"Outdoor agency set-up thrives because of fragmentation in the industry"

Though managing a fragmented audience can be expensive, it also opens up opportunities to build more meaningful relationships between brands & consumers

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Updated: Jun 4, 2013 9:08 AM
"Outdoor agency set-up thrives because of fragmentation in the industry"

Advancement in technology is rapidly changing the media scenario, which is resulting in disruption of established business models in advertising. Perhaps the most significant change that can be observed is the fragmentation of the media landscape and its audience.

Experts believe that media fragmentation has created a range of new challenges and opportunities for brands and agencies. Despite the advancements, the out of home industry is still struggling to get its due credit in brands’ media plans.

Moreover, growth in the number of players is leading to clutter, especially in the city space, and bringing in newer media formats is becoming difficult. There are too many business complexities. Considering these factors, exchange4media examines the fragmentation in the Indian outdoor landscape.

The area of ‘concern’
Currently, marketers see outdoor as a relationship-based medium. What rate they get or the number of sites they pick up depends on their relationship with the outdoor media owner or the agency’s relationship with them.

According to Rajeeb Dash, Head – Marketing, Tata Housing, “Many a times media buying process in outdoor turns out to be a tedious task. This is mainly because there are too many people involved in the buying process as there are too many players in the market offering multiple rates. There are times when marketers have a trouble of getting a suitable site too.”

“When buying efficiency gets affected there are chances that there is an unexpected rise in the price which burns a hole in our pocket too. All this leads to nothing but frustration”, added Dash.

The ‘way’ out
On the other K Ramakrishnan, President – Marketing, Café Coffee Day, believes that fragmentation is a reality in any media and not just the outdoor media. “As long as we understand and accept this, the utilisation and the likely solution will become simpler.” Ramakrishnan suggests the possible way to handle this in outdoor advertising, which is as follows:
Innovation in the content – either in form or in words
Innovation in choice of location. It is not only important to be selective but also to be sharp in targeting
Polarisation towards just one type of locations
Longer term blocking of fewer sites

The window of ‘opportunity’
Though managing a fragmented audience and a daunting range of outdoor media can be expensive and complex, it also opens up opportunities to build more meaningful and personalised relationships between brands and consumers. Media planners have a different view on this.

According to Sonia Lal, Vice President – South, DDB MudraMax, “An outdoor agency set-up thrives because of fragmentation in the industry. A good planner and buyer is a must to design an effective campaign. Also, fragmentation to a large extent has helped keep the media rates in check and also maintain sufficient supply, which in a way ensures better availability of media when needed for a campaign.”

Himanka Das, Senior Vice President – West, Carat Media also has an optimistic view on this. “Today, we have a warehouse of data gathered in collaboration with leading research and technology groups on which planners via analytic models arrive at insights and media platforms. To deliver reach is hygiene, however, a medium is fragmented. What makes us different at the market place is our ability to bring innovative and impactful presence at the out of home space for brands basis the insight, is that when consumers stops, sees it and talks about it.”

Having said this, consolidation in the Indian outdoor business is what many players are looking forward in the coming days. Though newer players are coming into the system, long-term survival of these businesses is uncertain. It will be interesting to see how different stakeholders of the outdoor industry address the issue of fragmentation with much more seriousness and efficiency.

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