Publicis Media Brings #OOH Buying In-House

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Publicis Media has brought all of its Out of Home buying in-house, ending an almost 27 year relationship with Dentsu’s Posterscope

Pannie Hopper, head of out-of-home at PMX, Publicis Media’s trading arm, will now be in charge of a core OOH planning and investment team that includes the Publicis media agencies Starcom, Spark Foundry and Zenith. He said “We have always taken an innovative approach for delivering OOH planning solutions within our agencies. The integration of our full OOH services has been 18 months in the making and means that we now have the capability and a robust framework to deliver end-to-end, location-based media solutions for our clients.”

This move has been fully expected for some time and brings out of home advertising into line with Publicis’s other media services, allowing it to pool data, insight, commerce and content in one place.

Publicis Media UK chief executive Sue Frogley was quoted as saying “By completing our integration journey, we now have the opportunity to evolve our offering further and make location-based marketing more connected with the strategies in place for our clients.”

Omnicom and Havas now remain the only major ad networks that use external agencies for the bulk of their out of home media-buying and of course they mainly use Talon. WPP and Interpublic Groupe buy through their respective in-house agencies, Kinetic and Rapport.

The move spells the end for Meridian Outdoor, a 50% owned joint venture originally set up by ZenithOptimedia (now Zenith, part of Publicis) and Posterscope back in 1994. Meridian Outdoor began providing specialist outdoor planning resources to Zenith, Equinox, Saatchi & Saatchi and Bates UK and over time, it began outdoor media for then indie agency Walker Media (later acquired by Publicis and now part of Spark Foundry) and eventually for all Publicis agencies.

A source familiar with Meridian said Publicis’ move to bring OOH media buying in-house had been mooted for some time. Continuing to outsource it was considered no longer tenable at a time of significant cost pressures on the business amid the pandemic and economic downturn.

The business was running a £53,000 operating loss on revenues of £2.69m (up 68% year on year), according to its latest Companies House filings for 2018.

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