Screen Media India event on digital signages, the panel of speakers discussed the rising potential of the digital out of home medium in India. The speakers included Pranesh Misra, global director, marketing accountability, Lowe & Partners Worldwide; Kamal Oberoi, chairman and managing director, M&C Saatchi; and Sudha Natrajan, joint president, Lintas Media Group.
Pranesh Misra said that the real potential of digital screens is not only in the outdoor spaces, but also in spaces where the audience is found captive in various settings. These settings could include places such as buses, local trains or elevator waiting areas.
Misra said organised retail forms just 1-2 per cent of the entire retail market in the country. In the next three years, this market may grow to 6 per cent. With the sixfold rise, there will be ample opportunity for advertisers to address consumers through points of purchase in supermarkets and malls.
Kamal Oberoi said that the digital medium creates lots of excitement because of its sheer placement in various settings. However, advertisers have been very reluctant to invest money in the digital OOH medium so far. They feel they are following a blind spot by advertising on digital OOH, and wonder whether people really pay attention to the messages they put up. According to Oberoi, the reluctance of advertisers can be converted into enthusiasm by creating shock and awe value with the digital medium.
Making digital OOH engaging for consumers and exciting for advertisers is the greatest challenge for digital OOH networks today. However, engagement can be achieved by making a difference with the content. The content should be tailored to appeal to the consumers and should be very specific to the environment in which it is being displayed. Oberoi urged digital networks to invest in technology which would make it possible to link digital signages with mobile phones.
Sudha Natrajan pointed out that clients have to be educated about the future potential of this medium. Most advertisers see it as a top-up along with strategic media such as TV, print and outdoor. They do not think digital OOH to be capable of becoming a strategic medium on its own. Examples of various case studies from foreign markets can help advertisers in India understand the intrinsic value of the medium.
In future, ad agencies will have to create specialised cells to create specific content for digital screens. Digital advertising's share in the global advertising pie is just 6 per cent. However, merely dumping money into the medium will not help attract the consumer's attention. What can help is the kind of relevance the digital medium creates for the consumer with specifically designed content.