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Would consolidation in outdoor benefit advertisers?

We were asked by Media Week to comment in their regular “Off the Fence” [1] column and it was published this week.

I have reproduced the article below here in its entirety for those who are not Brand Republic / Media Week subscribers (you ought to be!!!!)

QUESTION: Would consolidation in outdoor benefit advertisers?

YES – Glen Wilson, group deputy managing director Posterscope

Consolidation in ownership or sales representation continues to encourage investment in the medium. That will drive the innovation and improved quality of product that advertisers want. In relative terms, the outdoor industry is investing more in itself than any other media. It would be hard to see major media owners doing this without the confidence of market share.

Were there an imbalance of power between sellers and buyers then consolidation might restrict advertiser choice, but there’s not.

YES – Adrian Cotterill co-founder of Daily Digital Out Of Here and WeAreON

Outdoor consolidation would offer the agencies and poster specialists fewer buying points and would vastly improve the existing estates. It would also address a serious issue – that of perceived city, town and roadside “visual clutter”. I would also expect to see even more digital display faces to appear – directly as a result of the reduction in the number of advertising hoardings.

One result of consolidation is improved campaign quality for advertisers plus better measurement and more industry innovation.

NO – Erica Taylor, group buying director, Starcom MediaVest Group

Outdoor consolidation won’t make a huge difference, as the majority share of most campaigns are delivered through the five major contractors – Clear Channel, CBS, JCDecaux, Titan and Primesight. For advertisers, it is the number of sites and the multiple formats that the larger contractors can offer that is key.

Whether the smaller contractors exist in their own right or are part of bigger players does not really matter as long as the best solutions are delivered for clients.

NO – Tracey Stern managing partner Universal McCann

Outdoor consolidation would potentially impact on trading. Such a move could take away some of the competitive edge within the industry and be more aggressively managed from a trading perspective. On a positive note, however, any move that would encourage greater investment into the sector is good for the industry and benefits advertisers, agencies and specialists alike.

BTW, Yes we spotted the TYPO and are seriously thinking about setting up a couple of new enterprises – “Daily Digital Get Me Out Of Here” being the most popular around the office at the moment!!!