Saturday, May 30, 2009

Outdoor media's local flavour is difficult to ignore

The strange case of outdoor media
Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, Business Standard, New Delhi May 19, 2009, 0:27 IST

It is one of the most reviled of media formats. Across the world outdoor or out-of-home (OOH) media faces the wrath of environmentalists, regulators and traffic authorities so much so that in most developed markets OOH companies and associations spend a lot of money on studies to prove that outdoor media does not cause accidents, is not harmful to the environment and reduces the civic authorities dependence on taxes among other things...

If it is such an unorganised market why have investors been pouring money into outdoor media? Some of the reasons are obvious. Consumers are spending a lot of time outside their home — studying, walking, travelling, working, hanging out. So OOH media tries to attract them at these times, either in the ambience of their consumption or while they travel. Advertisers like OOH media for its local flavour and because it is difficult to ignore.

At a broader level however two key indicators show that the Indian market is hitting critical mass. First, one of the biggest areas for investment in India is infrastructure. The modernisation of existing airports and the development of new ones, along with the growth of organised retail and the increase in theatre chains and multiplexes are creating organised supply of OOH media. Most infrastructure project usually factor in advertising as a revenue stream. For instance, Times OOH has won the ad rights in Delhi and Mumbai Airports which account for 42.7 million footfalls in 2007. That is a lot of people with many hours to stare at billboards.

Similarly organised retail is not just one of the largest spenders on outdoor globally; it is also one of the biggest suppliers of it. In a fragmented and disorganised market such as India, dealing with just a few companies makes life easier for the advertiser. Future Media, for instance, offers television, print, activation and a host of other services like any other media company. It is an offshoot of Kishore Biyani’s Future Group and exploits the media possibilities in owning hundreds of retail stores across millions of square feet. The writer is a media consultant Tags : MEDIA SCOPE OOH media environment

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