How can traditional media survive the digital onslaught?

( – By: Srikanth Ramachandran

According to global management consultants McKinsey & Company, spending on newspaper advertising is expected to fall at a compounded annual rate of 0.6% worldwide by 2019. The share of ads in newspapers will shrink by more than half over the next decade to 10.1%.

Business costs are getting no lower for traditional media establishments. While social media and aggregators will never completely supplant traditional media, the latter will clearly need to revamp their business models to stay relevant to consumers and advertisers.

The key question is how to go about it. Advertisers will benefit greatly if they are more attuned to what their target consumers want and are able to act on such knowledge.

I grew up loving the film Blade Runner. Released in 1982, there was something positive to be learned from the movie’s dystopian 2019 setting: the notion of an institution watching your every move is beyond scary and a violation of privacy, but if done right (by setting certain barriers) advertisers will be able to understand and cater to the exact needs of their consumers.

The current measurement of newspaper readership and television viewership is largely based on surveys and estimates. Until recently, no real empirical methodology could capture big data on who looked at a particular billboard and for how long — precise, real-time data that would enable both advertisers and media buyers to plan more effective marketing campaigns.

Inspired by Blade Runner, Moving Audiences has harnessed modern technology to capture this elusive data. We have taken it one step further by embedding this data into our digital out-of-home (OOH) platform, enabling media buyers to conduct transactions and summon targeted billboard ads with the click of a button. As we enter 2017, we plan to synchronise the billboards with the Mobile screen creating an “All Screen” activation platform. This engagement capability will enable marketers to activate their target customers and deliver real business results.

Traditional media must think outside the box to fend off competition from pure digital media players.

Establishments are increasingly looking to OOH advertising
to boost ad revenue. In Malaysia, at least three media groups recently vied for a 10-year billboard advertising concession worth RM300 million for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit project.

A 2015 PwC report suggested that the Asia-Pacific region will be the world’s largest outdoor advertising market, with the OOH advertising market in ASEAN set to reach US$1.27 billion in 2020. The market for smart city technology in Asia will reach US$1 trillion a year by 2025, according to IDC Government Insights.

Digital OOH advertising is ultimately useful for traditional media groups looking to increase ad revenue. Technology has made it possible to obtain useful consumer insights through non-intrusive means. Embedding such technology in billboards enables advertisers to intercept active consumers with targeted messages as they go about their day.

In the unpredictable world of disruptive technology, digital OOH is the smartest solution for traditional media to mitigate the digital onslaught.

Srikanth Ramachandran is the founder and Executive Director of Moving Walls, a startup with a vision to tackle digital’s final frontier – Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) advertising.


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