Ad Outlook 2009 Mid-Term Review Outdoor : Almost Blacked out

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Outdoor has been a key tool for many mass marketers in the past but it no longer seems so. The various outdoor formats like traditional OOH, digital/ retail media and airports/metro advertising are highly dependent on the performance of key advertisers like retailers, real estate developers, airlines,  and also FIIs, which constitute a considerable amount of advertising revenues for major players like Times OOH, OOH Media, Future Media, Ogilvy

Action et al. And no wonder none of them are in shape today, thanks to the beating they had to take on their revenues following the slowdown. No wonder the third largest medium is the one that bore the major brunt.

Our mid-term Survey shows that the spend on outdoor s likely to be Rs 1,135 crore in 2009 which is lower than Rs 1,419 crore it took home in 2008—a 20 percent dip—which meets our January as well as revised projections. But in H1, the industry fared much worse with 30 percent decline at Rs 477 crore, and is expected to fare a tad better with only 11 percent decline in H2 at Rs 658 crore. Overall OOH will decline by 20 percent.

The Mid-term Review attributes this massive drop to the “cost correction which saw a 20 to 25 percent decline in the advertising rates of OOH companies. Also, there has been a decline in the occupancy rates ranging from 12-25 percent in the first half.”

With the green signals being seen at the end of the recessionary tunnel and the oncoming festive season, may seem to attract more brands to outdoor. Like other media formats, outdoor too is looking forward to make the best out of it. Though the revised Survey shows a flat trend in the growth index of outdoor media, it also suggests that there is a likely decline in its contribution in percentage terms in the advertising pie of Rs 19,777 crore, as per the revised Survey, to 5.7 from 6.4 it had cornered in the past year.

Another silver lining is the Common- wealth Games next year, for which the Capital is all set for. Also, with increasing emphasis on infrastructure, especially the Delhi Metro and privatised airports, the outdoor seems to increase its share in the near future. Outdoor has been affected by the slowdown in the retail, real estate and education sectors which didn’t do as well as they were expected to. According to Balsara, “banking and financial institutions and corporate advertising are eyeing the outdoor media again,” which is indeed a pivotal sign for the outdoor industry.

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Neeta Nair

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