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Saturday October 20, 2007

Starcom Media courts out-of-home advertising

By THEAN LEE CHENG

MEDIA buyer Starcom Media Group Sdn Bhd officially launched a new unit Navia Malaysia to harness the out-of-home (OOH) advertising opportunities on the back of rising opportunities in the segment.

Starcom CEO Yap Chee Weng says OOH contributes 5%, or RM250mil, to the country’s total advertising expenditure (AdEx), which is projected to stand at RM5bil for this year.

OOH as a medium covers any advertising that are, as the name implies, found outside the home. Although research by Nielsen states that at 6%, OOH expenditure is not growing as fast as the other media, its Singapore-based Starcom MediaVest Group regional director-specialist solutions for Southeast Asia Melissa Ho says “the numbers are grossly under reported because OOH covers a myriad of opportunities. From our experience, its expenditure is worth a lot more. We estimate that OOH expenditure in Malaysia is RM250mil.

“We have, therefore, set up Navia which will help to redefine OOH as a medium. Under this category, we have the traditional outdoors which comprises billboards, bus shelters, walls to wraps to inflatables and banners,” says Ho.

Advertising on the monorail system
The other branch of this form of advertising is transit media, which covers advertising on buses to light-rail transit and monorail systems, any mode of transport that ferries passengers from one destination to another, which includes even planes.

While the third branch of OOH is ambient media, which covers malls to cineplexes, restaurants, floor sticks, air balloons and airports. Similar units will be launched in Singapore and Thailand later on. They have already been launched in Indonesia, India and the Philippines to plug in the region’s growing billings market.

Yap, nevertheless, stresses that whatever the medium use, they will continue to be guided for their 4Cs framework of Consumers, Contact, Category and Content.

“We will draw on out insights into these – from behavioural, characteristics, capabilities and constraints to form and demands – and marry the best, to deliver the message,” Yap says.

OOH cannot be switched off! And the challenge lies in how to entertain and engage the consumer, minus the editorial content.

Although they are launching Navia now, the company already has billings of RM43mil from a full 12-month 2007. This translates into a market share of about 17%, making them the number one OOH specialist in the country.

They are confident to grow this to RM55mil by the end of next year. Yap declines to say how much is being invested in the new unit. Its assets will be its people and a proprietary tool, which they have bought for US$200,000.

Says Navia Asia general manager for operations Philip Hew: “SCOPE comprises our evaluation, inspection report and mapping system. It will play a critical role in our work process which integrates consumer and category insights with OOH information to deliver a creative product that addresses clients’ needs and objectives. With SCOPE, solutions will be 10% to 25% more productive and efficient,” says Hew.

He says the OOH industry currently focuses mainly on rates, negotiations and buying and too little on effective panning and innovation.


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