Centuries before, Egyptian marked the beginning of advertising industry by installing obelisks at outdoor places. A 100 years ago, the “interruption model” of advertising found origin in the radio business which in turn flourished by television. In this brief history of 100 years, media empires are built on interruption model of advertisement wherein a viewer have to trade approximately 25% of his leisure time watching commercials to get economical access to entertainment content. But, in today’s world OOH is the one to watch out for.
Rise of Media Revolt
Decades of ads unceremoniously interrupting people’s leisure time have finally resulted in a massive backlash of ad rejection. What primarily supposed to be a piece of important information for consumers about the products that would improve their quality of life has now become a sour pill that is forcefully shoveled down their throat. It all has been going on like a never-ending feast for agencies and advertisers (to some extent) until we stepped into an internet era. Technology not only gave consumers access to better content but also the ability to skip the ad or avoid it all together.
As a quick reactive measure to remain relevant in changing media landscape, media stakeholders came up with new ad mantra of cross devise viewing. The concept essentially is to follow consumers on their multi-screen journey by inserting commercials on every screen that a consumer put his gaze on. Still, the good old interruption model disguised with glamourous words like digital, web or mobile. It kept the industry afloat but drilled a bigger hole in advertisers’ pocket as it increased their lines of investment to acquire the same number of consumers.
In 2014, wall street journal reports that “the only thing consumers hate more than TV ads are online video commercials.” The survey results are a warning for the long list of publishers, digital companies and media companies that are pushing more and more video content online with the hope of grabbing a piece of the online video ad market, says the paper. Rising popularity of entertainment platforms like Netflix, Youtube is a clear verdict about consumer’s acceptability of interruption model of advertisement.
Consumers now are armed and dangerous. Rising sales of the ads-free application and web content along with the tremendous popularity of notorious inventions like ad-blocker enables the customer to put an end to the hostility of interruption advertisement. Sneakily placed ads may still be able to get into the line of sight, but conversion ratio still remains shaky amidst all that resentment. As per Marxist, a revolution occurs when masses don’t want to live the old way and rulers are not able to govern the old way. Clearly, it’s a time of revolution and odds are stacked heavily against interruption advertisement.
How is OOH Placed
OOH has been a consumer-friendly mode of advertisement as it lets the user to selectively pay attention to the content he finds interesting. OOH appears to be the most straightforward and honest medium that works best in pure play advertising mode. There is no need for filler content; therefore no interruption and no negative associations take place. People see OOH ads while they are on the go when they are most receptive to useful information.
Although, the picture is not so rosy for Indian OOH industry. Factors such as pricing disparity, poor handling of media properties, the absence of clear statutory mandate etc. require the immediate attention of media stakeholders. Co-operative association of outdoor media houses should work jointly to uplift the quality standards and presentation of the outdoor media industry in India. OOH site discovery and buying process should be made more convenient. Media owners should pledge their devotion to quality and innovation.
While the potential is big and future looks bright, Indian OOH advertising industry has ripened for reforms. An all-around effort from media stakeholders and a unidirectional push should fetch the industry the value it deserves.