Benita Chacko & Pooja Yadav

DOOH set to drive outdoor advertising growth this year

GroupM's 'This Year Next Year 2023' report projects a 31% growth in ad spends for OOH.

Out of home (OOH) is expected to register a 31% growth this year and is projected to touch Rs 3,400 crore, in terms of ad spends, reveals GroupM’s ‘This Year Next Year 2023’ report. The growth is expected to be driven by digital OOH (DOOH) and programmatic digital OOH (pDOOH).

Ramsai Panchapakesan
Ramsai Panchapakesan

Ramsai Panchapakesan, senior vice president and national head, integrated media buying, Zenith, says that people, who've resumed their normal lives post-COVID, are on the move and original digital content supply has increased.

"Content is available at a nominal cost. The Indian content consumption pattern is moving towards linear as well as digital base. There isn't much cannibalisation. The space is also growing because of tech advancements, and Generation Alpha is more tuned in towards digitisation."

Gautam Bhirani
Gautam Bhirani

Gautam Bhirani, managing director, Eyetalk Media Ventures, mentions that ad spends have gone back to traditional channels, especially OOH.

"In the overall marketing mix, OOH advertising, on an average, accounts for 5-6% share. However, post-pandemic, things have been good for the OOH industry, due to the change in consumer behaviour and decline in online ad market, which is driving the shift and bringing investments back to traditional advertising channels."

Pramod Bhandula
Pramod Bhandula

Pramod Bhandula, managing director, JCDecaux, shares that the efforts of the Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) for audience measurement tools, are contributing to the sector's growth.

"Luxury brands are also getting lured towards OOH, especially DOOH. This category was a miss, until now. Brands have started recognising it as 'prime media'. It's no longer 'reminder media'."

Aman Nanda
Aman Nanda

Aman Nanda, chief strategy officer, Times Innovative Media, says the biggest growth driving factor is that people are now going out.

"Next is the expansion of the digital OOH across different properties such as the airport, and metro, and now even the city media outdoor advertising has become more flexible and accessible. Brands can now take their desired slots according to the right time and right place along with the freedom to play different creatives," he says.

Bhandula believes that the industry will return to pre-pandemic numbers by October. "Going ahead, digital assets will attract 25-30% more revenue, than conventional media."

DOOH has received a massive boost, in terms of ad spends. Bhirani of Eyetalk Media Ventures says that with tech advancements and increase in connected display networks over the last 12-18 months, DOOH revenue has increased - from Rs 150 crore to Rs 400 crore. The number of digital outdoor screens in India, has also increased from 5,000-8,000 (pre-pandemic) to 50,000 now.

"The share of OOH advertising ecosystem will increase considerably, because of DOOH. From large format digital billboards now seen in metros, to thousands of new screens in corporate hubs, residential areas, restaurants, gyms and malls, DOOH is OOH industry's key growth driver."

pDOOH allows multiple messaging through a single source. The message can be controlled from a central resource. It's compact and stays alive during day as well as night.

Zenith's Panchapakesan says that pDOOH is the future of OOH advertising. People have started exploring it, but there's limited availability and, hence, the volume is still less.

"Currently, pDOOH isn't going to add significant volume, in terms of numbers. It will be quite minuscule, maybe less than 5%. But it's gearing up."

Bhandula of JCDecaux also has a similar view, adding that we're far from programmatic. "It's the future, but it may take some time, as India isn't as mature as other countries, when it comes to OOH industry. We're lagging in digitisation of assets. If India's 5-6% assets are digitised, then the rest of the world stands at more than 30%."

Expressing optimism, Bhirani shares that pDOOH is bringing new revenue into the outdoor ecosystem from digital channels. It's opening opportunities for media owners. It's getting new advertisers, which it never worked with earlier, and also receiving global campaigns from Singapore, Malaysia, the UK and UAE.

"With tech giants like Google and Yahoo! taking the big leap, it's bringing DOOH to the digital advertising ecosystem and making it a part of a larger omnichannel mix. This development is boosting our revenue and giving us an opportunity to activate international campaigns in India programmatically."

Other OOH formats like billboards, airports, metros, etc., aren't expected to bring in as much growth.

"The availability of inventory in these formats, is finite. It has a limited scope for expansion. It will continue to have a level of optimisation, similar to previous years."

Panchapakesan says that categories like auto, and cluttered ones like FMCG, oral hygiene and even cosmetics will be spending big on OOH. He expects the government and political parties to increase spending towards the end of the year, as the general elections are scheduled for next year.

"OOH instantly influences people's purchase decisions. With OOH, brand building as well as communication comes together."

Bhirani says that OTT has been the highest spender on DOOH, followed by smartphones and then lifestyle brands.

Bhandula mentions that the real estate category has started making a comeback now. Apart from FMCG, automobiles, financial services and entertainment, the government is also contributing a lot for the growth of this category.

Nanda points out that there are new subcategories that are coming under leading categories which have a great potential to spend huge budgets on the OOH medium.

"For instance, electronic vehicles are the new subcategory under automobile that is churning out in a big way, as fintech, gaming, and e-healthcare under E-commerce and others that we consider quite promising spenders in the upcoming year," he says.

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