Adgully Exclusive | OOH-la-la! Reliance Media World's growth story

Out-of-home (OOH) media has always been a formidable influencer for the ad industry. Today, though OOH's position has been successfully challenged by radio, television, and the internet, it continues to be a productive medium for the industry. And despite the so-called Great Recession, OOH is still an integral element of large campaigns.

Adgully reaches out to Rabe Iyer”business head, OOH, digital and experiential marketing, Reliance Media World ” to ascertain the direction the medium is likely to take in the near future, and also learns about his company's OOH strategies.

Adgully began by asking Iyer to elaborate on the damage caused by the downturn to OOH. "Thankfully, for us, the downturn was not so bad because we really did not have a large inventory; so our leverage was very low," Iyer said. "Therefore, we have been saved from that [the bad effects of downturn]." As for the current situation, he said that the year had been good for Reliance Media World. "In terms of growth, we had a 190% jump vis-à-vis last year," he said. The industry itself has registered a 12.5% year-on-year growth, he said.

The numbers seem to augur well for the industry. So Adgully asked Iyer about the prospects for OOH in the near future. He said that the industry might grow by 15% by the end of 2010. "Right now, the overall OOH industry is about Rs1008 crores," he said.

Iyer then explained the reasons for his optimistic assessment of the medium's prospects. "I think it's a very strong medium," Iyer said. "With so much competition, you want to familiarise people with the brands. That is the intention of a marketer." He said the more the people were exposed to a brand, the more familiar they got with it. "And, of course, because of its format, OOH is able to make a huge impact for the client," he said. "That makes the brand look larger than life. When you go to a movie hall and see Amitabh Bachhan's towering image, it makes him a larger-than-life figure. OOH offers that kind of immediacy and impact. We can use OOH medium to call for action." He said that companies like Big Bazaar used OOH very effectively and that media companies and movies have built their business on the back of OOH medium.

Indeed, Iyer went on to say that Reliance Media World was acquiring new properties. "We want to register double the industry growth, so we are focusing a lot on transept, metros, and street furniture," he said.

The conventional forms of the OOH medium, though still in favour, are being supplemented with digital boosts. Adgully asked Iyer if Reliance Media World was going to use the new-age tools. "We have already started doing that," Iyer said. "We have tied up with a company to put up 40 LED screens across Delhi. These are 16 feet by 9 feet screens and they are all networked. So I can sit here in my office and tap 40 markets in Delhi at one go." Iyer said that Delhi was chosen because it afforded many markets and the LEDs gave direct access to shoppers.

As far as Reliance Media World's growth path was concerned, Iyer said that it would focus on city infrastructure growth. "We will focus on positive regulations," he said. "So our growth path will involve transept, street furniture, and back-of-city infrastructure growth."


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