Yesterday it was reported that ScreenFX is looking for a third party to undertake media sales across its own networks. This is an about face to recent press on them trying to sell off their Shopping Mall network (in order that they could focus on TrainFX).
The cynic in me would say that they failed to find a buyer or at the very least finally figured out what business they are in or should be in (of which more later).
I think the story is significant but not exactly in the way that ScreenFX and their adviser, Trinity Media Services are trying to ‘spin’ it.
Author: Arif Durrani
Published: 31 July 2007 12:00
ScreenFX opens sales pitch
ScreenFX, the digital outdoor advertising company which specialises in shopping centre sites, is opening a pitch for its sales business.
The new partner will be responsible for securing advertising revenues
from agencies and poster specialists in a move set to raise the profile
of the digital outdoor sector.
Eight companies, including outdoor giants JCDecaux, Clear Channel, CBS
Outdoor and Titan, have been invited to pitch.
ScreenFX currently has agreements with 53 retail areas in the UK. The
tender process is being handled by the former corporate development
director of Maiden, Francis Goodwin.
Goodwin, now managing director of Trinity Media Services, said: “This is
an extremely significant development for the mall sector of the outdoor
advertising market. ScreenFX has digital rights to the best property
portfolio in the UK including nine of the top twenty malls.
“It has pioneered this sector in the UK and with the addition of an
established sales partner. I predict this will be the fastest growing
sector in outdoor advertising over the next decade.”
In the last few months, BabyTV and the The Life Channel both brought their national media sales in-house and took it away from ScreenFX. When I first announced this, Can Media (the owners of The Life Channel) rushed out a press release the next day to say that the ‘split’ was amicable. I have no reason to believe this was NOT the case, in fact my July DOOHAN contains a ‘clarification’ on Can Media’s National Sales strategy as it was subsequently described to me – bottom line it makes a lot of business sense.
However, with these two networks gone from ScreenFX’s 3rd party portfolio, the only network left is MIS’s Community Channel, formerly known as SubPostmasterTV – albeit the largest screen network in the UK (almost twice the size of number 2 on the list).
David Ravenscroft, CEO of MIS told me today, and I quote “we no longer have a formal agreement with ScreenFX though they continue to source National Advertising Campaigns on a case by case basis. We are currently reviewing how we source National Advertising”
I think several things have happened here: –
- ScreenFX failed to find a buyer for their Mall network (their first attempt at an exit strategy / turnaround)
- ScreenFX finally realised that their media sales function was just not large enough to compete with the big boys
- ScreenFX finally realised that their ACTUAL assets are the agreements they have in place with the landlords, property developers, Transport and Mall owners
Realising this last point is NOT insignificant. It means that they can continue the slimming down of their operations: –
- They have actually closed down their London Office
- I believe that all of the POPtv folks who came on board when POPtv was acquired in 2006 have now left)
- At least half a dozen others have gone from various parts of the business in the last few months.
If they can leverage their existing “media rights contracts” (undoubtedly the asset of the business) and let someone else bigger focus on the media sales it will do well for their revenue and hopefully their stock price (Screen FX Plc ORD GBP0.001 (SFX)).
I would be surprised if any of those mentioned in the article (JCDecaux, Clear Channel, CBS Outdoor, Titan) are ACTUALLY that interested in winning the business however and would expect to see a smaller “Poster Specialist” win the business.
I would like to see Avanti Screenmedia try to win the business. Combining National Media Sales for MallFX with their own Shopping Mall network would make a lot of business sense.
Avanti Screenmedia are another company that needs a little focus. They have got a great new CEO on board, someone with a really good media background – time I think for them to get out of the leisure sector (Magnetic and MVN) and focus on their other networks.