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PMMAO 2011 OUTDOOR OUTLOOK : Standing tall

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Hoardings will stay firm,” is how Noomi Mehta, CMD, Selvel Vantage Group & Chairman, Indian Outdoor Advertising Association, looks at OOH medium in the year 2011. After a good year when the outdoor medium grew by 27 per cent, industry players hope to capitalise on marketers’ positive response.

Though the medium is unlikely to hold on the momentum gained during last year, it will match the overall average growth of media in 2011. According to the Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2011, outdoor media will grow by 15 per cent this year. The medium is expected to corner Rs 1,658 crore of total projected ad-revenue of Rs 27,650 crore.

Noomi Mehta’s growth estimates for 2011 match with the Pitch Madison Report’s estimates for the year 2011, as he expects the OOH medium to grow by 12-15 per cent this year.

Rajan Mehta, Founder and CEO, LiveMedia, too is quite optimistic on the growth of OOH, particularly digital OOH. “We anticipate similar (as in 2010) or better growth for the OOH industry in 2011.” He feels that advertisers who previously have stayed away from this format are likely to embrace it as the network expands and brings in more innovation.

 

Upcountry move

Expecting  “a shift in clients’ market preferences to upcountry”, Indrajit Sen, CEO, Laqshya Media, feels that spends in traditional markets will continue to form and drive the overall revenues, business interest and expenses will be high on gaining capabilities and delivery efficiencies in upcountry and rural markets.”

“This is significant because media cost in upcountry markets are much lower than in urban India,” he adds.

Industry experts suggest that that the key growth factor would be to engage with marketers on long-term deals and get them value for their money so that they can stick with the medium. “A significant trend is that current advertisers are spending more and doing longer term deals – we hope to grow this trend, based on the positive feedback from current clients and excellent research results on our medium,” says Ishan Raina, Founder and CEO, OOH Media.

Industry players are also looking forward to take some of the under-explored OOH formats more seriously, as Mandeep Malhotra, President, Mudra MAX – OOH feels that street furniture and transit will grow substantially “Robust growth in ambient and digital media will expand the umbrella for OOH,” he says.

 

Walking the tightrope

Though industry players are quite optimistic on the growth prospects of the medium, they feel that lack of regulations and strict implementations are the challenges before the medium.

“There have to be clear guidelines to remove the visual clutter. Also there should be long term contracts as it gives players to conceptualise, plan, and execute in a better way,” says Noomi Mehta.

Meanwhile, Rajan Mehta feels that bringing a better ROI to the advertisers would be one of the major challenges this year. “The industry needs to provide real value to the advertisers and this comes through a combination of factors like selecting the right locations, running engaging content and right pricing for the media. Coupled with this is the need to measure the effectiveness of the media, which most of the players are doing now through companies like IMRB and others,” he says.

The other challenge that industry players want to address is the lack of a measurement metrics to calculate OOH delivery. “Even though the first attempt at creating the metrics through the ‘Indian Outdoor Survey’ covering Mumbai and Pune – has been published, the process yet needs to mature,” says Sen.

 

Potential Categories: More friends

Dominant spender categories on outdoor will continue with their ad-budget on the medium. Telecom, fuelled by 3G and Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is expected to dominate the industry. Meanwhile, FMCG too is expected to romance with the medium. “Industry reports show that FMCG has woken to OOH and has witnessed advertisers like P&G, HUL and Loreal,” says Malhotra.

Raina adds healthcare and pharma and IPOs to the growth-enabler list.  Travel, home decor and hospitality, too will chip in.

With the medium adding new formats and platforms to its fold, industry players are very optimistic on the future opportunities. “As airports and Metros trians become new hot destinations for OOH, the medium is set to gain. Probably it can pull some ad share from the print,” says Noomi Mehta.

 

Digital: A long way

Though the presence of digital format in the medium excited advertisers and eyeballs equally, media owners find the format too small to add much to the growth.

Mandeep Malhotra of Mudra MAX – OOH also feels that the format has a long way to go. “Digital in 2011 will try to merge its existence with OOH, but I don’t think it will be able to create a lot of ripples,” he says.

Rajan Mehta of LiveMedia, however, refuses to buy the idea, as he says that the format will drive on the greater impact and better visibility. “Considering the shift in lifestyle wherein people are spending less time at home and more outside, especially in places where digital screens are present, I think relevance of digital OOH will keep increasing,” he says, adding, “There is a slow but sure shift from the ‘conventional’ to the ‘emerging’ media and therefore the share of OOH (Destination Media) will certainly increase,” he says.

According to industry players, cost viability is a big factor in expanding the digital format.

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Anuj Jain

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