“Kinetic WW will invest in marrying OOH with mobile & social in India”

Kinetic WW India has beefed up its offering with the launch of a state-of-the-art out-of-home planning tool – Aureus, and a specialised airport division – Aviator. While Aureus is an OOH planning software with end-to-end solution right from brief to estimate, Aviator is a specialised division designed for planning and buying of airport media.

Aureus has been designed to work seamlessly between all partners in the OOH media value chain, including business associates, agency buyers & planners and clients to deliver smarter OOH media planning for every campaign. Aureus harnesses local market insights, including traffic counts, points of interest and detailed inventory data on unified base, to craft bespoke OOH media plans basis data criteria. In association with GFK Mode, Kinetic has assembled traffic count that derives to the rational of plan.

With global air passenger traffic witnessing a growth of 6.5 per cent, India is poised to be the third largest aviation market by 2020 – worth $40 billion. India is the fastest growing country for domestic air travel, with 13.2 per cent annual increase. Aviator is a global specialist in providing media and marketing solutions for today’s connected traveller using data & technology to deliver vendor-agnostic investment solutions. With Aviator, Kinetic has access to 100 per cent of the world’s airports, reaching 3.6 billion travellers.

Speaking at the launch, Suresh Balkrishana, CEO – South Asia & Middle East, Kinetic WW, said, “Kinetic WW is known for offering the best in class solutions and innovative solutions to a multitude of clients and brands. We have always kept our audience in the centre of planning and these initiatives map their travel pattern, and consumption of media. With the introduction of Aureus and Aviator, we are confident that the client experience will be enhanced as it will make the planning and buying process more accountable and logical. This is another step in our constant endeavour of offering world class services to our clients.”

Speaking about Aureus, Paula Fernandez, Global Director – Head of Data Tools & Analytics, Kinetic WW, said, “At Kinetic, we understand that our business needs to be driven by data and technology to provide a leading service. Aureus in India will drive better strategic capabilities to our solutions, as we integrate different sources of data to provide a better understanding of the media and the consumer landscape. This is the first stage of implementation of a system that is continuously evolving to adjust to the rapid changes of our industry. Following stages will include an improved integration with the market place to allow a seamless transaction with the vendors, and the implementation of more complex digital planning and buying capabilities.”

In conversation with Adgully, Suresh Balkrishana and Paula Fernandez speak at length about Aureus and Aviator, the current status of OOH measurement metrics in India, Kinetic’s thrust on Digital OOH, road ahead for Kinetic and much more. Excerpts: 

How will Aureus and Aviator strengthen Kinetic’s bouquet of offerings?
Suresh Balkrishana: Aureus and Aviator will strengthen, but not complete the bouquet, because a lot of interesting stuff is going to be available over the next few years. Aureus and Aviator will make our planning more sophisticated, organised and accountable. As a planning tool, Aureus will reduce human interface. So, when we approach a client, we can tell them that this is the plan and this is the gross impressions it is delivering. Earlier, we would just present the plan, but today we can do much more than that because of the available data. I am personally super excited about Aviator, because if we can bring addressability in airports like Mumbai and Delhi, it will expand the airport market further and clients would want to advertise more because we are bringing in so much science to their airport planning. 

Paula Fernandez: Aureus and Aviator will allow us to be more strategic and improve our service to clients as we can do better recommendations. We are going to be more responsive because we will have data and we can select the best alternatives for our clients. 

How can Aureus help brands augment their OOH plans and offer advantages than the existing OOH tools in India?
Suresh Balkrishana: Aureus will marry with client data and sharpen their plans, help them geo-target and also deliver numbers. Today, amidst any other plan that is delivered in India, Aureus will be able to visually put data and identify best possible location for the OOH campaign. It will help the client in targeting specific audience, driving efficiency and getting value for money. 

Paula Fernandez: Aureus will help Kinetic in making the best and most efficient selection for our clients by concentrating to what is going to drive better results. It is going to be more impactful, it will allow us to have more negotiations because we understand the marketplace better. It will be the data rather than the system that is going to allow Kinetic to provide differentiation to clients. 

