On road to recovery, Delhi OOH owners see festive season as the turning point

OOH players say that to revive the economic dent, agencies are offering discounted packages and are hoping brands will capitalise on the opportunity

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Aug 31, 2020 9:50 AM

After a four-month-long lull, out of home (OOH) advertising is finally in a revival stage. Having suffered a severe dent in Q1 with zero filings, the sector is now picking up pace with the arrival of the festive season and the markets slowly opening up. Also, the monotony of staying at home is gradually breaking and people are now venturing out for daily errands and other works. Brands too have taken note of the changes and have started coming on board, making OOH owners and agencies breathe a sigh of relief.

In Delhi, just like Mumbai, OOH owners had appealed for a waiver on licence fees  due to the lockdown. They had approached the civic bodies asking for a 100% waiver of fees for April and May. From June, they said, they would pay for the sites that have already been sold to them. However, no decision has been taken in the matter till now. In fact, according to a prominent OOH player, adding to their woes, media owners were being asked to pay rent for sites that have been leased to them by Delhi Transport Corporation.

Meanwhile, hit hard by lockdown, most OOH structures in the city have either been left vacant or have been dismantled. Sources say OOH media in locations like arterial routes, AMS South Extension Road, Ring Road, and Greater Kailash has been dismantled. However, lifting the the spirits of OOH companies in Delhi are brands like Cars 24, Muthoot Finance, Zee TV, Nafed Supermarket, Fleet Ship, and Cadbury that have been seen displaying their ads on billboards and street furniture in Delhi.

As we proceed further in the unlock stage, the footfall on the streets is amplifying, allowing brands to leverage and communicate with the consumers. A recent article in a leading English daily stated that traffic at major metro stretches has increased by double post lockdown in Delhi.

e4m spoke to Delhi OOH players about the on-ground reality of OOH advertising in the capital city, the brands that are helping with the revival, and the measures that need to be taken to amplify growth.

Speaking about how the festive season has made OOH more appealing for brands, Mukesh Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, Graphisads, says, “Like every festive season, there is an upbeat mood among outdoor advertising media owners and agencies, even though the slowdown due to Covid-19 is not fully gone yet. With ad budgets expected to go down, outdoor media makes more sense for leading advertisers this year because of its cost-effective rates. Overall, there’s a revival in economy and market conditions. Every brand would like to advertise. Based on my discussion with industry leaders, Outdoor figures in a very important position for leading clients as their advertising plan is concerned.”

And like Gupta said, giving a sweet start to the festive season, Mondelez brand Cadbury recently put up its #closerthisrakhi campaign on JCDecaux bus shelters across thde city.

Talking about the growth of brands opting for OOH advertising post lockdown, Gupta said it all depends on the product category. “Normally outdoor advertising occupies 10% of the overall budget of leading brands. I would reckon after the process of unlocking, outdoor advertising might have seen 8 to 10% growth versus other media.”

According to Gautam Bhirani, MD, Eyetalk Media Ventures, “Delhi is the most functional metro at the moment, and has adapted to the new normal. 80% of the restaurants under TagTalk in the city are now operational and have seen steady growth in footfall over the last few weeks. There seems to be a few positives as mobility increases and congregation points like markets, restaurants, and malls open up.  With IPL around the corner, majority media investments will go to TV and OTT. We are hopeful of a turnaround in the second phase of IPL, which is close to Diwali,” adds Bhirani.

Raminder Singh, MD, Glostar believes OOH advertising is an important component. “The synergy of TV, Digital, and OOH is impactful. Therefore, brands shouldn't avoid OOH in their media mix. Also, measurability is improving in the DOOH ecosystem and brands can use this opportunity to avail the rich data available,” he elaborates

Sharing which brands are helping with the revival, Gupta remarked, “As far as the Delhi-NCR market is concerned, right now real estate and electronic media are leading the revival, followed by automobiles, food items, and central and state government schemes and achievements.”

Many prominent brands have opted for JCDecaux’s street furniture in Delhi which speaks for the massive reach that this traditional media can provide brands with. Brands like Zee TV took this opportunity to add an intriguing element on the streets of Delhi by announcing their new shows.

Pramod Bhandula, Executive Chairman, JCDecaux India, sharing his insights, said, “It's on the rise. It is estimated that B and C markets will see more than 50% increase. But main markets are still leaning to catch up."

Commenting on how much the re-opening of malls has helped in the revival, Bhandula remarked, "Malls still have a roadblock due to low consumer sentiments. But the festive season will be the turning point."

 Talking about the brands that are helping OOH bounce back, Bhandula says, "All brands and categories are going to be back. Retail, FMCG, automobile and OTT are the frontrunners."

Sharing his thoughts on how the sector can speed up revival, Gupta  says, “Brands should advertise without hesitation. They should spend more confidently. They will get returns. We are in the background of a slowdown. Returns may be slow but they will be there for sure. If not purchasing through shops, people are ordering through e-commerce outlets. All the media, including leading Print and Electronic players, are offering great discounts. The outdoor industry is also offering discounted packages to attract clients. So, the brands should capitalise on the opportunity.”

Lastly, talking about the potency of DOOH, Gupta shared, “Outdoor media will play an important role. Even though the share of outdoor advertising is just about 10% of the total advertising budget, I reckon brands use outdoor as a reminder of ad campaigns and it lasts for a longer duration.”

“The returns from outdoor advertising are much more. This trend had been there previously and the current market environment will not be different this year. Outdoor will be more effective as rates for outdoor media sites are much lesser this year. Another reason for fast recovery of outdoor media is that this is managed by owners/promoters themselves. They take quick decisions in terms of the rates and packages. On a personal level, we always think that if our clients grow, we will grow. If they get a good response from our services, they will increase their budget for us. Ultimately, we always try to give full value to their money,” he explains.

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