Digital Signage Asia 2008: Proximity to point of sale makes it a potent medium

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | October 07, 2008
Arun Sharma spoke about the potent nature of the medium and made a few predictions about the future

"The & #BANNER1 & # medium has a high reach among the higher SEC's, which is the most difficult to reach audience," said Arun Sharma, general manager - marketing, head of media, sponsorships and alliances, Bharti Airtel, while addressing the attendees at Digital Signage Asia 2008 at Nehru Centre, Worli.

Sharma was making a point about buying digital signage and the expectations, challenges and insights that come with it. He started by enlisting certain factors that are in favour of digital signage, such as the proximity of the medium to the point of purchase, the ubiquitous nature of the medium and the flexibility with which it can be used locally as well as nationally.

Next, he outlined the factors that work against the medium: the medium receives viewer attention for a very short time span; audio isn't part of the content that is on display in most cases; and digital signage presently enjoys only about 0.2 per cent of a media plan.

Arun Sharma
However, Sharma pointed out that the medium, in contrast to similar display mediums, is very different. Audience profiling has shown that about 70-80 per cent men have exposure to digital signage. Most of these belong to SEC A and around 90 per cent of these men are less than 35 years of age. Hence, the audience specifications make it easier to customise the communication.

This also means that the medium requires a different creative strategy. "Dynamic digital screens are a medium that provides the brand with a segmented audience and closure to purchase," said Sharma. But the sad part is that it is treated as a poor cousin of the television.

Sharma tried to arrive at a solution that could up the 0.2 per cent spent towards digital signage. He suggested that the spots that run on digital signage should be kept short. "Spontaneous ad recall drops as length of the ad increase," he said. According to him, spots of approximately 15-20 seconds should be good.

The spot must also be relevant to the environment in which it is displayed. The content must be high on the stickiness factor, because higher stickiness leads to higher recall. Another factor that will bring brands high on viewers' recall is the footfalls that it garners.

In spite of all this going for digital signage as a medium, there is no industry body that will measure the consumption of the medium and help the industry. Sharma said that a third party ad monitoring system will help. Also, research data that offers comparison between dynamic display screens, and not with television, is a step ahead.

Sharma foresees dynamic display screens giving a big fight to all other media, including outdoor and radio. "It is the most potent retail point of sale medium," he emphasised. Sharma also said that digital signage would revolutionise the transport industry.

Digital Signage Asia 2008, in its second year, is presented by Scala. The associate sponsor is Vu Technologies, network partner is BusinessQ and media partners include Point-of-Purchase, Outdoor Advertising,, DSW, The Brand Reporter and afaqs!.

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