‘There’re great opportunities to work with Govt today’
By N Jayalakshmi - May 16, 2022
In a conversation with Media4Growth, Amit Kapoor, Managing Director of OOH solutions company US Advertising, a leading industry player which has developed AI backed tools for measurement and monitoring in the context of OOH campaigns, shares his observations on market trends, opportunities and challenges in the space.
You have been in the adtech space for long now and have developed tools like Compass, Radar and Beacon for planning, gathering real time data, monitoring, etc. What specific challenges did you observe in the OOH space which drove these solutions?
We have been hearing and talking about these challenges in many industry forums for quite some time now. Fact is that in the last 15 years, digital media has gained a lot of traction, purely basis the numbers that they show. While the numbers that the digital and social media platforms show may be debatable, as there is no way of verifying them, the fact remains that numbers drive spends. When it comes to OOH, there were no tools which could provide those numbers; and outdoor as a medium has never been a part of a boardroom discussion. So in order to bring in some legitimacy to the business and make it more streamlined, we created these tools, which are comparable to measurement tools in other mediums. A lot of money and effort were spent on developing these tools. We developed them and even got KPMG on board. But then Covid happened, which slowed things down a little. But the market is starting to look good now and a lot of corporates are spending money, since traffic is back on the roads.
The industry has been facing the measurement challenge for a long time now, hasn’t it? And like you said, it has been talked about for quite some time now. But nothing seems to have changed much. Why do you think so?
The main issue is that as an industry we lack the initiative to get organised. We should come together as an industry and discuss these issues freely. The mindset needs to change, but the need for a common currency and for the industry to get organised is being hammered in slowly and one day a common currency will see the light of the day, though I don't know how many more years it will take to reach that point.
Coming back to these tools you have developed; how would you define the ROI for a client looking to spend on them?
Today even though there are companies coming up with tools to measure, everybody has a different set of calculations and nobody's coming up with a real time solution with an obvious proof of concept for the client. And that is what we do - we can show them a live demo of a camera on a site where they see the live numbers. So that is their ROI. There's no other proof required, as seeing is believing. So these tools have helped us in carving out a distinct space in a competitive space. Once we present the tools to the top management among brands, then it is a win-win situation.
As a key player in the OOH tech space what are your key challenges today?
There are multiple challenges. Like I said, when it comes to corporates, it can be an issue when the top management is not involved. Also, there is a lot of competition when it comes to corporates, as everybody's fighting for that space. The result is that we see a lot of undercutting of rates and other manipulations, which is killing the outdoor advertising market. But I think sooner or later, things will have to get into a correction mode and start looking up.
Moving forward where do you see maximum opportunities? Which are the potential growth segments for you?
Our stronghold in the last five-six years has been government projects and PSUs. I find that there is a great deal of acceptance for these tools in the government and greater transparency. They also have huge budgets so it’s a great opportunity to work with the government today. The payments are secure, and everything is centralised. Government is not an easy entry, but once you enter, it’s a good space to work in.