Ten years ago investors expected the digital signage industry to be the next gold rush; they were all wrong.
When an injury forced Shriranga Sudhakara to retire from professional tennis, unimaginable was the new direction life would take. In April 2007, at 27, he started Vyoma Media.
From his signature hairstyle to his enthused speech, Sudhakara is every bit the genius inventor and passionate artist. “Here was the opportunity to transform the way advertisements were consumed. Technology and advertising is the marriage of science and art,” a union which always excited him.
Ever been to a railway station? You were most likely lured to buy a refreshing soda because by an ad you saw playing on one of Vyoma’s own intelligent digital screens.
During 2007 – 08, investors expected the digital signage industry would revolutionize how content was consumed in India. Close to a dozen companies raised between $5 and 10 million dollars. Unfortunately, none of them lived up to expectations. By comparison, Vyoma with its smaller funds was an exception. “We have shown that it is possible to create a profitable venture and have single handily changed the perception of this industry,” says Sudhakara.
Vyoma has been growing at almost 100 per cent for the past three years and will maintain this rate this year too. They have over 2,000 displays programmed in-house and spread over 250 cities and towns in India. Leading brands across multiple sectors like FMCG, automobile, and telecom work with Vyoma.
The game changed for Vyoma when they signed up as the exclusive partner for digital displays with the Indian Railways. For the past decade or so Vyoma Technologies has been present at 350 railway stations across 16 states.
There are perhaps ten serious players in the game. Times OOH and JCDecaux are two of the bigger ones. It only seems inevitable that one of these would wrench away Vyoma’s biggest bread winner. Sudhakara seems unperturbed. “We are a digital first company. The others are traditional OOH companies trying to catch up. There is a massive mindset difference between digital and traditional approaches, and we are miles ahead.”
In 2015, Sudhakara raised funding from Catamaran Ventures. “We will expand into other transportation verticals [besides railways]. In 2-3 years, 70 per cent of our revenue will come from these new verticals.”
Cloud data storage at low costs gives them a big advantage against these competitors according to Sudhakara. Vyoma stores all their data in the cloud. This infinite, cost effective storage capability will give clients like Maruti or HLL, the ability to program ads or any content to appear on screens in real time and target any demographic they desire.
To top it all off, Vyoma clients get access to RTM – Real Time Monitoring. It’s a proprietary software developed by Vyoma for their clients to measure and monitor the effectiveness of each ad campaign they run.
The Indian OOH (Out-of-Home) advertising industry is currently worth Rs 3000 crores and growing at 12 per cent. Digital OOH will be the star performer in this story of growth.
Vyoma Technologies has been a patient visionary of India’s digital signage industry and shows us how to stick it out during tough times. Sudhakara is confident the golden era of digitally integrated adtech is not far off. “Digital OOH is going to explode in India and our legacy as visionaries is that we pioneered the path to success before anyone else.”Read More