Collaborate Or Lose The Advantage: How To Secure Australia’s OOH Future

Collaborate Or Lose The Advantage: How To Secure Australia’s OOH Future
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In this guest post, Bryan Magee (pictured below), national managing director at Posterscope Australia, warns that the local out-of-home (OOH) industry could be about to make one of the biggest errors of all time unless it increases its collaborative efforts.

Bryan Magee

It’s been a busy time in the world of out of OOH. Australia’s industry has witnessed two of the biggest media transactions ever to take place – in the same week, no less. Totalling almost $2 billion, the proposed acquisitions by JCDecaux of APN Outdoor and oOh!media of Adshel demonstrate that the OOH industry locally is in fine health with plenty of reasons for optimism.

Last month, I was lucky enough to attend FEPE, the annual global OOH conference attended by delegates from 40 markets. I left the conference with a similar optimism around what a great opportunity the OOH industry has, particularly in Australia, where we are leading the world in many areas.

However, we are also facing some significant challenges where unless we collaborate more as an industry, we risk losing the advantage.

If we are to maintain the growth that exists in a market that is delivering modest overall growth, then OOH needs to compete better with TV and digital. Dentsu Aegis Network’s annual ad spend report estimates year-on-year growth of seven per cent for OOH, with SMI reporting 15 per cent growth in the January to May period this year. To be successful, we need to overcome three main issues: deliver digital OOH measurement (quickly), make buying easier through automation, and deliver independent third-party verification of campaign delivery.

Globally, everyone is facing the same challenges, and the frightening thing is that both buy and sell sides – agencies and suppliers – are investing vast budgets that are trying to solve the same problems. The issue is that they could be building technology solutions that may not be compatible with each other.

As an industry, we frequently comment on how we could learn from the mistakes made by online advertising, but we could be about to make one of the biggest errors of all time unless advertisers, agencies and OOH suppliers collaborate more, and at greater speed.

The OOH industry is blessed with passionate and visionary leaders supported by the Outdoor Media Association (OMA).

We have engaged clients who believe in the power of outdoor advertising, and an audience that is growing each year (1.7 per cent in 2017, according to the ABS), yet we can’t come together quickly enough to solve these difficult but essential challenges. These are problems that when fixed, will not only help clients, but also protect and drive revenue growth.

Data and measurement are key challenges for the global OOH industry. In markets such as the US & the UK, their OOH audience measurement equivalents (Geopath and Route) are jointly funded by both buy and sell side, which gives everyone a say, plus access to the data. This doesn’t happen in Australia. This isn’t undervaluing the great work that the OMA has done and continues to deliver. I’m simply suggesting that more hands (along with investment) could help drive faster change, with a more favourable outcome that benefits all.

In the UK, buyers and sellers have also agreed on a common set of standards (IAB OpenDirect Standards have been adapted for OOH) for industry data entry and extraction, which makes building individual planning and automation solutions possible, as the site and billing data is standardised, saving hundreds of hours and millions of pounds of development work.

As a specialist in OOH media, Posterscope and our agency peers all need to play an active role in setting the agenda with our colleagues from the sales side. We have the talent and enthusiasm to collaborate for the good of our clients and to keep driving our great channel forward.

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