‘In a changing market you can’t ignore digital solutions for too long’
By Amaan Kazmi - November 23, 2017
EmagenTV is a cloud-based digital signage service and solutions company headquartered in Delhi NCR. Chetan Mehan, Founder, EmagenTV talks about the company’s outlook on the Indian digital signage and DOOH market
Please tell us what makes EmagenTV distinctly different in the Indian media market.
Being a digital broadcast service, EmagenTV was conceptualised with the objective of making our broadcast solution affordable, flexible and secure. EmagenTV allows its users to create, distribute, schedule and source content from a single cloud dashboard. This solution gives brands and digital asset media owners the freedom to effectively manage content on digital displays such as TV screens, tablets and large format LED billboards at a click of a button. Apart from content management, EmagenTV offers a range of content services that enable the users to engage their audience with relevant, eye-catching information to ensure that the display is always interesting to the audience.
EmagenTV cloud solution offers an affordable entry into the world of digital content broadcasting when compared to server-based solutions as we instill in our customers the confidence of scaling from 1 display location to 1,000s in a matter of minutes without the need of having any infrastructural changes to the ecosystem. The solution offers our customers the freedom and flexibility of choice when it comes to the hardware they wish to use to showcase their content. From consumer grade displays to professional displays with SOC (system on chip / embedded CPU with an operating system), EmagenTV offers the largest choice of operating systems to work on along with the product integration with leading professional display manufacturers. EmagenTV can run on Android, Windows, IOS, Philips Display, Samsung Smart Signage, LG WebOS, and others.
What is your reading of the digital signage market in India?
In the developed markets, digital signage is a technology that is incorporated within any point of sale or shopping environment as a standard but the Indian market still sees the technology as an item of luxury and not a necessity. A reason for this can be attributed to the general understanding of the digital signage and its advantages when it comes to customer engagement.
Digital signage in the Indian market is at a nascent stage, but we are seeing consistent growth in the demand for the technology. The reason for this is an increase in the employment of large formats in the retail sector and the rise of smart city initiatives in India which are the contributing factors to the growth of the industry.
Give us a gist of the activities carried out by EmagenTV along with the products offered.
EmagenTV prides itself in being a digital signage solutions provider offering turnkey services for all types of digital experiences which includes broadcasting technology (cloud and server-based solutions) with total network implementation and management, enriching touchscreen experiences with the supply of professional displays and video walls. Other activities like installation of digital POS through RFID, NFC, beacons and audience analytics aid in custom solutions development with third party data source integration.
What kind of content services do you provide?
Whether it is being used for brand promotion or by media owners on their digital assets, relevant and engaging content is the key to the success of any digital signage execution. EmagenTV believes that it is the content that makes the digital screen engaging and not the promotional information. Hence, EmagenTV provides licensed content within its cloud screen management dashboard. EmagenTV bridges the gap between the online and offline world by offering services to capture online content and showcasing them within the offline space. EmagenTV lets you integrate content from social media feed, RSS and Media RSS feed and choose from our quiz, trivia and famous quotes section updated every fortnight. Other information such as upcoming and now showing movies, flight schedules and time to destination provided by Google Maps can also be shared through EmagenTV.
As a solutions provider, what impediments do you see in the transition from static billboards to digital signage?
In my opinion, the outdoor advertising policies laid down by various governing bodies are a roadblock to the transition from static billboards to digital billboards. Digital billboards make sense as they thrive in clutter-free zones where the demand for media space is higher than the supply. However, in most parts of India the situation is the other way around; our supply of media is higher than the demand and the reason for this is the clutter and excess of billboards that we see all around us.
From the media owners point of view, their confidence in investing in a digital billboard will be very low as there is constant fear of losing the client to a cheaper static site against a digital site. It is only when we organise and sanitise the billboard policies in our country -- limiting the number of sites available – there will be an increase in technology-based formats such as LED screens. In a clutter-free outdoor advertising environment, the advertiser will also get a better return on investment as his content will be exclusively displayed in an environment that is not being clouded by multiple billboards and posters.
EmagenTV also operates in Nigeria. How would you compare your experience there with India in terms of manpower, technologies and advertising avenues?
Nigeria is a very interesting market. General rules of business or marketing do not apply there as the country comprises of the have’s and the have-nots. That translates to a non-existent middle class which can make communication very challenging. In some ways, we have noted Nigeria is far ahead of India, especially in terms of new technology adoption.
