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‘The time for DOOH has truly arrived’

By Rajiv Raghunath - June 24, 2019

Barry Frey, President & CEO of Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA) shares his perspectives on the growth and development of DOOH media and the factors that will determine this industry’s growth journey

Barry FreyDo you think the time for DOOH has arrived, and where is it going to go from here?

Yes, absolutely the time for DOOH has arrived and it is going to continue to grow even further and faster in the future. OOH is becoming a wholesome medium with automated features, enhanced processes, increase of data usage, amplified targeting and addressability. Even the classic media is becoming more digital. Moreover, digital screens are responsible for most of the growth around the world. For instance, in the UK, 50% of OOH advertising is on digital OOH; in the US, probably 35% of the media are digital screens.

There are two components of the DOOH growth. First, OOH media is becoming digital. Second, both advertisers and consumers love screens and videos. All of this makes for a very exciting time. In fact, I think the global business was up by 15% YoY last year because of digital OOH.

With DOOH gaining so much traction, do you see a new class of advertisers coming into the OOH fold?

Certainly, digital screens have been able to attract big OTT category players and other cable TV category brands. In fact, Netflix has recently bought an OOH company in LA. Now the ability for cable networks and TV channels to advertise has increased as they can show full motion video and the glorious nature of their content, which were not possible in the OOH in a non-digital environment. In addition, we have had great traction around the world with social media where we can start conversations through screens on social media.

DOOH faces lot of barriers on the regulatory front, so as the head of DPAA, what kind of advocacy are you doing for having the right kind of regulatory norms for digital media?

I am not aware of the regulations and their nuisances around the world but I think generally the world is becoming more business-friendly. I don’t think a lot of countries aren’t in favour of OOH business. Of course, we don’t want to do anything dangerous to anybody. But it is tough to stop technology and consumerism.

What is your take on some of the archaic norms that may hinder the growth of DOOH media?

I think today where you can have more effective advertising, you can also have more effective information, emergency services and communication for citizens. I think this has to be considered because this is a powerful medium which can now inform, entertain or deliver emergency services. These aspects need to be considered by the government when they look into regulations governing this media, not just advertising alone.

OOH was for long highly localised, but with digital OOH coming into the picture, this medium is becoming globalised. Are you seeing more cross-border collaboration between organisations either content creators or technology providers?

Yes, absolutely. In the current time, advertisers cross borders, agencies cross borders, digital crosses borders and we cross borders effectively for that reason. We talk to agencies and advertisers of the highest level and in fact we tell our members to get that smart to enable them to understand the markets. Today, one can create ads that are tweaked according to local market requirements or you can keep them consistent globally. Hence technology enables more globalisation.

Do you see DOOH enhancing the creativity in OOH advertising?

Every time a medium emerges, people use it as per their knowledge gained from the earlier media to design creatives. For instance, the earliest TV commercials had radio announcers making similar announcements in front of the camera. In due course that changed and TV commercials became what they are today. Likewise, we are seeing that digital OOH formats offer the creative folks a whole canvas to experiment creatively.

Do you expect to see consolidation of digital OOH business around the globe? What about the startups that are arriving on the scene?

I think you are going to continue to see both technology start-ups and mergers and acquisition, like the way Ayuda Media Systems being taken over by Broadsign. Both are strong companies. I think there will be more such transactions happening in the future.

What would be the net impact of companies like Google and Intel getting associated with OOH?

Intel is on my board and it is a great company which has smart people and it will help to grow this industry. Now the need for such companies has increased as the OOH medium is more digital and engineering driven so we can call those smart people to drive the industry.

With the globalisation of DOOH business, are we beginning to see global standards in this space?

It is evolving. We have developed at DPAA our global standards for programmatic, but indeed more work needs to be done.

Are you expecting see DOOH growth in a market like India?

India has a tremendous opportunity. There are so many companies and a huge set of screens mushrooming now which makes the country a vibrant advertising community. So, I think India offers tremendous opportunity and we are excited about this market.

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