OOH – Advertisers’ concern for the future of the outdoor market goes public

In an open letter to the out-of-home sector recently, a group of advertisers went public with a series of concerns about the sector’s future.

Under the banner of the ISBA Media Leaders group – which includes the likes of Vodafone, Nationwide, Tesco, L’Oreal, Samsung and HSBC UK – five areas were identified, including worries about the demise of classic paper billboards; reach outside of the main UK conurbations; the issue of reduced viewability of digital screens; and – of course – a reappraisal of funding for Outsmart, the marketing body that, just as it was gaining momentum, was stripped of its CEO and chairman and effectively neutered.

We can also see some of these issues coming from the specialist OOH agencies, who have called for a cautious rethink about the seemingly unstoppable move towards digital at the expense of well performing static poster sites.  Meanwhile, however, media owners lament rising rents and poor (and diminishing) rental revenues from static panels and argue they’re not economical to maintain. 

Ultimately supply and demand are what drives most media markets and whilst digital formats are in high demand it makes sense that the higher quality sites are adapted to digital to capitalise on revenue.

Currently if you wish to book a truly national campaign it would require multiple formats and the use of both static and digital sites.

Our role as a media agency is to provide recommendations to the formats/timing/weights that deliver the most effective campaign based on the specific target audience, market conditions and the campaign delivery objectives.  It is also key to understand OOH’s role within the overall media mix.  

The contractors really need to work together as an industry not to only drive innovation and yield, but also to promote OOH as a whole and to effectively answer the weakness/negativity of the media whilst in the transitional phase. The contractors should also be pushing to establish a governing body:  I believe TV’s Thinkbox is the type of model they should be looking to emulate.

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