OOH: What 2021 has in store for the outdoor industry
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Experts walk us through the key trends we can look forward to in the OOH sector in 2021

OOH: What 2021 has in store for the outdoor industry

Experts walk us through the key trends we can look forward to in the OOH sector in 2021
  • In this new year, we want to crystal gaze into what the year has in store for the industry.
  • In today's feature, we talk to experts from the out-of-home industry who give us a sense of what one should expect from the OOH industry in 2021.
The Covid-19 induced lockdown last year hit the out-of-home industry hard. With people not venturing out for weeks, billboards across the country were left empty. April, May and June almost witnessed zero business.

However, as the country started opening up, advertisers started coming back to the medium, slowly but steadily.

The festive season, while holding a lot of expectations, did not see the kind of enthusiasm from advertisers as was expected. Everyone was in the ‘let’s-wait-and-watch’ phase, with brands being cautious of spending too much on advertising.

However, now despite the virus still being around, people are out and about. And with vaccines soon expected to hit the markets, things will only look up from here. And with increasing mobility with each passing day, one can only hope for things to keep improving. While we might still be some time away from a complete recovery, the process has already started.

Segments like OTT, real estate and FMCG have always been big spenders on the medium and with people slowly resuming travel, more and more advertisers are coming back too.

It is also expected that 2021 could finally see the boost that Digital OOH has been waiting for in India. We reached out to experts from the OOH ecosystem to understand their expectations from 2021 and here’ s what they had to say.

Noomi Mehta, Chairman & MD, Selvel One

OOH: What 2021 has in store for the outdoor industry

2021 will be a defining year because the classic form of OOH will not rebound to the extent that we hope it to. I don’t think the normal hoardings across the country are going to be filled, they won’t get the level of occupancy we are looking for. The shift towards digital is extremely clear to me now. Clients are moving their monies to digital not because of any particular reason but because it is one medium that gives them the most accountability where it is possible to measure and trace the actual performance vis-à-vis the money spent. The same is going to happen to outdoor, which is why the recent initiatives we’re taking, to establish a common currency of measurement, is going to be of paramount importance as we move ahead and will lead the way forward. If we’re able to achieve this by the second half of the year, outdoor as a medium will take off definitely.

Atul Shrivastava, CEO, Laqshya Media Group

OOH: What 2021 has in store for the outdoor industry

The OTT platforms have seen a huge spike in users over the last several months. As the pandemic is slowing down in India, these platforms will invest in both content and the advertising of the content to keep the growth rates up. As per the available data, the unprecedented rise in subscribers in the first half of the year is gradually slowing down. With 60-70% growth witnessed around May, figures for monthly subscriber rise have now reached around 20%. The subscription war is imminent and the platforms must use smart advertising to make their respective brands stronger.

The unique suitability of OOH to the digital platforms business has received a lot of business and academic attention – and we expect a lot of the ‘conventional' brands to learn from the experience of OTT platforms. It is because of this compatibility between OTT and OOH that we dominated the promotion of shows on OTT Platforms over the last couple of years. Post the lockdown, OOH came back with a bang. Most visible campaigns were launched by ZEE5 and a few others. Important to note is that India's homegrown platforms, too, have emerged as strong players in OTT category and as leaders in the smart use of OOH media.

As per the recent WARC Report, OOH is globally forecast to be the second-fastest growing medium in 2021, with ad spend rising by a fifth (20.2%). We expect this rally to happen in India as well.

Aman Nanda, Chief Strategy Officer, Times OOH

OOH: What 2021 has in store for the outdoor industry

The year 2020 has reaffirmed our faith in the power and impact of OOH media to drive audience sentiment at scale. New categories such as OTT entertainment, online education and hygiene products emerged as the biggest spenders, and OOH spends have shifted from business districts to residential areas, as people are spending more time around their own neighborhoods. The pandemic has also sprung fledgeling remote client relationships, and our team has adapted to remotely working to deliver the best OOH solutions to our esteemed clients across India.

Ajay Mehta, Founder and MD, Interactive Television (iTV) and MD, Kinetic India

OOH: What 2021 has in store for the outdoor industry

2021 will be a watershed year for the OOH Industry. From the lows experienced by the industry amidst the lockdown, the industry will start rising aggressively and will clock an extremely high growth rate. This will be on the back of multiple factors including normalising of people out of home, to new touchpoints to demand from OOH heavy categories like Auto and OOH.

While people interpret the Out of Home Industry as a medium that lacks data points and measurement, the fact is that some of us from the Industry have used the time during the pandemic to create several tools and initiatives which use multiple data points to enable advertisers to plan, execute and measure their investments based on deep insights. 2020 has just been the start of this and I see this trend sustaining and gaining traction in 2021. This year will also see new touchpoints coming into the limelight and programmatic and Digital Out of Home will drive this.

Lastly OOH is an impact medium and to achieve the same, we see advertisers demanding more innovative solutions to achieve the same.

Fabian Trevor Cowan, Country Head, Posterscope India

OOH: What 2021 has in store for the outdoor industry

Every season has its lipstick trend and just because your perfect color is a pinky beige, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear deep burgundy - Bobby Brown

This quote pretty much supports my take on the OOH trends for 2021. For the last 230 plus years of its supposed official existence, the OOH medium has witnessed many trends but has always maintained and reinforced its core survival traits of high visibility, high impact and high contextual capabilities. This will continue to be its core growth areas in the future as well.

5 trends that will only help reinforce these attributes will be ‘increased bandwidth speeds’ on the back of the 5G possibility, which will aid DOOH solutions. Usage and inclusions of ‘Diversified data-sets’ will become the norm rather than an exception in planning for OOH. ‘Automated’ platforms’ will be the natural progression for DOOH networks. ‘Tech collaborations’ will come to the fore to enhance the DOOH solutions, making them more realistic and impactful and lastly ‘OOH with a purpose’ will be the underlying premise for all brand communications in 2021 given that a post-pandemic world will seek more meaningful communications from brands.