice for self-regulation today at the 8th edition of e4m NEONS OOH conference, held in Gurugram on Wednesday

e4m by Anam Khan
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 8:53 AM

The OOH industry is at the crossroads of becoming mainstream. Indrajit Sen, CEO, Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA,) demystified the key points on how OOH industry needs a common voice for self-regulation today at the 8th edition of e4m NEONS OOH conference which was held in Gurugram on Wednesday.

Discussing how IOAA was launched and how the journey has been over the years, Sen threw light on how the organization has contributed in protecting and promoting interests of outdoor media companies. “IOAA was launched in 2007 and was registered as a non-profit association. It has grown well over all these years. Today, the industry has some surveillance of at least being a partially organized industry,” said Sen.

In his opening remarks, he also mentioned how OOH media companies from across the country have become partners of the organization. “Today, OOH media companies from Guwahati, Rajkot, Jammu to Thiruvananthapuram have become the members of the organization. About 300 or so and still growing. Barring one or two companies, all are members of the organization,” said Sen.

The member of IOAA accounts 70-75 per cent of the total industry revenue, which is estimated to be around Rs 36,000 crore this year. Additionally, OOH advertising media in India has around 1200-1400 companies or proprietorships who have erected a couple or so hoardings to some companies with hundreds or even thousands of media properties. Sen added, “Out of 1200-1400 companies, only 12 have a national or multi-regional presence, another seven have some extensive presence in one region and another five or so companies have a presence in two states. This extreme fragmentation of media ownership has given birth to a unique category of dealers into this business: the aggregators.”

He also mentioned how IOAA has deeply engaged to get digital OOH regulations adopted around global lines in various municipalities and states. Comparing the statistics of OOH media companies with the US, he mentioned that the US has hardly a dozen or so OOH media agencies.

“OOH is treated similarly in every country. We face the same issues here, where regulations are concerned, compared to other countries. If it is solely left on any authority anywhere to enact regulations strictly by themselves, then they’ll always earn on the side of the extreme quotient,” said Sen.

Sen also focused on the current situation of regulatory issues in the industry. He said, “The situation can only change if the OOH media companies get together and organize studies, reports and research by an institute of higher learning and face the facts of those reports and bring recommended regulations based on those studies.”

“Higher competitive business environment which lacks regulatory framework always leads to commoditisation of opponents and then the only competitive advantage is prices and longer credit periods. In the Indian market, outdoor rates have not only moved up but also have newer illegal sites coming up next to the one that had been asking for the premium prices,” said Sen.

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