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With growth close to 20-25 per cent, it's time to take a fresh look at Outdoor

20-October-2005
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With growth close to 20-25 per cent, it's time to take a fresh look at Outdoor

Gone are the days when outdoor media meant huge billboards at strategic places. Today, outdoor has become an integral part of the advertising and media mix – in India as well as globally. Outdoor is now being increasingly used for brand-building and not merely as a support media.

It has started receiving more investments and a greater interest from media planners, architects and indeed brand marketers on the quality of display. This is an exciting period in the evolution of the industry where a balance between legislative controls, aesthetic use and satisfaction of the huge demands for more and larger displays are being sought by all stake-holders leading to a lot of experimentation, trials and of course turf battles.

Said Indrajit Sen, President, Primesite, "New industry outdoor trends that we have noticed are that spends on outdoor is increasing. The media is growing at around 20-25 per cent. The size of the outdoor industry (traditional – that is, billboards, street furniture, street kiosks, transit, mobile, etc) currently is around Rs 850 crore, with nearly 55-60 per cent of this business being routed through specialist agencies like Primesite, Ogilvy Activation (Landscapes), Portland, MOMS, etc."

"In this case, a large spender is the print media. People have started spending a lot in print media. We are seeing transit media working out in the airports, railways, and metros. Efforts are being made to modernise railway stations, airports and the Metros as well. It is the same case with the highways. Better options are being expected to be seen in the coming year," Sen added.

He further said that the technology was changing a lot, too. More LEDs (light emitting diverts) and more opposed dynamic advertising are expected by next year. Though LCDs (liquid crystal displays) are not exactly an outdoor media, they are on the rise too. Compared to LCDs, LED is much bigger and the visibility is more. LEDs are being used in outdoors like traffic lights and automobiles.

In India, the major players in outdoor include Primesite, Madison MOMS, Portland and Ogilvy Activation. Ad agencies with OOH operations such as Mudra (Primesite), Lintas (Aaren Initiative), O&M (Ogilvy Activation) and Madison Outdoor (MOMS) are incorporating software-led technology packages that are likely to further change the face of outdoor advertising in the country, apart from boosting the business potential of this segment.

Sen further explained that another interesting trend was the entry of foreign players in India. "STAR is working towards getting outdoor news from Russia. We can expect a lot of activity and investment. The advertisers will gain the most. Several leading agencies have come together to form the Indian Outdoors Ad Agencies Association (IOAAA). It had initiated a national outdoor study in which we measured the national outdoor currency available here. This is a very significant step taken by the industry."

"The major brands that frequently use the outdoor include MUL, HT, Zee Network, Jet Airways, McDonalds – North, Epson, apart from, of course, Amul," Sen added.

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