Unreasonable pricing is a big challenge for OOH industry: Director, Graphisads

According to Alok Gupta, Delhi has become too expensive a market for clients to execute outdoor campaigns

e4m by Dolly Mahayan
Updated: Aug 27, 2018 8:57 AM

Alok Gupta, Director of OOH agency Graphisads, believes that there are ample opportunities to transform the OOH sector now as traditional media owners have finally started looking at digital aspect of the domain.

According to Gupta, one the biggest challenges that the medium faces is unreasonable pricing. Gupta says that Delhi has become too expensive a market for a client to execute outdoor campaigns. exchange4media caught up with him to talk about the changes that one can see in the OOH landscape in the near future, his views on DOOH and more.

Here are the edited excerpts:

What are the major changes that you expect to see in the OOH landscape with the advent of new technologies?

There is a lot of correlation between digital and out of home as both are hyper local in nature. In future, we can see a lot of social media companies integrating with outdoor advertising agencies and offering new opportunities to client for interacting with end consumers.

Is the OOH domain bringing more brands into its fold? What is your experience in this regard?

Indeed, a lot of new clients are coming into outdoor. But, at the same point, a lot of clients have also started to leave the industry because of unreasonable pricing. For instance, Delhi has become too expensive a market for clients to execute outdoor campaigns. Somewhere down the line, media owners need to realise that clients’ budget is not increasing. Only media owners’ payments to the authority have increased. At our end, we try and pick outdoor media at judicious prices and offer the same to our clients at reasonable rates. Further, we also struggle with the fact that there is no data about outdoor medium. It is an irony that in a market with more than 10 crore televisions,  20,000 BARC boxes (sample size of .000002%) help media planners and buyers decide on a budget of more than Rs 30,000 crores per annumm.

What are your views on Digital OOH? Going forward, do you think it will become a huge growth driver for the OOH industry?

This is actually digital 2.0 scenario for out of home industry. Ten years ago, many players, including OOH media, tried to offer digital to clients but could not succeed. However, with new clients coming in with a lot of global perspective, digital is gaining ground. At the same time, traditional media owners have also started to look at digital media opportunities and even authorities are willing to offer long-term contracts. Over a period of decade, we could expect a significant movement towards digital out of home.

Tell us about Graphisads’ journey so far? What interesting things can we see this year?

Our journey at Graphisads has been great. We have always had a decent market share in Delhi and offer media to our clients at economical rates. The first turning point for our organisation was the 2010 Commonwealth Games, wherein we bagged a project to create street furniture infrastructure in Delhi that helped us get noticed in the industry. Now again, we have some new projects lined up-- one of which is for the creation of public cycle sharing system in New Delhi. We are hoping that this project will become the talk of the town. At the same time, we are expanding to other markets such as Bhopal, UP, Haryana. Primarily, we're looking at long-term projects on BOT basis.

Any tips you’d like to give to the clients for outdoor campaigns?

There are some factors that clients should keep in mind while doing outdoor campaigns. Since the time is very limited, the creative for outdoor should be different from other mediums. We still see a lot of clients making the mistake of cut-copy-paste print ads in outdoor. For example, digital outdoor is a specialised domain and clients should consult with outdoor specialists, be it media owner or media agencies, who are experienced enough to handle their budgets.

As a media vehicle, outdoor is always open to experimentation and innovations. Hence, we always try and suggest our clients to keep 10-15 % of the budget aside for innovation as it can double the impact of the campaign. Last but not the least, clients need to shed their know-it-all persona and be willing to learn more about this industry. For instance, in Delhi market, we still see that a lot of campaigns either happen in South Delhi or Gurgaon. But Delhi today is much different from what it was 20 years ago. The spending capacity of people in North-West-East Delhi is much more than South now! We need to move out from perceptions and look at ground realities.

Where do you see the OOH industry in India five years from now? Do you think digital media has affected the domain?

I see a lot of consolidations happening, as many smart cities are coming up now. Outdoor is being seen as a serious revenue generation opportunity. It shall also help the industry since contracts are expected to be for longer period. However, it implies that there shall be some sort of consolidation wherein 80 per cent market will be controlled by 20 per cent players and vice versa. We aim to be one of the 20 per cent players.

I don’t think that digital media has affected our domain, but I do think that when digital outdoor will come into play, there shall be great synergies with digital media and we will be able to cater to a lot of new clientele in future.

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