The OOH industry in Nigeria underwent a complete overhaul in 2008 when the government decided to sanitise and reorganise the OOH sector. The objective was to beautify the cities through eradication of clutter in the OOH sector, generate more revenue for the states and create an organised plan for the implementation of OOH. The government cracked down on the OOH sector which also included shops’ and buildings; signages because they were viewed as OOH installations. In order to give relevance to the OOH sites, laws and policies were framed according to the demographics of the city for the type, size, tax rates, number of signages and place of business.
That caused a decline in the OOH sites by 80%, leaving only the strong players in the business or the consolidation of smaller players into working together. A dip in the number of the OOH sites led to a limited supply of inventory forcing the operators to embrace digitisation within their sites in order to increase the media inventory.
Nigeria as a country has seen a high number of large format LED billboards being set up. In fact, almost all sites within the metro cities are now converted to digital LED billboards. As we can note from the narration, that Nigeria was not ready for DOOH however the government policies bound the operators to adopt digital ways in order to survive. This I believe is something India can learn from Nigeria.
Consumers connect better with brands through DOOH and interactive signages. Please substantiate your answers with figures.
DOOH empowers the media owner to engage with the viewer in a dynamic manner thus leaving an imprint on the minds of consumers leading to a better recall of the message; 70% of the people who see digital billboards remember them. Out of the 70%, 47% of the people remember seeing a specific ad while 55% of all DOOH viewers remember the exact ad that they saw.
Apart from being eco-friendly, DOOH offers clarity of messaging and does not becomes monotonous with each passing day which is the case with the static OOH sites. DOOH changes periodically keeping the audience on their toes to watch for brands coming up with innovative campaigns every day, making it a dynamic, flexible, measurable and cost-effective medium having longer shelf life.
Do you think that the Indian DOOH media is reflecting the international trends?
The Indian DOOH landscape has a long way to catch up when compared to international trends. One of the main reasons for the slow growth of this sector is the government policies that restrict them or do not allow them to thrive. Still, the acceptance and understanding of the digital OOH is here as we see them everywhere as street furniture, bus shelters, mounted on a structure and even on transit media. The use of digital assets will gradually increase but there needs to be a favourable environment for them to function and thrive.
Shed light on the relay of real-time information and other such innovative techniques catered to the clients by EmagenTV.
EmagenTV offers a variety of real-time information such as date/time, weather conditions, forecast, traffic conditions, flight information, programmatic ad placement based on data, triggers based on sensors such as motion, temperature that can be passed on to the audience as well as the network operator.
Audience measurement and demographic based ad trigger is an offering we are very excited about. EmagenTV offers options of measuring campaign effectiveness by taking parameters such as age, dwell time into count which at times trigger content based on demographics, such as a particular ad can be displayed to a male audience in the 25-45 ag group and so on.
What differentiates EmagenTV from competition?
Our differentiating factor is our simple yet powerful platform for digital content distribution. By simple, we mean really simple, as simple as running your google mail account. Yes, it's that easy. Despite being simple, EmagenTV is packed with features and content that ensures that a user is able to run a complete network of 10,000 screens from a single location and be on top of that game.
Another differentiating factor is the freedom to choose the hardware based on the operating system or the budget for the display. EmagenTV ensures that you have one single platform for screen management no matter the OS or display type.
Any accomplishments of EmagenTV that you would like to talk about?
EmagenTV is successfully managing over 2,000 screens across 3 countries viz. India, Nigeria and UAE. Our service is being used by banks, telecom companies and even by an Airport in the city of Lagos. Here in India, we have broken barriers and made successful network installations in the remote parts of Bihar and UP. This is surely helping in communicating the fact that digital signage works and is here to stay.
We have had good success with media owners within the DOOH space. Having signed NDAs with most of the operators, we will not be able to mention them by name. However, our installations and technology can be seen at work in shopping malls and commercial real estate space in northern India. Some properties where our installation can be seen are Select City Walk Mall, Saket. DLF Mall of India, Logix City Center Noida and WorldMark at Aerocity.
Aside from being present at large format retail properties we are also the driving force behind a large number of sector-specific DOOH installations, such as residential DOOH installation for internal communication and 3rd party ad placement to installation of touch screen kiosk at pharmacies and within speciality clinics, to digital notice boards in rural Bihar and UP for communication of government-run schemes of agriculture and micro-financing.
Every day we see the market warming up to benefits of digital signage and the fact is that it is a technology that cannot be ignored anymore.