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‘We should have Roadstar up and running shortly’

By Rajiv Raghunath - July 05, 2024

Praveen Vadhera, CEO of Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) talks about the apex body’s plans for the audience metrics platform Roadstar that is designed as the common currency for Indian OOH

Indian Outdoor Advertising Association (IOAA) is taking strident steps to fast-track the introduction of the audience metrics platform Roadstar which is planned as the common currency for Indian OOH. Speaking about the developments around this initiative, Praveen Vadhera, CEO of IOAA informs that the Vikram Sakhuja-led Technical Committee that was established by AAAI to address concerns raised by various agencies with regard to Roadstar has ironed out most of the issues.

Initially, there were widespread concerns that necessitated a return to the drawing board. But, in the committee’s second meeting itself most issues came to be resolved, except over data security concerns regarding proprietary data. Subsequent discussions with legal and IT personnel helped alleviate the concerns over legal and IT standards. Praveen states that currently all aspects are in final stages of discussion and "we should have Roadstar up and running shortly". 

The next phase would involve reaching out to other prominent media traders outside the AAAI network, followed by onboarding media owners and securing their subscription to the metrics platform.

Onboarding media owners

Praveen states that once engagement with media agencies is underway, parallel efforts will commence to engage with media owners. The primary objective is to onboard their media inventory onto the platform, ensuring all sites and their GPS coordinates are accurately represented. Subsequent discussions will then focus on subscription details. The target is to complete on-boarding for the top two cities, Delhi and Mumbai, within the next three months. By the end of the year, an additional 10 cities are slated to be covered, with a further 20 cities expected to follow in the first quarter of the subsequent year. This phased approach is set to cover approximately 80-85% of the markets.

For a common currency

Praveen says the primary expectation from the agencies is that they adopt Roadstar as their central planning tool as well as educate their respective clients on its usage when necessary. This will establish Roadstar as the standard currency across the industry, both on the agency and client side.

While many of the agencies have their own proprietary planning tools, Roadstar offers an open architecture that allows agencies to seamlessly integrate their proprietary data tools.

When it comes to media owner engagements, Praveen emphasises the importance of targeting major media owning firms first before approaching the smaller ones. The goal is to establish the platform as a primary planning tool for key agencies, ensuring that only sites on the platform are included in their plans based on reach and impressions targets. That will serve as a strong pull factor for media owners, and all this will potentially lead to increased brand spends on OOH advertising. The platform aims to address apprehensions among media owners regarding measurement, clarifying that it quantifies site exposure without assigning scores, thus dispelling unfounded concerns about devaluation.

The Roadstar Advantage

What sets Roadstar apart from various audience metrics tools is its scientific approach and the rigorous data curation process. Unlike many global tools that rely heavily on Software Development Kit (SDK) data, Roadstar goes a step further by curating and cleaning the data. As Praveen explains, "We get an average sample size of about 15 crore pings of mobile phone every day. That 15 crore is curated and cleaned to bring down to about four odd crores."

This meticulous curation process, unique to India, eliminates erroneous data and ensures a high degree of accuracy. Furthermore, Roadstar employs an innovative algorithm that balances the data by negating extremities, providing a more accurate representation of audience metrics. This scientific rigour places Roadstar ahead of other tools globally, as acknowledged by industry experts like Gideon Adey, head of the measurement committee, World Out of Home Organization.

Wider coverage

As Roadstar continues to evolve, plans are underway to include Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) media in its coverage. Currently, DOOH metrics are measured from a static aspect, but the next phase involves customising Roadstar to provide dynamic and comprehensive measurements for digital displays. Additionally, the integration of points of interest (POIs) with billboard sites will create a seamless attribution model, offering unprecedented insights into audience engagement and behaviour.

The collaborative efforts of IOAA and AAAI in developing and implementing Roadstar signify a monumental leap forward for the OOH advertising industry in India. By leveraging advanced data curation techniques and scientific methodologies, Roadstar promises to provide the much needed common currency for audience measurement. 

As aptly summarised by Praveen, this achievement would mark a significant milestone for the industry. With the support of data-driven insights, brand teams can confidently ask for augmented budgets for OOH advertising.

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