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OOH industry needs to break out of its traditional mould: Industry heads
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network2media Bureau   
Monday, 28 February 2011 09:00 (IST)
NEW DELHI: The first exchange4media & network2media OOH conference and Awards For Outdoor Advertising & Digital Signage 2011, held in New Delhi on February 25, was a true celebration of the outstanding achievements of the industry, coupled with focused discussions involving eminent international and national OOH industry heads on the way forward for the different constituents of the industry.

Stage set for the big event The event, the first of its kind in the country, brought to the fore the knowledge dimension of the industry with ample focus on new technologies relevant to the industry, global best practices, regulatory norms, blue sky thinking and people development.

Steve Ridley speaks on ‘Global Outlook’ following initial remarks by Sunder HemrajaniThe conference opened with a session on ‘Global Oulook’ addressed by Steve Ridley, global CEO, Kinetic Worldwide, and chaired by Sunder Hemrajani, MD, Times OOH. Ridley categorically said that OOH is not just a medium but an eco-system that needs to be nourished with innovative thinking, buttressed with robust technologies and scientific processes. He took the example of the space missions to underline the assertion that the OOH industry should break out of its traditional mould and attain the escape velocity to touch new heights of growth and development.

Ridley laid particular emphasis on the need for robust audience measurement metrics in the absence of which the industry will be hard put to convince more advertising brands to board the OOH plank. Gut feeling alone is not a bankable value proposition, he said.

Looking ahead, he said the Indian OOH industry, much like their counterparts in other markets, should take cognizance of the limitless potential of mobile in furthering brand communications and establish a deeper connect with the retail sector.

The first panel discussion underway The panel discussion on the ‘Challenges of Planning & Buying Outdoor Media in India’, chaired by Sunandan B Chaudhury, managing partner, Right Talent Consultants, and addressed by Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison World, Nabendu Bhattacharyya, MD, Milestone Brandcom, Hemanth Shah, president, Lintas Media Group (LMG), Out-of-Home Initiatives and director, Aaren Initiative, Pawan Bansal, CEO, Jagran Engage, and Haresh Nayak, MD, Posterscope India, threw light on the need for robust audience measurement metrics in the outdoor and a greater appreciation of context advertising in the OOH domain.

A power-packed audience While it was said that there is a business case for hybrid outdoor planners, the other view that emerged was that the OOH planners should work in concert with the brand strategy team. This would also entail the skills upgradation of the OOH media planners as well.

The panel also addressed the issue of good governance in the industry and broadly agreed that a code of governance, signed by all stakeholders, would help the industry in raising its share of advertising spend. The panel also expressed hope that the second round of Indian Outdoor Survey (IOS) will make good progress and that a greater number of outdoor firms will support the endeavour.

Ishan Raina making opening remarks as Tom Greene looks on The session on ‘Making Digital Signage Work For Your Brand’ addressed by Tom Greene, president, Life Pattern Digital, and chaired by Ishan Raina, MD, OOH Media, turned the spotlight on digital OOH and new technologies associated with the medium. It was cited that the global DOOH business grew at 16.3 percent in year 2010 and is estimated to grow at 16.9 percent in the current year, which is indicative of this segment’s critical role in catalysing the overall OOH growth and development.

DOOH brings with its certain distinct advantages, such as, proximity to the point of decision, low clutter, high share of voice, venue domination and creative flexibility. With the convergence of communication technologies, this medium is expected to grow at a quicker pace. What’s more, it also facilitates easier audience measurement and consumer preferences.

The second panel discussion in progress The session on ‘Innovation & Technology: The Future of OOH’, chaired by Ashish Bhasin, chairman, India & CEO – South East Asia, Aegis Media, and addressed by Amit Tiwari, country head media, Philips India, Indrajit Sen, CEO, Laqshya Media, Madhuri Sapru, woman-in-charge, Encyclomedia, Rajan Mehta, CEO, LiveMedia, Pramod Bhandula, MD, JCDecaux India, and Suresh Narsimha, CEO, TeLiBrahma as panelists, focused attention on the innovation imperative, much beyond the standard ‘cutouts’ that the industry is accustomed to seeing.

Another view of the gathering With changing lifestyles and more people spending more time out of home, new tech-based platforms will facilitate keener consume connect, provided the approach is outcome-based, the panel said.

Technology adoption will also pave the way for better monitoring of the outdoor advertising. Initiatives like RFID tagging of outdoor media units will usher in an improved regulatory environment.

On a broader plane, the panel also observed that the outdoor norms need to change with the times. Today, innovations in the outdoor are circumscribed by myriad regulatory permissions and clearances which act as major disincentives.

The conference closed on a high note with the delegates and participants expressing their deep appreciation of the new beginning that the first joint effort of exchange4media and network2media has achieved. The day concluded with the glittering e4m & n2m Awards For Outdoor Advertising & Digital Signage 2011 ceremony.

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