This month we welcome Oliver Roydhouse, Managing Director, Inlink Media, Melbourne, Australia.
- Please give us a little history about the company and who owns it.
We have been operating for 11 years in Australia. We started installing screens in office tower elevators back in 2001 and have since diversified into CBD cafés, CBD car parks, fitness centres and airport lounges. By CBD, we mean Central Business District. We have also diversified our product offering beyond screens into Wi-Fi, mobile apps and experiential services. We are backed by high net worth private investors.
- I notice that you claim to be the largest and fastest-growing DOOH companies in Australia. Can you please give us some figures that back up that claim?
We have over 2,000 digital displays installed in more that than 600 locations across five environmental verticals. We have more displays, locations and verticals than any other DOOH player in Australia. Moreover, we are installing new locations every single business day.
- Please explain what you mean when you say ‘Captive Moments’ with CBT Professionals.
Captive Moments are unique short dwell time spaces where the audience is actively interested and the message is not fighting for attention; be it waiting for an elevator, riding in an elevator, waiting for a coffee, seeking a distraction in between sets at the gym or waiting for a plane.
To make this work best we also deliver content on our screens that is current, relevant and useful in the context of the environment.
Traditional out-of-home media (such as billboards on roadsides, in shopping centres or in airports), has a relatively low and short period of engagement – you drive or walk past it in a second and you don’t stop to engage. Our media is different. There is content. There is dwell time. There is engagement. It’s captive. It can’t be missed.
- In North America, we are seeing companies concentrating to vertical categories. However, you offer networks in fitness centres, cafes, car parks, office buildings and airport lounges. Are they all profitable? Have you begun to think of concentrating on certain verticals that are the most lucrative for you.? Why or why not?
We, too, have seen the trend towards players concentrating on environmental verticals. Instead, we are focusing on a single audience vertical, being CBD professionals. We are building networks that engage them as they go about their daily lives. For us, audience comes first, environment comes second and technology comes third.
- Are all your products digital or do you also offer static posters, experiential media, promotions, or more?
All our products are digital although we do offer supplemental experiential events and promotional services like product sampling.
- What software do you use behind your networks for content management? Why?
We built all our software in-house. We did this because good software wasn’t available 10 years ago. We tried some third party software but it let us down so we built our own. We would never do that again if we started the business today, but we are glad now that we made the investment.
- I notice that you subscribe to Nielsen’s ‘Clear Decision’ research for audience behavior and insight of what consumers see and do. What other research do you offer clients?
We have provided deep behavioural audience insights via a panel of 20,000+ consumers in partnership with Nielsen. We also provide extensive audience measurement research including traffic counting with Nielsen and eye tracking studies with Access Testing. In addition to this, we also deliver custom research studies for key clients including pre- and post-recall and specific industry or campaign insights. In short, we invest a lot in research.
- Do you use any form of automated audience measurement software (eg. Quividi, etc)
No, we don’t, although we have played around with a few things. We believe ‘old school’ traffic counting, traffic modeling and eye tracking studies deliver the best audience measurement solution for our clients. That is the industry standard approach in Australia.
- You recently partnered with eCoffeeCard. How does that work? And is it the first partnership for Inlink?
The eCoffeeCard mobile application was a very neat fit with our café network. It’s effectively a café loyalty card on your mobile phone with advertising sponsorship integrated. It’s very popular as it does away with the old paper-based loyalty cards. It’s our first partnership in the mobile space and we have a revenue share arrangement in place.
- Your company is very active in sponsoring the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and the Ian Potter Museum of Art. What caused you to choose these three to support?
These arts organizations are a neat fit with CBD professional culture and city life, which represent the foundations of our strategy. Moreover, we jointly sponsor these organizations with our key clients and partners.
- You recently added Jetts Fitness with its 150 locations and Virgin Australia Airport Lounge to your collection of networks. Are they the first for you in their respective fields?
These are our first partnerships in the Lounge and Fitness space. They fit neatly into our proposition as they reach professionals going to the gym before or after work and when they are traveling for business. For example, 82% of our lounge audience is traveling for business purposes.
- Do you offer free WiFi in all your locations? Why or why not? Do you sell it as part of a network package?
We deliver free Wi-Fi across all suitable locations including office tower lobbies, cafes, fitness centres and lounges. But we don’t deliver it to all locations. About half of our locations are Wi-Fi-enabled to date.
- What do you feel is the biggest challenge for network operators in Australia?
Scale. Media buyers are increasingly time-poor and there are more media options for them to consider every day. You have to get big and bigger to remain relevant.
- Tell us a bit out your growth strategy? Will you be expanding beyond Australia? In what verticals do you foresee major growth?
We have a very simply strategy. Grow our audience of CBD professionals and get better at engaging them as they go about their daily lives. We are guided by our mantra of Captive Moments in City Life. We will continue to invest in research and innovation. And we’ll have fun along the way. That’s the plan and it’s working very well for us.
We don’t currently intend to expand beyond Australia as we have lots of opportunity here and still lots of work to do.
- Is there an opportunity for foreign DOOH networks to establish in Australia? In what sectors, if so?
There aren’t many greenfield opportunities as the market is fairly mature down here and all the usual DOOH environments have operators in them. In fact, if anything, some consolidation needs to happen. We do, however, see opportunities for foreign DOOH network operators to collaborate with Australian operators to share technology, knowledge and ideas. We are more advanced down here in certain areas than other markets and less advanced in others. The same applies for other foreign DOOH markets, so there are opportunities for collaboration not being realized.
- Forecast for us what the DOOH industry will be like in 2015 in Australia and globally.
DOOH networks will consolidate to deliver scale. They will consolidate increasingly around audience relevance rather than physical environments.
New mobile technology such as NFC will start to transform consumer interaction with DOOH, creating new challenges and opportunities around content and cross platform campaign integration. There will be no ‘year of the mobile’ but rather a gradual evolution towards increased mobile/DOOH campaign integration.
Targeting, measurement and trading will become more sophisticated and this will drive more accountability. This will begin the process of a reevaluation of the value of DOOH. There will be winners and losers in this but overall the industry will benefit as it matures like all other media have.