Will OTT players rekindle their OOH connection post lockdown?

COVID-19 has affected the symbiotic dynamics of outdoor advertising and OTT platforms. But experts hope that OOH will make up for the lost time when human traffic increases post the lockdown

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Published: May 6, 2020 8:55 AM  | 5 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant nation-wide lockdown have both left a severe impact on the OOH business. The OTT players were among the most important clients for the OOH agencies in 2019. Popular OTT shows were promoted on OOH from Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime to Leila and Sacred Games on Netflix, which was also among the highest OOH spenders.

The OTT platforms were advertising and spending on OOH to target maximum reach and grab consumer attention for those who consume content on the go. The Industry experts had pegged the growth at around 10 per cent and had estimated annual media spends approximately Rs 3,700 crore, which could amplify the growth of DOOH, OTT, and transit advertising.

With the nationwide lockdown, many OTT players have shifted towards Digital and Television mediums to showcase their offerings. With many new consumers being exposed to Video-On-Demand this consumption pattern will surely continue post-COVID-19 and become the new normal.

e4m spoke to some OOH Industry leaders about the shift causing a loss for them and if OTT platforms will bounce back to advertising on the OOH medium post-COVID-19.

According to Jayesh Yagnik, CEO, MOMS Outdoor Media Solutions this will definitely be a loss to the OOH medium as they were the highest spenders on the OOH medium for the past two consecutive years. “Post-COVID, if you are talking about 2-3 months down the line, I don’t expect them to come back on OOH at the earlier spend levels. However eventually by 4-6 months we can expect the out of home movement to return to normalcy and then OOH will definitely come back stronger than before with the inclusion DOOH and pDOOH as well as newer media formats and hopefully lesser policy restrictions”, remarked Yagnik.

The OOH medium has been an ‘Impact Media’ for OTT platforms. Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group believes that they will have to return to OOH to reach their TG and grab maximum eyeballs. "For all OTT platforms, OOH media has been an important part of their advertising pie, especially for the launch of new shows", shares Shrivastava.

Shrivastava remarks, "In the past, we have also seen how OOH had worked as a reminder medium to increase downloads and keep users of different OTT platforms active. Our award-winning experiment for Zee5 is a case in point. With the gradual increase of DOOH and pDOOH, OTT platforms will turn toward OOH media for innovation and disruption. Finally, the availability of audience metrics and delivery data for OOH, pioneered by us, will be the shot in the arm for OOH. This will enable OOH and digital to converge and deliver high RoI for the OTT channels.”

Fabian Cowan, Director Posterscope India sharing his views said, "OOH has always been one of the lead mediums for the OTT category. OTT platforms used OOH consistently because of its merits and the benefits it derived from it in terms of impact, contextual content-based campaign possibilities, and localization. These attributes of the medium will continue to remain its mainstay and we believe more so post COVID as OOH will be the best place to be given that people will be more eager to venture out of home and will be more receptive to communication. We certainly believe that OTT platforms will come back to OOH in a big way."

This COVID-19 outbreak has brought in a new behavioural change of adopting social distancing as a regular practice. Ketan B Lakhani, Director, Orienta Cine Advertising sharing his views commented, “This will surely will make people adopt more of personal transport than opting for public transport. As a result, there would be more human traffic exposed to outdoor advertising in the coming days. We believe outdoor advertising will enjoy more leveraging post the lockdown. As this is the safest and most unavoidable medium of advertising, which will never get disturbed."

At the end of the tunnel, there might be a silver lining. A recent report by Laqshya Media Group report on ‘Perceptions, Aspirations, and Anticipations of Indian Millennials++ Post COVID-19’ has found out that a whopping 86% of millennials interviewed said that they will notice OOH advertising as much or more than they did before.

On a parting note, Upinder Singh, Project Director, Edge1 OOH Software, said, "With outdoor advertising being suspended, it does create a dent in the OTT marketing outreach. As the audiences are meant to stay at home during the lockdown, they are consuming content digitally at every part of the day. But we can't deny the fact that OOH has helped OTT platforms to place itself in the first place. I firmly believe that once the lockdown gets over, OTT will be back to advertising on the streets because it is the only medium that provides full-size impact and builds brand image."

The overall sentiment is that the OOH Industry will bounce back once the restrictions are lifted up entirely. Till then, the OTT platforms, with their brand message innovations, will leverage from other media platforms from their marketing mix.

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