Ankit Ajmera

FICCI Frames 2008: The way ahead for OOH

Changing lifestyles have provided mobility to people. They are spending more time outdoors than inside their homes. This provides opportunities for the OOH industry to grow at a faster rate than the overall advertising industry

The size of the global outdoor advertising industry stands at US$27 billion. It is the second fastest growing industry after digital. In India, the advertising industry is growing at 17 per cent CAGR (cumulative annual growth rate) at present. The panellists at FICCI Frames 2008 discussed the various factors, other than digital and technological advances, that have led to the growth of the medium.

The panel included Dennis Sullivan, advisor, Outdoor Advertising Industry, UK; David Dorfman, senior vice-president, Lehman Brothers, New York; and Partho Dasgupta, chief executive officer, Future Media. The session was moderated by AP Parigi, chairman, FICCI Radio Forum, managing director, ENIL, and director, Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd.

FICCI Frames 2008: The way ahead for OOH
Dennis Sullivan
FICCI Frames 2008: The way ahead for OOH
David Dorfman
FICCI Frames 2008: The way ahead for OOH
Partho Dasgupta
FICCI Frames 2008: The way ahead for OOH
AP Parigi
Sullivan said a crucial factor for the growth of OOH media has been the rise in mobility of people. He shared some figures which revealed that people in the UK were spending less and less time indoors. The time spent on television on an average weekday was just three hours and 13 minutes, on radio, two hours and 12 minutes, and on newspapers and magazines, 11 minutes and seven minutes, respectively. While on one hand, the time spent on various media has decreased, car ownership has grown by three times in the last five years. As people spend more time outside their homes, out of home advertising has regained the relevance it had during the pre-TV era of the 1950s.

In addition, there has been a rise in the number of organised players in the OOH industry. Big players, such as Clear Channel from the US and JC Decaux from France, account for more than 30 per cent of the world’s outdoor advertising business. Sullivan said that with the consolidation of the OOH business, the quality of creatives and display types has become consistent throughout the world. The same quality of creative can be produced and put up in any part of the world today.

Partho Dasgupta of Future Media highlighted the factors that made the OOH business relevant in the Indian context. He compared present scenarios in the lifestyles of people to what it used to be 15 years ago. Today, the joint family system has been replaced by nuclear families, crowded melas (fairs) have taken the form of organised retail, mobile phones have replaced land lines, and credit cards are used as a payment mode instead of cash. People are spending more of their income on shopping than they did five years ago. The saving rate in the country has fallen from 30 per cent to 18 per cent in this period.

In terms of spending, small towns and cities are keeping pace with the bigger metros. For instance, the Future Group’s retail store, Big Bazaar, has an average value of Rs 542 per bill across India.

All this combined is fuelling the OOH revolution in India and helping the OOH industry to grow at a faster rate than the overall advertising industry. The retail boom in the country will only further maximise this growth in coming times.

David Dorfman of Lehman Brothers spoke about the digital medium and its advantages for the OOH medium. He said digitisation of OOH has enabled the medium to reach places and target consumers with more accuracy and consistency. With digitisation, OOH media is able to address consumers in transit at kiosks, airports, malls, cinema halls and many other places. It has helped advertisers get better return on investment (ROI) and to track consumers with better timing.

Dorfman cited the example of a Lion King audiovisual (AV) that was played after the launch of the movie inside Wal-mart stores; it doubled sales of the movie DVDs. He said that the AV was consciously played in start and stop intervals for a certain number of days in the store. On the days when the AV was played, the store saw a rise in the number of DVDs purchased as compared to the days when the AV was off.

Digitisation of the OOH medium will also facilitate one to one communication with consumers through modern technologies such as Bluetooth and infrared. Bluetooth and infrared enabled outdoor hoardings hold the potential to communicate directly and personally to each passerby. Digitisation also allows advertisers and media planners to choose their location and time to target consumers. This will lead to measurability of the medium, thus further fuelling growth in this sector.