OOH business will rebound after COVID-19 crisis: Srikanth Ramachandran, Moving Walls

Srikanth Ramachandran, Group Founder - CEO, Moving Walls, shares insights on how COVID-19 has affected the company and how they plan to tide through these testing times

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Apr 17, 2020 1:48 PM
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In these unprecedented times, OOH media owners have been dealing with a great deal due to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown. Even after the lockdown is lifted, most of the brands will cut down advertising spends in the OOH medium due to the weak economy, experts said, emphasising that the most affected will be campaigns which cannot be measured and are static.

Srikanth Ramachandran, Group Founder, CEO, Moving Walls shares with exchange4media how OOH impressions have drastically reduced, the solutions to curb the issue at hand and when does he expect the medium to see some growth.

The excitement for a year of spectacular gatherings for media spends at key events like the IPL in India, the Tokyo Olympics in Japan, and the UEFO Euro competition seems like a long time ago now, Ramachandran said. COVID-19 has completely changed how we live, work, and even exercise, he added.

“More than 30% of the world's population has had to adapt to movement restrictions. The impact on OOH spends shows how reliant we as an industry have been on location and price to sell the medium,” remarked Ramachandran.

IAB's recent survey on Coronavirus Ad Spend Impact has found that more advertisers have increased "Audience Targeting" as a media tactic by more than 38% as a response to the crisis. The logic is obvious, when ad spends get scrutinized, unmeasurable campaigns are the first to go.

Ramachandran stated, “Our own studies have shown that while OOH impressions have drastically reduced, there are still eyeballs. But without industry measurement standards, media buyers still depend on location profiles and historical traffic metrics to decide on spends. Rather than playing the waiting game, we should all consider this as an ideal opportunity to accelerate change and prepare for the new normal.”

“Internally, we are using this opportunity to accelerate the adoption of agile frameworks, not just in platform development, but across the organization. I believe that the focus on people will help us build better products and processes while dealing with this crisis,” said Ramachandran.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 impact is a sign for us as owners where we are likely to see a new normal of unpredictable audience movement. This will remain over the course of a few months post COVID-19. The real challenge for us, being passionate veterans in the OOH industry, is to rebuild advertiser confidence on OOH media.

On a parting note, Ramachandran said: “We need to move away from targeting singular locations and shift the focus to reaching audiences at the right locations and make OOH measurable, automated and outcome-driven. From my conversations with CEOs of all stakeholders including agencies and media owners, I am confident that OOH media business will rebound, especially for those who use this crisis as a transformation tool.”

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