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Globally, revenues from digital have doubled in 3 years: Olivier Heroguelle

By M4G Bureau - October 13, 2014

JCDecaux India has taken affirming steps in the digital OOH space in India by introducing digital assets at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) Bengaluru where the firm holds exclusive advertising rights. This new array of media includes assets like a mega video wall, 6 digital MUPIs, 16 Pole Mounted Digital MUPI's and 8 digital suspended screens located throughout the Domestic Departure Retail Zone 1, Domestic Security Hold area and Domestic Arrival corridor, respectively.

JCDecaux has rich expertise in managing airport digital media worldwide. However, it wouldn't be wrong to say that the Indian market differs from markets overseas and so there are unique challenges too, springing from advertisers' mind-sets, consumer outlook, local conditions, etc. Olivier Heroguelle, MD, JCDecaux India talks about the company's foray into the DOOH space in India in conversation with Bhawana Anand of Outdoor Asia. Edited excerpts of the interview:

How effective is digital media at the airports? Do you see significant improvement in this media resulting in greater effectiveness?

Digital media indeed has been gaining momentum in recent years.

Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Bengaluru is an attractive avenue for advertisers. Being one of the top five airports in the country makes KIA a key asset for the Indian OOH market. The principles gave us the opportunity to develop some digital assets which could match with the newly developed airport. These digital assets will complement the impactful traditional media which is already established at KIA.

Globally, JCDecaux is committed to providing world class advertising formats backed by our cleaning & maintenance programme to ensure that the media last for decades. Acknowledging the geographic demography of Bengaluru as the IT hub of India, we decided to introduce our cutting-edge digital solutions at the airport.

Generally, advertisers are very keen on advertising on digital media as it is eye catching, captures the attention of passengers and also provides them with a pleasant visual distraction. It conveys the advertisers' communication message in a dynamic way in a premium environment.

There are other Indian airports as well with digital assets. How have you planned to keep KIA unique and different from them?

Undoubtedly, other media owners have done a good job.

We at JCDecaux always strive to deliver the best experience for our principals and advertisers alike by deploying advanced technology and aesthetically designed media. However, the biggest differentiating factor is our technical expertise and the upkeep of our formats. In addition, we have an unparalleled relationship with global clients that could help in maximising the revenue in the long term at KIA. We have a prefect local team, with international sales network. The Asian platform is based in Shanghai and the worldwide platform in London which supports our global sales network.

Please share the hardware and software details.

For street furniture, our hardware is made in Asia and locally in India as well.  However, our advanced digital assets have been researched and developed at our global research centres. They come with the same technology that is being used in our media worldwide, although the designs have been slightly customised to match perfectly with the airport environment. Also, our in-house software has been customised to ease the use as much as possible providing seamless synchronisation.

How did you select the locations for digital media placement?

Media placement is the most critical aspect in ensuring the success of a format. Based on our experience, we select the location with maximum passenger flow and dwell time in order to ensure maximum impact and exposure for a brand message. However, it is important to ensure that it is perfectly integrated with the airport environment.

The moment passengers enter the airport premises, they get exposed to the digital media.  Starting from the assets placed outside the airport, towards departure and check in, and then at the security check, we have sufficient assets to make sure that we catch 100 per cent of passenger flow.

For example, considering the dwell time in the retail area we have placed a huge video wall which is visible from the retail area and the lounge - this way, the media commands 100 per cent traffic attention. Likewise, we have applied the same rationale at the departing gates and arrival gates where we have placed suspended screens.

How are you planning to build the balance between traditional media and digital media?

Digital is growing everywhere in the world because it is required by both advertisers - for having a platform to convey their messages effectively and airports - which are a true representation of the unconventional world.

Worldwide, our revenues coming from digital media have doubled in the past three years. It is approximately 20 per cent of the global transport advertising revenue.  It is likely to reach 25 per cent by next year. KIA is certainly following the trend, so we aren't too far from the 25 per cent mark.

Digital is certainly a global trend but I doubt it will lead to complete digitisation of the airport media. We need to maintain a balance between traditional and digital media since the impact, approach and benefits are different. I believe we will reach at least 50 per cent for digital but the technology is changing so fast that it is hard to project how it will look in the future, especially with respect to digital signage.
Considering the various factors, we plan on keeping the digital media in closed areas and not outside the airport.

Please elaborate on the interactive and engaging features of the assets.  
Engagement is essential for advertisers to create an impact on their potential customers and digital media is poised to deliver the same as it has the strong power of attraction. Our digital assets allow advertisers to carry campaigns based on well-known technologies like QR code, NFC, Augmented Reality, Touch Interactivity, etc.

The next step will be touch screens which can function as big size iPads, etc. We are working with our partners for developing this in the coming years at KIA and believe it will be the ultimate engagement platform for advertisers.

Is there any measurement technique built into these assets?

At the moment there is no measurement technique integrated in these digital Assets. However, over the years we have gathered in-depth understanding and information on the airport environment, such as, passenger profiles, demographic data, dwell time, etc., which help the brands in taking informed decisions.

What is your business plan to promote the new media?

Digital in itself is an exciting proposition for the advertisers as it gives them a lot of creative freedom and flexibility to engage their target audience. However, it is important for us to highlight these attributes and merits of digital media with various marketing initiatives. There are clients who are specifically requesting for digital media and we already have demands from international clients who are using digital media at other airports across the globe. Samsung is the first brand to use our digital video wall followed by many domestic brands.

How cooperative was the airport authority?

The authority has been really supportive. They have aided us in providing the best locations for placing the media. It sure is a win-win partnership where we manage the assets at the airport and they help us in developing the most impactful media at appropriate locations.

Is JCDecaux India likely to deploy digital media at open locations like bus shelters?

We certainly would love to implement our digital media assets at external locations someday, however owing to the several unavoidable factors like adverse weather conditions, vandalism and thefts, the idea remains farfetched.

Recently, I saw a digital and traditional media asset placed together. And of them, the traditional media was more impactful, neat and well lit, whereas the digital media was of poor quality. For advertisers it is not very effective. The day we introduce digital on the streets in India, it will be long lasting best quality media, having significant durability and adding value to brand messages.

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