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Problems In Realizing The Potential Of Metro Advertising In Delhi

By Author: Manish Kumar
Total Articles: 57

When the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) began operations in 2002, expectations ran high among the OOH Advertising circles. Energetic vibes were felt across the OOH Advertising Agencies as they opined that Metro Advertising would follow in the footsteps of the success story of Airport Advertising. OOH Agencies like TDI International India P Limited dived in for the advertising rights and currently holds exclusive advertising rights at 22 metro stations. However, the Metro Advertising Agencies in Delhi are facing tough hurdles in popularizing Metro Advertising among the brands. Some of the obstacles met by the Advertising Agencies have been discussed in this article.

Fragmented Spaces

DMRC sold the advertising rights at the prominent junctions like Rajiv Chowk to different agencies. This led to the fragmentation of the sites. Brands became uninterested in spending at sites where their competitors were also present. Consolidation of the rights is an important requirement in ensuring that the Metro Advertising Agencies can do justice to the medium.

Lesser Audience per Station & High Cost

DMRC may have a huge ridership, but the actual audience at particular metro stations are much lesser compared to the roads. Additionally, in the face of the high licensing costs, owning advertising rights at just a few stations is not always profitable. Mr. Hiyav Bajaj, MD of TDI International India P Limited provides the hard figures, “Roughly 2.5% of the total India’s OOH advertising spend supports DMRC Media. If the total OOH spend in India is Rs 2000 crore, then all concessionaires like Pioneer, EG Communication, Times OOH, Big Street, OM360, TDI, Jagson, Discoveri, etc., put together (Outside Station; Inside Station and Metro trains), at their peak managed roughly about 40 – 50 crores of revenue, though the outflow from the concessionaires were higher to DMRC. This is the biggest reason; a lot of companies like ADAG’s Big Street, OM 360 among others etc. had to surrender their licenses due to heavy losses.”

Lack of Innovation

The Ad Displays at Metro Stations have a very limited scope for innovation and interactivity. The youngsters, who form a major part of the Metro audience, cannot be impressed by simple hoardings. Innovative and interactive ads using the latest technologies are the ways to captivate them. DMRC will have to take a leaf out of the Airport Authorities and allow the installation of sites that interact with the audience.

What Lies Ahead

However, the Metro Advertising Agencies have not lost hope on this medium and are hopeful that the authorities will soon answer their prayers. The change in their approach towards Metro Advertising Licensing is already evident. With adequate help from the authorities, DMRC Advertising can be still pulled out from the pit-hole.

The solutions would have to include:

#Removing the cluttered ways in which the ads at the metro are often placed.
#Inclusion of digital technology to increase the impact of the Metro Ads.
#Innovative Ads placed at points that can take the audience by a pleasant surprise.
#Creating an interactive ad theme that makes the audience participate.
#Better segmentation of the audience at individual stations.
#Completion of the projects in time so that the brands do not lose interest.

The DMRC Advertising Agencies of India are hopeful that the authorities would pay attention to the current woes of Delhi Metro Advertising. It would be a tragic chapter in the history of Advertising in India, if the potential of this medium cannot be realized.

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