After All, It’s Just PCs And Screens

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Why is it do you think that the traditional OOH folks seem to believe that they don’t need a skilled engineering, technology or digital workforce?

Hot on the heels of CBS Outdoor letting a lot of their good engineering folks go in the UK over the last 6 months, news reaches us that Clear Channel have been and are doing very much the same.

Michael Hudes, former Global Director of Digital Media at Clear Channel Outdoor left last July 2008 to join Mediabrands (part of the Interpublic Group) and if that wasn’t bad enough it now appears that Michael Scott (formerly Technology Director at Clear Channel Outdoor International) has been made redundant and will be leaving the company later this week.

Both of course were instrumental in the rollout of digital outdoor globally at Clear Channel.

A Clear Channel spokesperson told us “Now, in the US and other markets worldwide, Clear Channel has the requisite knowledge and experience to push forward digital initiatives within local markets and business units and learn from early adopters within the business”

Umm? That’s right, they know everything!!!

To be fair to Clear Channel they have demonstrated a long-term, global commitment to the development of digital out-of-home spanning digital display faces in the US (now something like 300 digital roadside billboards), UK, Spain, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland and France.

They have been a good innovator of multiple formats such as roadside billboards, spectacular displays in Times Square and Piccadilly Circus, street furniture, airports, shopping malls and point-of-sale and we understand that 2009 will see more digital rollouts in Madrid, the Stockholm Metro in Sweden and of course the continued expansion of the digital mall offering in the UK in partnership with VMG.

Having said that, you know our opinion on hiring and keeping the best people, so getting rid of good people makes no sense whatsoever. For any OOH company at the moment, not having specialists on hand to help you with a digital strategy (you cannot for example just ‘set this in stone’ and leave it alone) is madness.

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