and advertisers can finally look forward to effective outdoor advertising. The long awaited outdoor media measurement tool will be launched in India by the end of this year. At the Outdoor Advertising Convention (OAC) 2007, Roda Mehta, chairperson, technical committee, Media Research Users Council (MRUC), revealed the plans for the first syndicated audience measurement system in India for outdoor media. This tool will be known as the Indian Outdoor Survey (IOS).
IOS will aim to address certain key issues in outdoor advertising for media planners and buyers, advertisers and media owners. Media planners and buyers are generally concerned with matters of knowing the reach and the OTS (opportunity to see) being delivered by a site, the effect of outdoor advertising and if it can be scientifically compared with that of print and TV, the way to speed up the arduous site selection process and efficient ways of spending the client's budget.
Since a decade or so, the UK, Ireland, Singapore and the Scandinavian countries have relied on an outdoor audience measurement tool called POSTAR; in India, the measurement of the outdoor industry has been non-research based. The media owners, media planners and the advertisers in the country have relied on subjective categorisation of sites into good and bad and guesstimates and gut feelings about its reach.
The research programme for IOS will be organised by MRUC and Hansa Research. IOS aims to use worldwide methodology by adapting the international model to the Indian context. This will help the media planners and buyers, advertisers and media owners to get audience reach and frequency for each out of home vehicle, along with the profile of the audience. All information about audience reach and frequency will be readily available on the geographic information system (GIS) based planning software. Subscriptions for this software will be available both as per national and city specific requirements.
IOS will work by developing a visibility index of each outdoor vehicle. It will measure the physical characteristics of an outdoor site to derive visibility by the audience. It will then estimate the traffic that passes by that site to generate the total (OTS). Then, using the visibility index, the OTS will be netted down to create a conclusive visibility adjusted impact (VAI). Through a sample survey of individuals in each city, IOS will derive the profile of travel patterns of city residents and, using that, arrive at the audience reached and exposed to each site.
The OOH units for the survey will include hoardings, bus shelters, public utilities, bridges, kiosks, unipoles, police chowkis and Gypsy shelters. For the traffic count, the five modes of travel will comprise four wheelers, including only cars and taxis, three wheelers, including auto rickshaws, two wheelers, including bikes and scooters, and buses and pedestrians.
The IOS research will have three research modules. The first one will help to draw the site characteristics and visibility index by including mapping and a census count of outdoor sites divided into eight types of outdoor vehicles. The second will include a traffic survey, where the traffic count for pre-selected stretches will be done in each city every 15 minutes and every two hours from 7am to 10pm on one weekday and one Sunday. This module will help arrive at the gross reach and the OTS for each site. The third module will do a travel survey among 27,500 households for travel patterns, demographic profiles, durable ownership and other media consumption. This will eventually help arrive at the target audience exposed to reach, frequency and OTS for each site.
The measurement programme will be spread over five years and conducted in 19 cities; 15 of these cities will be updated twice during the period, while four of the cities will be updated only once.
Phase 1 of the coverage plan will start in December 2007 and will cover two cities, Chennai and Ahmedabad. The data for these two cities will be updated twice in the third and the fourth years. Phase 2 will be launched in March 2008 and will cover cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Jaipur, Lucknow and Kochi. The next four cities will be decided and covered in the second year of the plan and four more will be included in the third year.