Railway & transit OOH to weather the lockdown setback, say experts

Industry gurus deliberate on the impact of the lockdown on the medium and share their predictions for H2

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Apr 13, 2020 9:10 AM
Transit OOH Impact on Coronavirus

The lockdown prompted by the spread of novel coronavirus in India has brought the RA-OOH (Railway Audio Advertising) to a standstill. Many public modes of transport have been restricted nationwide and major transit OOH mediums like bus stands will go unnoticed during this period. The lockdown has taken a toll on all media industries and OOH properties have been hit hard.

RA- OOH advertising has an array of consumer touchpoints and is one of the most innovative and budget-effective techniques to reach to the mass hyper-local target audience. Now, due to the lockdown, these touchpoints have been disrupted.

According to Atul Shrivastava, Group CEO, Laqshya Media Group, “Transit OOH advertising is a great way to reach out to regional markets. The medium is the lifeline of our country with crores of travellers depending on railways for their family, work, education or leisure. The importance of the transport system cannot be ignored as brands can reach wide and diverse consumers. It is, in fact, the most effective way to reach rural markets. The current scenario of the corona outbreak has definitely impacted Transit OOH and we are anticipating a 10-12% loss in the annual billings of this medium. However, if the virus is contained largely within April’20, the industry scenario will change with the positive numbers and impact.”

 Talking about the challenges transit OOH is facing, Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions, shared, "The medium of railway and transit thrives due to an increase in the individual travels. That being said, this medium has to bear the most brunt of the lockdown due to its inherent nature of socializing either for business or personal. We have always been saying that India is moving to world-class infrastructure and transit has a major role to play in it. More and more brands are including transit media along with traditional to widen the reach. It will surely take some time for life to be restored to normal. However, as soon as the lockdown is over I believe there will be a U- shaped recovery curve."

Rajesh Radhakrishnan, Founder & Director, Vritti iMedia commented, “All the lines of our business have got impacted. Our property Audiowalla bus stand and the Activations business have been impacted too. Even our experiential business that used to be integrated at bus stands are at a standstill. What is working at the moment is digital and it is continuing in business. Overall the decision-making process has been effected between us and the newer businesses acquired.”

 Anjum Tanwar, Vice President, Brandscope says that with the government of India announcing complete lockdown of all cities and towns for a period of 21 days, it is quite evident that almost all major businesses in the OOH Industry are bearing losses with each passing day. Railway and transit OOH is not an exception here.

 “As per the Railway Ministry’s recent survey, they have incurred losses worth INR 450 crores and around 7 million on ticket cancellations due to COVID-19. The brands have either suspended or pushed their campaigns until further notice as there is uncertainty hovering over. I believe the business will come to normalcy once the virus is contained and people go back to their usual life patterns, post which brands will quickly bounce back with their campaigns. With the kind of effort of our frontline warriors are putting in every day, the pandemic is not going to last for long. And then given the nature of our business and the speed at which it can deliver, we will resume in H2 2020. We do foresee a bulk of ad spending taking place in the latter part of the year”, remarked Tanwar.

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