Even as digital OOH is becoming the veritable growth engine of OOH business worldwide, the big question is, how viable it is for OOH media firms operating in the Asian markets to invest in data and technologies that are central to dynamic and evidence-driven media. In conversation with allaboutoutdoor.com, Srikanth Ramachandran, Group CEO, Moving Walls, share his thoughts about future of digital OOH in India, challenges ahead and company's growth plans...
You work in different OOH markets i.e. India and International. How is the outdoor scenario different at all such places?
India has a rich legacy in traditional OOH and this is getting further consolidated with incremental ad spends shifting to smaller cities, towns and rural areas. However, the pandemic has brought DOOH to the forefront given the presence of digital screens in close proximity to the point of purchase and thereby having the ability to influence the consumer.
Globally, although outdoor has been affected by the lockdown, essential travel has been permitted. No outdoor media has reached a point where they reached no one at any given day. As the lockdown slowly uplifts, it is important to remember that brands don't pay for location and traffic, they pay advertising to drive results. The audience-based planning, backed up by actionable audience insights will be the key factor for OOH to step into the right direction post-Covid.
Could you share the difference between India and other international markets when it comes to adaption and experimentation, since Indian OOH industry doesn't prefer experimentation?
Post our acquisition of Ahoy, we have integrated the location-based mobile advertising platform with our SSP and DSP. Media owners such as Selvel One and Vyoma have been quick to embrace the need to diversify their OOH portfolio with location-based hyperlocal targeting to amplify the impact and recall of their OOH campaigns.
On the other hand, Moving Walls' recent tie-up with Quadrant, a global mobile location data player allows Moving Walls to tap into Quadrant's globally compliant location data across several markets, and enriches our current multisensory patented approach. The partnership helps us understand audiences at a location level, especially as we enter a new paradigm of consumer behaviour - while having the benefit that Quadrant's Consent Management System (QCMS) will allow for tracking and mapping of user permissions to address increasing privacy requirements.
You have recently received a US patent for viewership management. Please explain about this service?
The patent is a measurement system which we have developed for Out of Home, which collects data from passers-by using signals such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in order to map how many individuals may have seen a campaign. This patent has been awarded by the US Patent and Trade Office as "a system and method for viewership measurement of a particular location for digital out-of-home media networks".
The patent is a huge validation of our efforts in making OOH a metric based and outcome led medium. In India, we are actively engaging with the advertiser associations and the outdoor association in India who have been very supportive and given us constructive inputs.
How are you planning to approach non-metro cities? If you have approached, then what challenges have you faced?
We are working with digital media owners with screens in railway stations, ATMs and last-mile connectivity Kiosks across the country. This inventory is integrated into our unified DSP platform.
On the demand side, our focus is to get into and nurture partnerships with agencies for the unified platform and provide holistic solutions in OOH and the mobile space.
What differentiates Moving Walls from competition?
Ours has been a holistic industry-led approach with the technology as an enabler. Our solutions are customisable and cater to both traditional and DOOH media owners. Others have taken a more niche approach with a focus on programmatic DOOH which is nascent and a subset of DOOH. We were the first to adopt dynamic device movement data to derive location data metrics (such as. reach and retail attribution) and insights (such as brand affinity and audience personas).
Why do you think digital will play a vital role in times to come and how it will be different from conventional formats?
Digital provides flexibility, saves on operational costs, can be sold programmatically and can play dynamic and real-time content. Also, it is easier to sell digital inventory in the form of a network. Hence it also addresses the issue of multi-locations / city campaign breaking in at the same time which is difficult with static options. Due to programmatic capabilities and efficiency, brands can buy a set of the audience rather than the whole universe and thus save on the costs.
How do you think DOOH will emerge in a post COVID environment?
Roadside will see immediate traction alongside workplace media followed by ambient space and transit hubs. However, as brands will look for better efficiencies and cost savings, programmatic DOOH supported by mobile deliveries will gain traction faster.
What is the biggest challenge you face right now?
Challenges are in the form of fragmentation of the market at various levels and assuming that Moving Walls can take over the clients/market whereas we at Moving Walls are here to bring efficiency and measurement which not only will increase advertiser's confidence but will also bring accountability at all levels thus adding more budgets to OOH / DOOH campaigns.
Interview by: Aarti Pahwa
Pravendra Kumar Verma
Senior Marketing Manager
Chief Marketing Officer
Kotak Mahindra Group
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The SociaL Street
GM- Marketing & Strategy