MUMBAI: For long the OOH industry has been largely ignored by mainline media planners. Quite fittingly, on Day 1 of the Outdoor Advertising Convention (OAC) 2009, Mallikarjuna Das, COO, Madison Media Infinity, brought out some interesting facets of measurement systems.
Speaking on ‘Investments in research and the expected payoffs - A media buyer’s perspective’, Das pointed out that there were two broad perspectives in media research, one that is currency driven and the other, efficacy focused.
Elaborating on the essence of audience measurement systems, Das said, “The concept of measurement is a relative one -- an absolute measurement by itself is meaningless without a reference frame. Just measuring the exposure levels of outdoor is not enough; this needs to be relative to something, but the question is relative to what? The measurement has to relative to the quantum of advertising -- a measurement system needs to capture not just audience consumption but also advertiser consumption.”
Das also emphasized the need for a common currency of measurement for the OOH industry. He said, “Not all measurement yardsticks are created equal. But any industry needs to strongly back or support a unified currency. Only when a measurement yardstick is validated by the entire industry will it become a standard currency and get the due consideration from media planners.”
The need for a dynamic angle for a measurement system was also highlighted by Das. He explained that television had an obvious advantage (both advertiser and audience consumption are dynamic and the two information sets are integrated seamlessly in one interface). Similarly, print is also dynamic from an advertiser’s consumption perspective (audience measurement is relatively static and information on the two information sets are not integrated). But most other measurement systems lagged behind, he said.
Das emphasized the outdoor industry needed to chalk out an expansion road map and thereafter stick to it. “One needs to look at other markets which are not TV-isolated, for instance, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. TV advertisers often resign themselves to wastage – the opportunity might hence be outside Mumbai,” he observed.
Das made some interesting observations on measurement systems, saying that “all measurements are wrong and some are useful”. He elaborated, “All measurements use approximations and have errors. Approach them maturely, scientifically assess the trade-offs between cost of information and value, and avoid squabbles on data fidelity. All measurement systems have errors but as long as we can keep the errors within tolerable limits, it’s all right.”
Speaking from an efficacy perspective, Das said, “One needs to look at building the knowledge base. TV and print have a vast knowledge base built over years of measurement. One needs to incentivise the advertiser and media planner community and then create a journal.”