Outdoor Digital Growth

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

I am often asked for the literary equivalent of ‘sound-bites’ on our industry vertical; who’s doing well, what is the future for digital out of home etc.

MediaZest were the last to use one of my quotes in their interim results on AIM.

Recently I was asked for a sound bite on “Outdoor Digital Growth” and so I thought I would share some of them with you here.

In the UK we are in the enviable position, compared with the rest of Europe, of having a larger number of Digital Out of Home Advertising networks (i.e those in DOOHAN). These we feel are the backbone of the digital signage industry and will drive growth quicker than any other business / deployment model.

It’s worthwhile taking a second to look at network types. Cleverdis in their “Out of Home Digital Media SmartReport” distinguish between three different types of networks: –

  1. Self Financed
  2. Financed Through Advertising
  3. Mixed

iSuppli Corporation agree on the three types but label them slightly differently; as Branding, Advertising Only and Hybrid.

The total figures in DOOHAN, comprising networks, numbers 2 and 3 above, are impressive: –

“There are 83 networks, with 121,841 screens in 66,539 venues delivering a staggering monthly footfall of 349, 454,784”

What’s great for our industry at the moment is that the share of outdoor advertising is growing AND the share of digital outdoor inside that sector is growing as well.

According to AC Nielsen Outdoor Advertising accounts for almost 5% of the total advertising spend in most countries – that’s $17 billion committed each year worldwide, compared with $120 billion for TV.

The Strategy Institute also says “that within five years marketers will shift up to $40 billion of media spending from traditional to new media including digital OOH”.

Outdoor is still the fastest growing traditional advertising medium all over Europe

On-line is obviously the fastest by a long way – hence the ‘traditional’ in that sound bite!

The digital share of outdoor is growing, according to both the Outdoor Advertising Association (OAA) in the UK and the Media Planners.

Published OAA figures show: –

  • 2003 £10.8m 1.4% share of all outdoor
  • 2004 £19.6m 2.3% share of all outdoor
  • 2006 £29.7m 3.2% share of all outdoor

And they also predicted that it will be

  • 2010 £100.0m 8.9% share of all outdoor
  • 2016 £187.0m 11.8% share of all outdoor

James Davies at media planner / buyer, Posterscope / Hyperspace agrees in general with these figures, seeing in 2007, £35M and in 2008, £50m of digital out of home advertising spend.

My only word of caution, which is music to the ears of market research and the automated audience measurement folks alike, is from the “Survey of National Advertisers’ View of Out of Home (OOH) Advertising” published in November 2005 by the US Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement.

In that report they say, and I quote…

“the real value for Out of Home advertising lies in its ability to deliver 21st century metrics to advertisers and their agencies as part of a sustained drive to increase the accountability for billions in advertising investments”.

The industry needs to listen to that advice. Just think what pay per click has done for Google, Yahoo and the online advertising people in general.

Digital Out of Home will be big business if the industry honestly measures its own effectiveness and if it ‘sings from the same hymn sheet’ whilst clearly communicating the benefits.

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