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PMMAO 2012: Outdoor Outlook: Some hope

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The year 2012 is expected to be more of a year of recovery for the Outdoor medium. As per Pitch Madison Media Advertising Outlook 2012, Outdoor is expected to grow by five per cent to Rs 1,362 crore in 2012. The share of the medium in the total ad-pie is expected to fall to 4.9 per cent than the 2011 level of 5.1 per cent.

Noomi Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, Selvel One Group; & Chairman, In-dian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA), puts it, “The year 2012 will be a year of recovery. In many ways, we are the bellwether for the Indian economy. We are the first to be affected and the first to recover.”

Some feel that 2012 will either be too good or too bad. One worrisome factor is the likely regulation by external authorities. “The industry has to be careful and safeguard its interest. Self-regulation by the industry body and also representing itself strongly to the government authorities has to be done. It should not be the other way round,” says Abhijit Sengupta, CEO, Outdoor Advertising Professionals  (OAP).

While urban markets will still lead spends, Tier II & III markets will also drive higher revenues commensurate with consumption. Going forward, the biggest challenge for the Outdoor industry will be twofold: to increase the spending from the existing categories and to bring new categories on board. FMCG, Retail, Media and BFSI are expected to increase their spends in 2012.

Ishan Raina, CEO & MD, OOH Media,  says, “The industry is still budding and there is immense scope for new clients, categories and growth. Every category can get its share of audience it is looking for.”  Raina also feels that the biggest challenge will be in growing the clients’ categories like the IPO category, and healthcare.

Experts are of the view that one thing that can make a big change in the industry and help brands trust Outdoor more, is a strong measurement matrix. There is a firm trend amongst large spenders to seek quantifiable justification for ad spends – and spends in OOH are increasingly on the radar. The IOAA is also engaging with clients to understand their expectations and look at bridging the gap. There is also the issue of benchmarking costs for sites within a cluster – currently there is no logic and clients find it difficult to accept huge variations in cost.

Rural OOH can bring some good news too. Sunder Hemrajani, MD, Times OOH, says, “It is expected that there will be increased share of OOH in rural advertising on the back of integrated advertising cum activation by key categories like FMCG and telecom, and rapid consumption shifts from the top six metros to other Tier II & III cities.”

Another challenge for OOH players will be on adopting technology-led innovations and execution on a larger scale than one or two isolated executions, which has largely been the case till now. Younger audiences and easily affordable smart gadgets are changing expectations and perceptions rapidly. If OOH has to engage, rather than be only seen, then there is no option but to adopt of technology.

If the industry is able to harness the key growth drivers and formalise self regulation / Standard Operating Procedures for itself, there is no doubt that it can increase its share in the ad pie. The larger share of the pie would come from both – an increase in the overall media capitalisation, as well as marginal shift from ATL media. Understanding the potential of new technology and using it correctly will also spur advertisers to invest more in OOH.

Also, the performance of the medium will depend a lot on how quickly and effectively IOAA is able to implement its plans.

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