OOH sector in dire need of currency

At exchange4media OOH Conference, Madison OOH’s Saumitra Bhattacharya, BlackBerry’s Amar Thomas, Posterscope’s Haresh Nayak, Milestone Brandcom’s Nabendu Bhattacharyya, and Laqshya Media Group’s Shashi Sinha talk about measures for retaining and attracting brands towards OOH

e4m by Abid Hasan
Updated: Mar 30, 2015 9:17 AM
OOH sector in dire need of currency

 At the fifth edition of the exchange4media OOH Conference, industry leaders and stakeholders shared their opinion on ‘Innovations to drive OOH relevance & how to retain and attract brands towards OOH’.

Talking about the current scenario, Saumitra Bhattacharya, CEO, Madison OOH said, “In India OOH is like an old passenger train being pulled by steam engine and the current situation is all of a sudden there is an express train behind us honking madly asking us to move out of the way or run faster.

There are two things we can do, either we can speed up on our own or we let the passenger train push us along. OOH is currently in a dangerous situation where we can be pushed along because, what is happening here, OOH is the integrated with technology; digital, TV, print and everything and all those other mediums are far advanced in terms of their availability of proving ROI and their capabilities of telling everybody how good they are.”

He added, “Innovation basically is doing something new and that happens only once, and after that it’s not an innovation. And then you move on to another innovation which means you just can’t sit back and say I have done an innovation , you have to constantly keep on innovating. There are four things driving OOH and they are data, technology, content and media. We need to control all four things to be in control but the problem is we are controlling only one thing which is media.”
He also pointed out, “We don’t have control on data, everybody has data but there is no currency, we don’t have any control on content or technology. It has been driven by somebody else. I think we are at a point where unless we make that steam engine faster, we will become marginal.”

Amar Thomas, Head Marketing, BlackBerry India said, “As a marketer for me it’s not a conversation between digital or OOH. Both mediums have different purposes to serve as one can’t exist without the another. OOH for me as a marketer is an impact medium, in digital we talk about clicks, likes, retweets  and all of that but in OOH it is 80/ 60 feet, 60/ 40 or any particular place. No digital can say that ‘I can measure your investment so put your money here’. The challenge for the industry as ooh is to fight for the share of wallet as digital is 10 percent ooh is 6 per cent; the idea we need to come up with is to answer the question - why should I pour more money? Let’s talk about growth than de-growth.”

On innovation he spoke about the ways in which you change yourselves and reach to larger audiences. Citing an example he said, “The way we changed ourselves was in form of qwerty keypad. Everything is the same, but instead of using buttons, we have shifted to finger touch.”

Haresh Nayak, Regional Director, Posterscope APAC said,  “For me innovation is not a neon light on a billboard or some engagement which we do on a bus shelter. It is the smallest of change to do an activity, or drive a new idea and bring change.”

He said everyone is looking at innovation differently. Someone is looking at how to bring engagement, innovation in terms of data in a couple of markets, and although everybody has data, the data is not measurable.

Nayak stressed on the importance of talent because it’s as an industry driven by people. He said, “At Posterscope we have a trend that we don’t hire people from trade. 70 per cent of our people don’t come from trade; we are encouraging people from outside.”

Nabendu Bhattacharyya, Founder and MD, Milestone Brandcom defined the meaning of innovation in today’s world and also gave a practical example of what they have done.

Innovation should be  eye- popping, never done before, something very big, but with limited money, that should put smiles on people’s faces; it should sell, and brand manager should win an award, he said.
Giving an example of innovation for one of their clients McDonald’s,  he spoke about the Double Aaloo Tikki campaign where they decided to bring innovation with double taxis and double autos on the roads.

Shashi Sinha, Executive VP and Business Head, Laqshya Media Group highlighted how significant and ancient the OOH medium is. He said, today it is re-discovering itself and becoming more relevant for people. People are spending more time out of their home. When you need consolidated attention this is the medium to opt for. People are spending more time out of their home and switching between destinations. This is the best medium to share information and it gets audience attention.

He also pointed measurement is not a problem as nothing in this world is measured; attention cannot be measured.
The panel discussed how a currency can play a significant role to boost this industry. Amar Thomas added, “We don’t have to work in such a scenario where we will divide audiences in the number of billboards and square feet.”

Adding to that, Nabendu Bhattacharyya asked, “Unless we bring technology how are we going to engage the audiences?” Shashi Sinha said, “Industry needs a currency. There should be data and accuracy and we need to speak to the right media.”

Bhattacharya added, “Clients need to start deducting and create a fund put it in for currency. We are moving to direction of a currency.”

From the client’s point of view, Amar Thomas said, “Build, break and innovate. Digital has its own strength and you will continue to go from six percent to ten percent in marketing budgets. Digital will compliment you, re-invent yourself.”

Saumitro Bhattacharya concluded by saying, currently we are investing in inventory, we should invest in audience.

The panellists aired their views at exchange4media’s OOH Conference 2015 presented by Posterscope in association with Laqshya Media Group.

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