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‘There's a plethora of data available today, the challenge is how to use & structure it’

By M4G Bureau - April 12, 2024

In an insightful conversation with Media4Growth, Praphul Misra, Founder and Managing Director of Oi Media, reflects on the transformative role played by data in the realm of Out-of-Home (OOH) Media and all that the company does in helping brands benefit from this data.

Praphul Misra

Over the last decade or so, capturing outdoor data has shifted from rudimentary estimations to a more sophisticated process, fuelled by insights. Praphul Misra, Founder of Oi Media, highlights the crucial challenge of leveraging this abundant data by bridging the gap between product-focused clients and the need for an accountable, transparent system in outdoor advertising.

“Today, whatever type of content you go through, you are leaving behind a cookie crumb or breadcrumb trail of your behaviour and profile. Even with a simple phone number, I can get 80% of the information about someone. So, suddenly there's a plethora of data available,” says Praphul, dwelling on how the concept of measurement in the context of market research has evolved. As he points out, reiterating how much data collection has evolved, “At one time we were so data-starved, we had to literally make people fill up loyalty programme membership forms right up to the extent that we wanted to know them.”

“In the context of outdoor, we would just estimate the number of landings earlier, but today you have broad data available, not just from the local transport authority or the local government, but also from Google Maps,” he adds.  

“However, the real challenge is how to use this data, structure it and have a standard for audience measurement, accountability, and transparency, so that ultimately, when the client is buying NPA door spaces, it is an apple-to-apple comparison. Or, maybe the first step would be comparing oranges and tangerines,” he remarks, a smile ringing through his voice. “That is where we step in.”

He then continues to happily illustrate how Oi Media is bridging the gap. “Oi Media is a software-as-a-service company, with a very narrow focus on Out of Home Media. We don't look outside that. But when we say Out of Home Media, we mean that we have been evangelising in a 360 degree manner: outdoor, indoor, and in transit. By indoor, I mean retail, mall, airport, bus stand, railway station. And transit includes everything on the road - bus, cab, auto rickshaw, cycle rickshaw, etc. We believe that everything communicates,” Praphul explains.  

“Such a focus requires a different technology for audience measurement, which is what we offer,” he further adds. “We are cloud and mobile native. Our biggest competitor is Microsoft and WhatsApp. The idea is to provide an integrated offering, both for the buy side and the sell side of the industry, and improve the ease of doing business among the various stakeholders on the buy-side and the sell-side. We are working on things like geofencing and looking at demography from partnerships with various apps. That should probably give you demographic profiles that went through your geofence, instead of just a count of bobbing heads that crossed it.” 

Praphul believes that any entity that calls itself a platform must hold itself accountable to include all possible use cases and stakeholders across media. This also echoes in his view of DDX Asia, the Expo of latest digital display solutions for Out of Home and retail, which is set for its second edition on February 21 & 22, 2025, at Hall no 5, Nesco Exhibition Centre, Goregaon, Mumbai.

“The very fact that DDX Asia uses the term ‘platform’ for itself mirrors with me. What we sell at Oi Media is software, but we call it a platform, where almost all kinds of use cases have been considered over a period of time and developed enough to provide a glance at all kinds of media. Our clients range from those who sell products and services through physical retail to those who advertise on Out of Home media, and our platform addresses all these types of media, all these types of audiences, and so does DDX Asia,” Praphul sums up. 

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