Transitions in the World of Chinese Outdoor Media over Decade
BEIJING, Aug. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — As China’s urbanization process accelerates, outdoor advertising media, the growth of which is highly dependent on the availability of space in urban areas, is showing a clear trend towards further rapid development. According to “Digital Marketing” magazine, Chinese outdoor media has experienced continuous changes in usage and application patterns as it has thrived over the past decade and continues to play an ever increasingly important role in the media sector. The wide use of smartphones and the successful application of new media technology are driving the convergence of offline media and online mobile Internet. Outdoor media has now marched into the 2.0 era with the breakout in the application of the O2O model.
Outdoor media is now the second most popular advertising medium
Construction of new public facilities, railway lines, as well as entertainment and leisure establishments continued apace across China over the last decade, and there is no indication that this trend will abate in the future. It is estimated that the government’s investment in rail transit may exceed 1 trillion RMB (approx. US$ 163 billion) by 2020. As more and more people partake in leisure activities as well as travel more within China, and the frequency and duration of those activities increases significantly, the commercial value of outdoor advertising media will only become even more pronounced.
The outdoor media resources of major media firms, including Balintimes Media Group, Towona Corporation, Focus Media, and AirMedia accounted for a large portion of the entire outdoor media market. Balintimes Media Group has deployed a comprehensive media network across many areas including on buses, along the railways, in cinemas and airports, and on tour boats in 2012, since first entering the market with signage in and on buses in 1997.
According to The 2013 Blue Book on development trends in China’s outdoor media sector, revenue across China’s outdoor advertising sector grew from 2002 to 2012. Outdoor advertising moved into second place behind television in terms of placements in 2012 with overall placements increasing 10 to 15 percent compared to the prior year. The growth rate was substantially higher than those for traditional television, newspapers and magazines.
Convergence between offline and online media
With the rapid changes in smartphones, the development of 3G and 4G wireless networks, the increase in time spent engaging in outdoor activities and the generally faster pace of life among China’s urban population, the “era of fragmentation” has arrived. The 32nd China Internet Development Statistics Report released by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) shows that as of the end of June 2013, China’s mobile phone internet users had reached 464 million, representing an increase of 43.79 million compared with the numbers at the end of 2012. Mobile Internet penetration among the Internet user group increased to 78.5 percent, up 4.0 percentage points since the end of 2012. With the rapid growth in the number of mobile users, mobile Internet has gradually taken on the leading role in how the Internet is accessed and has become the major medium through which the “era of fragmentation” has arrived.
While the majority of media firms took a wait-and-see attitude to the commercial value of new media, Balintimes Media Group not only accelerated the expansion of traditional outdoor media, but also gradually turned its strategic focus to the mobile Internet, in a move to maximize its economic value as the country enters the era of fragmentation.
In November 2011, Balintimes Media Group put “media convergence” into action and kicked off its O2O media strategy. In March 2012, the mobile Internet information platform Shanlink formally went online and in August of the same year, the “ShanLe living circle” marketing model was created around Balintimes’ “Shanpai” app as the app was rolled out. Balintimes Media Group formed an O2O closed loop through the outdoor advertisement and mobile Internet multi-screen promotion model. At the same time, Balintimes’ proprietary entertainment interactive and game promotion platforms were rapidly put into “actual combat” operation. Several famous brands including COFCO, L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Microsoft and Tencent, among others, have conducted brand promotion through Balintimes’ O2O marketing model.
The interactive entertainment platform combines traditional outdoor media and mobile Internet as well as a visual search tool in a move to provide the entertainment sharing capabilities, multi-screen interactivity and an uninterrupted online presence. The platform covers production, promotion, release, and availability for downloading of films as well as television programs developed for both traditional and online broadcast, support for live concerts and other live events as well as artist packaging and promotion, truly achieving a comprehensive marketing model from offline to online.
The game promotion platform also follows the creative media convergence pattern. The platform can enhance the value of the products offered by Balintimes’ partners as well as the creativity behind those products in the eyes of the targeted audience. While for the partners themselves, it allows for bundled selling as a result of enhanced value achieved through media convergence. In July 2013, Baidu, China’s most popular search engine, released its game of the year “Heroes.” In order to achieve the monthly revenue goal of 30 million RMB (approx. US$4.89 million), Baidu collaborated with Balintimes’ game promotion platform in a move to publicize “Heroes,” launching a multitude of campaigns including a large-scale placement of advertisements throughout the Beijing and Guangzhou subway systems, a barrage of illuminated advertisements throughout the airports of seven cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chongqing as well as an intensive advertising campaign via large-size digital screens in more than 300 Wanda International movie theatres. In addition, the game was recommended in a column in a prime position on the mobile Internet information platform Shanlink is available through a multiple of venues including on buses, in airports, in cruise terminals, in convenience stores and in movie theatres, as well as on Balintimes’ apps platform. From offline to online, the multi-pronged program reached consumers simultaneously through many channels, significantly lifting Baidu’s brand value and profitability.
Linking large outdoor screens to the small screen on a mobile device to achieve true O2O
Outdoor media is the only advertising medium in urban areas that can serve as the end point in the O2O loop. The wide use of smart phones accelerated the integration of new technologies with new media aspects of outdoor advertising, driving the linkage between large outdoor screens and the small screen on a mobile device and creating a new revenue source across the outdoor advertising market. Accordingly, going digital becomes the inevitable next step for any outdoor media outfit.
As the “era of fragmentation” further deepens the convergence of traditional media and the Internet, a real opportunity is presented for the firms that are willing to take the plunge and be early adopters of these new forms of communications and master the technologies that will allow them to take advantage of this convergence. Relying on O2O media strategies to integrate offline and online media in an effective way and meet the multi-channel integration demand of advertising, Balintimes helps clients achieve more targeted and higher value advertisement placement. Its comprehensive media network can reach 40 million people while they are outdoors and is highly influential on this target audience.
Outdoor media has evolved from simple static images, illuminated signs and signs in neon lights, to what is today an interactive message on an LED display screen, flat and two-dimensional bar codes, ads activated by heat sensors, outdoor spaces especially conceived for having the full experience of the ad as well as the O2O bundling marketing model that combines large outdoor screens and the small screen on a mobile device, among others. Combining these novel methods of communications with the large advertising opportunities provided in large outdoor spaces removes the limitations imposed by traditional outdoor advertising, enabling target audiences to truly experience what the brand has to offer and the value behind the product, successfully bring a physical reality to the online experience through the companion offline experience. By moving from being simply a visual showcase to an interactive experience for the consumer, Chinese outdoor media may be the first worldwide to enter outdoor media’s 2.0 era.
SOURCE Digital Marketing