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‘Innovative DOOH options will spur railway media biz’

By Bhawana Anand - August 14, 2020

Shriranga S, Founder of Vyoma Media, asserts that smaller players armed with innovative solutions have a better chance for a turnaround

Railway media operators have been hit hard by the Rail ministry’s decision to suspend the running of regular trains as the Covid-19 situation became acute in the country. It’s nearly five months since the first national lockdown was enforced, and there is no decision yet on when the regular train services will resume.  Commenting on the impact this has had on the railway media business, Shriranga S, Founder of Vyoma Media, says, “We see several challenges posed by this pandemic. While there is definitely a hit to the advertising industry, the extending restriction on railway operations is washing out any further prospects for the business, where there has been no revenue generation since April.”

Media owners that had invested in DOOH media at railway networks would be in more dire situation considering that even before the pandemic started, advertising brands were conservative in opting for DOOH media in their ad plans. Shriranga adds that with people in general avoiding inter-city travels, the audience size is not likely to get back to normal for some time to come, which will again adversely affect DOOH media business, as most advertisers opting for railway media would consider using the tried and tested options. That said, Vyoma Media is hopeful that innovative DOOH media formats will prove to be a game changer.

Earlier this year, Vyoma Media installed contactless self-ticketing counters at railway stations in Mumbai. Those counters with media displays were opted for by OTT player ZEE5 for exclusive branding. “The contactless, engaging and convenient services are well accepted by people who want to see less crowd and physical human interaction. Those formats will become a must-have for any transit destination which can further have brand integrations and advertising opportunities offering highly personal interactivity,” adds Shriranga. The company is planning for such innovative media to be introduced in the coming months.

But will brands include railway media in their plans now? To this Shriranga answers, “Merely the brand display, making a pitch to sell a product or service won’t make sense in the face of the New Normal. Brands will have to find relevance and an empathetic tone in their communications. So, the digitally-enabled contactless sanitised zones will spur huge branding possibilities for brands to do so, especially for categories like FMCG, e-commerce, wellness brands.”

Looking ahead, he asserts that the pandemic situation “has cleared the leaderboard where companies ranking 3rd or 4th will get a chance to get to the top by leveraging the right opportunities in the New Normal.”

Also Read: Rail media operators handling ‘Essential Services’ approach Board for 18-month waiver of license fee, other charges


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