'Unless DOOH has 15-20% share of the media inventory, it will not become a serious medium'

Nabendu Bhattacharyya, CEO & MD of Milestone Brandcom, speaks about the growth of the agency and DOOH space in India

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Nov 22, 2019 10:13 AM

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Nabendu Bhattacharyya

Milestone Brandcom started its journey in the year 2009 and they have been in the business for almost 10 years.

Nabendu Bhattacharyya, CEO, Managing Director, Milestone Brandcom heads the agency with pride. His 3 'D' mantra has been the driving force behind this agency - Discipline, Dedication & Determination of taking the agency to newer heights. He was previously heading Ogilvy Action as President. Post that role Bhattacharyya wanted to start something of his own. "My passion for the industry helped me connect with my clients. Most of the stakeholders including media partners wanted to help us to bring about a change in the OOH industry. Based on that we formed Milestone. We had a clear focus and intent to make a difference and grew in 2-3 years as the No.1 agency in the country", remarks Bhattacharyya.

The agency wanted to challenge the status quo in terms of media planning, monitoring, and technological development. As a result of this global players wanted to acquire the agency. Both WPP and Dentsu Aegis wanted to acquire Milestone. The OOH agency eventually partnered with Dentsu Aegis Network. They have completed 5 years of the acquisition journey and are operating independently.

The initial network and connection were built on the client base from Bhattacharyya's previous relationship and some brand associations were carried forward. Bhattacharyya says, "At the end of the day Discipline (relationship and delivery); Determination (To build something for the industry) and Determination (your own passion) helps in the brand growth. As we are completing 10 years we are still growing stronger. Our attrition level is close to ZERO. Most of our key clients have been working with us since our inception. We have a mix of domestic and global clients. We have been handling Airtel for the last 6 years; Titan Group we are handling for at least 8-9 years; L'Oréal Group has been with us for more than 8 years; DBS Bank 4 Years. Few of our other clients - DSP Mutual Funds, Bajaj Auto, Toyota, ICICI Bank, Zee Group, Colors TV, Yamaha, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance; Cars24, Pepsico, AMFI have been associated with us more than 3 years now. It all comes down to capability, understanding, and investment in data technology."

Milestone Brandcom has been one of the pioneers in the country to develop a tracking mechanism to deliver OOH ROI called 'Milestone Optimizer'. It was launched in the year 2014 and with time has built a strong AI database to predict and deliver efficient and effective OOH media plans. This tool delivers Gross Impression Points (to evaluate cost per contact of a particular campaign). With the help of syndicated databases along with Google Maps API's, IRS and JFK traffic count, they cover pre and post-campaign analysis.

Bhattacharyya remarks that the DOOH space is very nascent in the country. He added, "Digital is current only 3 per cent out of the total OOH media mix. This is growing but has a very small base. It really has a long way to go. Unless the DOOH space becomes a regular phenomenon or at least 15-20% of the media inventory it will not become a serious medium of choice for clients. Currently, it is restricted to closed environment spaces (ambient locations, corporate parks, transit junctions, airports etc) and unless it cascades to ROAD which is the key subject for advertisers, it will not be part of the overall strategy of the campaign.” The campaigns at the airport are used as a static format and not a video campaign. There is also a restriction in creativity too as the medium doesn't allow you to do certain campaigns. With all this,  Bhattacharyya is in favour of DOOH with the proper structure and inventory available to showcase its potential.

In conclusion, Bhattacharyya states that the key trend OOH players should keep in mind going forward is that there is a need for research and consultation. "Data is going to be much more important as the days go by. Along with that, the aesthetic beauty in terms of structure any media owner develops is a positive message to stakeholders and media partners. Most of the brands are looking to be on the billboard in the same way it's done in the International markets. They want to be part of that kind of structure and medium which is visible Internationally in terms of the look and feel. The moment those kinds of superstructures are built there will be more clients available to avail the facility", stated Bhattacharyya.

"Going forward, the Government will get into a lot of PPP (Public-Private Partnership) projects and Smart City developments will continue to happen. A lot of good inventory will be available for long term players to invest from the client's point of view too. Like the naming rights of metro stations. These kinds of mediums which are long term will be a great way to showcase creativity and those particular metro stations will be available to brands to launch campaigns. This trend will continue and will be more visible as the government will be looking at some partners to fund their projects. This will be very visible and will be a good investment for the OOH industry", signed off Bhattacharyya.

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