VIA OOH, the
out of home company that was launched just a few months ago, has added multiple properties to its portfolio in the past month. VIA stands for Vehicular, Infrastructure and Airports.
The new properties include billboards in Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai and also public utilities like toilet blocks in important places such as Nehru Place and ITO in Delhi. VIA OOH has the prestigious Oberoi Flyover billboard in Delhi and is also putting up key sites in Andheri and the Lokhandwala area in Mumbai. The company has made a financial commitment of US$2 million for about 12 properties in the Delhi NCR and six in Mumbai.
Why the focus on the Mumbai and Delhi markets? "The Delhi NCR and Mumbai alone account for 65 per cent of all OOH spends in India. That is why VIA is focusing on these two key markets for now. Starting next year, VIA will expand into the South and the East," he says.
The company will also be making its foray into digital OOH, with a pilot project to be launched in the fourth quarter. It is currently in negotiations for more properties in the Delhi NCR and Mumbai.
Also commenting on the incident of Chennai's hoardings being stripped recently, Kureshi says, "The Chennai incident was bound to happen. When there is no self-regulation, harsher regulations will come in. Chennai had a mushrooming of hoardings, and they were a huge source of visual pollution. Besides, many had come up on government land, pavements and other illegal property. This is what happens when you try to get all your eggs in one day. You kill the hen. I believe that the Indian state governments will get active to reduce the visual pollution."
Citing international examples, he says that Brazil has already banned almost all billboards in Sao Paulo. Japan has banned all rooftop ads and neon signs in Kyoto because they contributed to excessive visual pollution. He says there is now talk of France following the same example.
For the record, VIA OOH was set up by Kureshi and Shamik Talukder, who were earlier chief operating officer and national revenue head, respectively, at Times OOH.