Digital OOH has been eagerly awaited by the Indian OOH industry from the past half a decade. This advanced format of outdoor, which is taking small steps, is pegged to be the growth driver of the industry for 2016. However the question arises that with such less existence and various legal, executional and managing fiascos, how can the industry derive the big moolah from DOOH? To discuss more such queries, All About Outdoor caught up with Sanket Rambhia, Director, Xtreme Media. Read his edited excerpts on Digital OOH.
1. Merely 10% of Indian OOH is digital. How do you see the Indian Digital OOH Industry shaping up in the coming years?
The current state of the Indian out-of-home industry could be a turning point. 10% of OOH inventory is digital that means 90% of OOH industry has the scope to turn into DOOH. Currently various sectors are embracing digital out of home slowly & steadily. Since the policies are changing, a big shift from static OOH to Digital OOH is expected. According to 6w research, the digital signage market itself expects to grow at 25% CAGR till 2019. India is one of the markets where the spending capacity of brands is huge as compared to other the matured markets, hence we expect that Digital Outdoor will take the Indian OOH industry by storm.
2. The recent 'Pitch Madison Report' stated that in 2016 Digital OOH & technology is going to be the growth driver for OOH industry. Do you see this happening?
Yes, we agree with it. Technology is driving factor for any change in business. OOH is no exception. If you look at the advertising medium as a whole each has been impacted in certain ways by digital content. Due to certain reasons, we couldn't see the bigger impact in OOH. It's time for the change and the Indian marketers are realising the need for it since we have seen some most impactful & innovative digital OOH campaign in the international space.
3. Indoor Digital LED screens are well established in India but it is yet to come to outdoors. What are the reasons behind this? How can we see more of Digital in outdoor in India?
One of the biggest reasons is the absence of concrete policies and regulations. There were some stringent regulations over digital in the outdoor industry and moreover, there were multiple government bodies involved in the process of granting permissions. We can see some positive changes happening in the coming years over the policies which will ultimately kick the growth of digital in outdoor.
4. As per the industry, the reasons behind digital's slow growth on outdoors are incompatible with weather conditions, huge investment and security. So are you working on any solutions?
Xtreme Media provides outdoor LED displays that are both sides IP 66 which are completely weather & waterproof. There is absolutely no problem in terms of harsh weather conditions; the LED displays we designed are strong enough to survive the Indian climate. If you look at the investment part, it's more about one-time investment with minimum recurring costs against the static OOH. Printing & Distribution incur the biggest chunk of the cost in digital. For e.g. if an XYZ brand decides to roll out a pan India campaign at 50 locations, since it's under one umbrella, the quality, look and feel of prints can't differ and all have to go live at the same time; which involves high printing and distribution cost.
On the other side, LED display has back-end digital signage software which can help in digitizing the content and deducts the printing & distributing cost with just a single click. So for LED displays, in a very short duration any digital display media owner can recover the investment and can also expect the hiked ROI. Security has never been a matter of concern; we have carried out some of the most prestigious installation but never faced security issue.
5. What efforts are you investing in when it comes to educating Indian media vendors and government authorities since they lack the understanding of Digital OOH?
We get involved with lots of industry discussions and knowledge sessions where we can increase the awareness of Digital OOH. Many times, we realise the majority of marketers are not very well versed with LED displays or the options available. We have been associated with FICCI through Infocomm 2015 where we spoke regarding the innovations LED displays can bring in real estate & architecture. Here we brought LED Media façade in focus which was very well received by the industry people. We are also planning to establish an organisation consisting key players in the industry. Any change can't be brought over by a single organisation; it requires efforts from everyone to uplift the particular industry. We don't have any organised body which can actually push the necessary changes such as pitching government bodies for positive changes in policies.
6. A big reason behind digital OOH failure is the lack of content knowledge? Are you providing any content support to your clients?
The back-end software that powers Xtreme Media LED displays is our in-house developed digital signage software, which is very easy to understand and design. We also provide dedicated content support to clients. Since its in-house developed software, the customizations can be made as per the requirements. We provide full content support with our display systems.
7. In India, only airports have high-class LEDs and Digital displays. What other avenues do you think can be used for Digital OOH in India?
There are a lot of other venues that are not explored, however slowly and gradually accepting digital OOH. One of the biggest areas where we see the growth for digital OOH is smart cities and metro stations because incorporating new ideas into new projects is relatively easier. Many real estate companies & builders are using LED displays, along with that other locations which are located on high height such as malls or corporate centres also presents great scope for digital OOH.
8. How much investment a media owner requires to make to have a good quality digital media network in India?
If any OOH asset of 20/10 display size has to be converted into digital then the marketer or that media company can take 5-year term loan and on EMI of 35000 per month to convert this asset. One of the biggest advantages that digital OOH presents to any media owner is the display cycle time of any campaign since DOOH provides better space selling and can be sold to the multiple advertisers at different rates depending on time-band. In this case anything over 35000 will be his profit, which he is most likely to achieve, and in 5-year period, a media owner can recover the cost and LED display is his own asset. By doing this, a media owner can create a brand since he is the innovator in this space.
9. How can we come at par with Digital OOH industry that exists internationally?
First & foremost change is required in the existing policies. One of the biggest reasons why many media owners have not moved towards digital media is due to lack of clarity regarding policies. The second issue is that the numbers of digital OOH sites are very less. Last but not the least, media planners need to set the budget aside for digital OOH. Once we work on all these points then we can expect another Times Square in India.
10. How has Xtreme-media contributed in the overall Digital OOH Industry in the country?
Xtreme Media provides technological solutions and we establish ourselves as a trusted brand through our projects. Xtreme Media has carried out many innovative projects in India such as Curved LED displays in the duty free area of T2 at Mumbai International Airport and Cylindrical LED display in the lobby of NSE, Mumbai. We have provided integrated LED scoreboard solution for Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Cricket Stadium in Guwahati.
Xtreme Media has successfully created a one stop brand which provides design expertise in LED displays, a customizable back end software & content solution along with complete support & maintenance service. There was a plethora of service providers who just imported LED displays and sold with some spare LED modules, in these cases when LED display failure happens and new module replaces old one the difference is identifiable. This is why any brand needs a reliable solution provider who has designing & repairing capabilities to make the large scale projects successful.
Interview by: Bhawana Anand