Why Indian OOH agencies don’t ooze so much digital innovation?

OOH contributes substantially towards the advertising pie in combination with online channels. However, they haven’t set the stage on fire with any ground-breaking innovation. The reason for this is very deep and fundamental in nature. Let us assess them in detail in this article:

Regulated environment – more than 90% of OOH formats in India do not include digital displays. The laws in India prohibit dynamic digital displays in OOH formats in open environment. It is allowed only in closed environments like airports, cafés, malls, residential buildings and retail kiosks. These don’t add up excitement for the businesses to look at them positively.

Tenders all the way – the available indoor digital displays are also not utilized very creatively as every public space owned by the government goes through a tender route. The service providers who win the tender aren’t keen about innovation and they look at achieving the fastest ROI on their upfront investments.

Scarcity of content – execution and experience play a huge role in the success of digital displays. Except perhaps some one-off surprises, we don’t find consistency in terms of content displayed even in malls and cinemas. It is sad to see Mr. Bean playing in most video walls in malls around the country.

Not high value – the top advertising agencies haven’t started looking at digital seriously as the ticket size is small and requires a lot of technology skills to collaborate and put together meaningful displays.

Chicken and egg story – businesses need more displays to make it attractive for them to look at. Infrastructure providers need more advertisers to make the upfront investments, which are fairly huge.

Media plan – digital is still not a big part of the media plan of businesses. It would find its space sooner than later, and after which we can see a lot more traction in the OOH space.

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