This Year’s ‘Open Letter From abc media’

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Yearly habits like this are particularly heart warming – following on from Jonathan Southcombe’s open letter to us in 2008, here’s another one for 2009…

Dear Adrian

This time last year we gave your excellent blog an update on the progress of abc media group in 2007. I thought it might be useful to do the same for 2008.

We have continued to progress and grow and have seen a clear shift in credibility for retail and DOOH media. We think it’s a very encouraging picture, particularly in comparison to the general media outlook.

abc media sales revenue grew by 30% in 2008, making it another record year. This was achieved consistently throughout the year, including the final quarter. The measurability of retail media seems to be helping it to buck the media trend.

We managed to win or re-new contracts with The Co-operative Group, Spar, WHSmith and Martin McColl. We are very confident of extending the number of retail clients both in the UK and internationally in 2009. We booked all of the major FMCG brands and encouragingly increased media agency bookings by 75%. Digital retail media is now on the media agency agenda. We also booked a record number of retail media campaigns, up 25% on 2007.

Where possible we continue to use EPOS sales and research data to analyse campaigns and demand for this information has increased three-fold. We are working with commercial partners to expand this further.

In July we launched The new Co-operative Media Centre (CMC) – an on-line retail media portal to research, plan and book retail media within all the Co-operative Divisions. Over 120 brands and agencies attended the launches in London and Manchester. We believe we have created the UK’s leading retail media centre. We now have over 500 regular users and bookings are significantly up on 2007. As you recently reported, The Co-operative have the largest digital network in Europe.

We followed CMC up by launching Europe’s first ever multi-retailer retail media on-line planning site – 70 brands, agencies and retailers attended our launch at The Charlotte Street Hotel in October. It makes researching, planning and booking retail media just as easy as other established media channels. It was a major investment and a big step in retail media credibility.

In November we launched a new retail media content agency – Alphabet London. We were already creating digital and POS content for major brands such as PepsiCo, Unilever and Coca-Cola and we will be expanding this in 2009. The creative quality of retail media and digital content has been inconsistent but will improve quickly and we intend to be at the forefront based on our unique insight into what actually delivers results. Over Christmas Alphabet London even created political adverts for ‘The Independent’.

We have tried to spread the retail and digital media message and have spoken at various POPAI events, ‘Interactive Marketing’ and at ‘IGD category management’. We will also be speaking at the Retail Business Show and the Amsterdam DOOH conference in the coming weeks.

Everyone involved in retail and DOOH media seems to be working hard to give credibility and coverage to these growing channels and we will continue to support this objective. By working together, we believe that in 2009 retail media can become a truly established media channel that delivers results.

All of us at abc media group are looking forward to 2009. We know budgets will be tight and marketers cautious but we remain confident that a focus on results will give us another record year!

Wishing you and all your subscribers a prosperous New Year.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Southcombe

Chief Executive


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