Tractor-powered DOOH solutions show advertisers the light at the end of the load shedding tunnel

Out-of-home media – especially digital out-of-home (DOOH) media – has seen thousands of screens across the country black out when load shedding kicks in. In response, one of the major media owners of South Africa, Tractor Outdoor, has designed a new power-backed solution to keep screens on, meeting the needs of its advertisers.

Mali Motsumi-Garrido, sales director at Tractor Outdoor, explains that Tractor is rolling out this solution in two phases, starting at the end of June.

“Our first step is to provide full grid backup on battery power so that our displays can still operate in the event of load shedding. This solution is ‘solar-ready’, allowing solar technologies to be integrated into phase two.”

Motsumi-Garrido, says the second phase will involve the large-scale deployment of solar-powered solutions, integrated in key sites. “These will be connected to solar power as well as other alternative energy sources where available.

“Not only will this allow us to continue delivering our customers’ campaigns uninterrupted, but it will also bring us closer to our sustainability goals,” she explains, adding that Tractor aims to become net zero in the near future. “We know it’s a daunting task, but we’ve never been content to maintain the status quo. Our vision has always been to push the boundaries in our quest for fundamental change for the good, and we see offloading not as a problem, but as a catalyst for change.

The ongoing energy crisis in South Africa has impacted all types of electronic media, and the media industry has once again had to pivot – that pandemic buzzword – to retain its audience.

Television, as a medium, has seen viewers plummet at the speed of – ahem – light. In June 2022, when load shedding began to escalate, television ratings were down 34% in the first week of July 2022 compared to the same period the year before. Digital media has also been hit hard; online channels have seen their viewership decline due to people running out of battery, trying to save power or losing connectivity during blackout windows.

Rather than thinking outside the box, media owners, buyers, planners, and strategists have had to think “off the grid,” and digital media out of home (DOOH) is no exception.

However, Motsumi-Garrido says DOOH is different from other electronic channels in that it doesn’t necessarily lose viewership. “Unlike the 2020 lockdown, outdoor audiences are still on the go and in many cases these audiences are being held captive even longer due to load shedding (think commuters stuck in traffic exacerbated by the turning off of traffic lights ).

“Where DOOH is affected is in its looping campaigns: advertisers buy a specific number of ad plays, and when the power goes out, an ad can’t run, and media owners integrate usually a buffer to achieve this.”

Motsumi-Garrido adds that Tractor-assisted solutions are just one way the media owner is tackling the problem of offloading. It also offers buyers optimized packages, which guarantee an impression-based purchase.

“This means we can commit to delivering a number of impressions to clients, depending on their campaign objectives and localization requirements. In addition, customers can define the criteria for showing their campaigns, for example during peak hours or when the temperature drops or spikes (ideal for seasonal products such as ice cream or hot chocolate).

“Our optimized plans are charged based on impressions (the number of people exposed to screens), which means that when they’re not playing, customers don’t pay.

“Additionally, our programmatic capabilities allow for in-depth reporting, allowing us to be fully transparent with our clients by showing them exactly when their ads ran. This way we can continue to show impact and return. on investment.

Motsumi-Garrido concludes by saying that OOH has always been resilient and quick to adapt to environmental conditions. “The problem of load shedding is something we set out to address, and we are extremely excited to bring our powered solutions to market.

“We have always invested in the forefront, integrating world-class systems and technologies into our business operations so that we can continue to deliver great value to our customers.

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