“Serious players with patience & passion will emerge out of this situation”
By Bhawana Anand - June 23, 2020
Pramod Bhandula, Executive Chairman, JCDecaux Advertising India talks about the impact of pandemic on the global OOH industry and measures to outgrow for the Indian OOH industry
Pramod Bhandula, Executive Chairman, JCDecaux Advertising India believes that it is the right time for the Indian OOH industry to take a step forward in terms of business offerings and business practices. Pramod, an OOH veteran finds that OOH advertising is very significant to remain intact in the books of the advertisers under Unlock Phase 1 as well as post Covid19 era. Below are his edited excerpts.
How do you see 2020 pandemic impacting the business of Indian OOH industry?
The OOH industry has been badly impacted globally due to this unprecedented incident which none of us has ever experienced before. Though we have predicted a tough period for the next six months for OOH business, however, even after three months have already passed, we are not clear that how this situation will pan out. It has taken the market growth to zero, which will take time to emerge out of this situation.
Do you think the developments which were taking place pre-Covid19, with regards to digitization and green OOH, have once again taken a back seat due to uncontrolled condition?
I see it in a different way. I believe this is absolutely the right time to revive the nature of the business. Understanding the fact that this will be the ‘new normal’, digitization and eco-friendly practices will be the most important factors of this era. Digitization is becoming the need of the hour. Hence, we should start thinking differently and innovatively.
I feel that the serious players with good business backup must try to put their best foot forward in this situation. What is most important is the right focus and not the big numbers or big sizes.
Airports have started operating some time ago, would like to talk about the demand/growth of Bangalore airport media?
Although the airport business has been a growth driver for the OOH industry in last seven to eight years where various new brands also joined the airport arena, which had never used the airport media as a touchpoint. However, the scenario will be slightly different now as the airport business is directly linked with the number of passengers
Even after three weeks from the start of airport operations, the passenger traffic is merely between 8% and 10%. Therefore, once the traffic reaches between 30% and 50%, the brands will think about airport advertising.
From this, it can be clearly said that airport advertising business will take time to go back to the same 2019 stature. Similarly, same thing applies in the case of metro media which runs with the same parameters.
Do you think roadside media such as bus shelter will be more in demand now since lot of touchpoints are closed and will take time to revive?
The moment there are positive sentiments back into the market and people start traveling again without any infection fear, the roadside format will be the fastest one to bounce back, even at faster pace than print and electronic media.
Which new or old categories of advertisers you see selecting OOH medium in the near future?
I am quite positive about clientele. The existing categories/brands are looking for the right time to come back on the medium as they want to be seen and create visibility to survive. Along with that, there are a couple of new categories emerged which looks optimistic to me. There will be a slow start; nonetheless, the brands still opt for OOH medium to advertise.
What would be your suggestion with regards to business revival?
Players with seriousness, passion and patience will emerge out of this situation as better players with different avatars. The companies will need to think differently, concentrate and invest in new technologies and high-quality products.