How does the Aviator platform work? Have you entered into any strategic tie-ups with airport agencies for this?
Suresh Balkrishana: Aviator has some products which we will be using for better data measurement and providing marketing solutions. Apex is a tool which caters to aviation and passenger intelligence and is working at 91 airports in India, including all metro cites. Kinetic also has an Interrogator tool, which is a format analyser and it is up and ready to use. Ethnos is another tool in Aviator that dwells on the traveller profile, which Kinetic will put together this year. 

There were talks of the OOH industry getting together a couple of years back to introduce a measurement metrics for OOH media. What is the current status of this metrics?
Suresh Balkrishana: Those talks are still on and the industry is trying to get through it because it is getting extremely difficult to bring everyone on the table and make it happen, but the efforts are still on. But when will it happen, I don't know. 

What is Kinetic’s thrust on Digital OOH? What kind of investments have you been making in this field?
Suresh Balkrishana: Out of the total inventory in India, only 3 per cent is digital. So not much is happening right now, but over the next two years that 3 per cent will jump to become 10 per cent. When the bid for wi-fi in railway tender happens and the number of digital screens in railways increases, we will see a huge increment in digital OOH. Kinetic Worldwide is making huge investments in digital OOH and the moment the number of digital inventory goes up in India, we will import all that to our market. 

Paula Fernandez: Kinetic Worldwide has identified different technical platforms that we need to use. Kinetic Worldwide has invested heavily on technology and data to see how we can use different data sources to enhance the digital planning capability and to explore the different technical solutions we can use for planning purposes. The greater talent with digitalisation is that both agencies and vendors need to put in a lot of capabilities that we didn't have before to be able to manage the medium in a different way. 

What have been your major client acquisitions in the last one year?
Suresh Balkrishana: We have been blessed with big clients, Google has been one of our biggest clients this year and it is a huge advertiser. Other than that, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Ford have also been added to our client list last year, among others. 

GroupM expects OOH to grow at 7 per cent in 2017 to reach Rs 2,942 crore. What, according to you, are the close-to-market growth figures?
Suresh Balkrishana: I think the projection is very under-leveraged as it is taken from Time Monitoring and they don't take malls and street furniture into account. I think OOH is growing roughly at 10 per cent and not 7 per cent. 

Going forward, what do you see as the key factors driving growth for the OOH industry in India?
Suresh Balkrishana: Digitisation and consolidation are the only key factors that will drive growth in India for OOH industry. 

How challenging has India proved for Kinetic in OOH Media?
Paula Fernandez: The greatest difference between India and the rest of the world is the fragmentation of the OOH industry in India. If we compare the OOH industry in other markets, we have some key players who have standardised the product a lot and for us to adopt and implement any new change in the industry. If the market is more consolidated, it is a challenge because of so many cities, importance of location and products against different vendors. 

Having said that, standardisation of the medium helps us to provide better solutions for clients and a better end-experience for consumers. In terms of regulation and standardisation of measurement, it benefits everyone and that journey still needs to happen in the market as the clients cannot benefit from a cluttered environment. Because of the fragmentation, it is going to take time and the investment that needs to go behind the change of physical assets is quite significant for large corporations. The Indian market is flexible because you can do a lot of innovation, but there is lack of standardisation. 

In February this year, Kinetic had launched UK’s first automated OOH trading platform. Do you think such a platform can be possible in a market like India?
Suresh Balkrishana: Kinetic launched programatic buying in London last year and it is absolutely possible to do that in India, but we will see that happening only five years from now because digitalisation still hasn't completely evolved in India. The digital inventory has to grow and only then can we start measuring it well. But most importantly, media owners have to come on the table because only when we get media owners’ data on the table will we be able to do digital buying and programmatic will work. 

What does the road ahead look like for Kinetic in India? What would be your focus areas?
Suresh Balkrishana: Going forward, we are going to push the digital button and invest in marrying OOH with mobile and social in India. We will push the technology button in India as far as possible, because that will solve the data and audience measurement problem if we are able to link data with social or mobile. 

Paula Fernandez: In India, for the next year or two, we need to work on the adoption and usage of Aureus and Aviator and make them widely adapted to our clients and agencies.

Globally, we are developing a next generation of Aureus, which includes more capabilities and larger source of data for digital that allow us to incorporate later sources of data audience measurement.

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