oOh!media's Brendon Cook says data and machine learning will transform out of home

By Chris Pash | 17 May 2019
Brendon Cook

Brendon Cook, the CEO of oOh!media, has outlined his out of home advertising group's strategy, pointing to technology, including machine learning, to transform the way media is transacted. 

He told shareholders at the AGM in Sydney he expects revenue growth will flow through to earnings more strongly in future years.

This will be helped by the full integration of the Commute business, formerly Adshel, and with the leverage of additional strategic capabilities, such as the oOh! Data Suite.

OOh!media acquired Adshel last year for $570 million. In September Ooh!Media completed the Adshel rebrand, renaming the out of home (OOH) furniture assets Commute by oOh!

The company's goal is to achieve 10% of the total media pie for out of home.

OOh!media's strategy in a slide presented to the AGM:
Ooh!Media strategy slide 2019 agm

oOh!Media yesterday told the market, which had been expecting a soft quarter, of a pickup in bookings post national election.

The company's shares closed 5.3% higher at $3.75. 

In his presentation to the AGM, Cook highlighted digital transformation. Digital revenue for oOh!media increased 27% to $288.1 million last year.

"oOh! now has ownership of all the required components to lead the market and drive continued category growth – multiple formats and reach, digital capability, creative and content, and audience data," he told the AGM.

"To deliver this capability at speed and scale to capture additional advertiser revenue, we need to use technology to produce data-informed responses to briefs at speed, to increase our ability to deliver and capture those advertising revenues that require fast campaign deployment, and to deliver the rapidly increasing volumes of display advertising that underpins revenue growth cost efficiently.

"The investment we are making in building our technology platform ensures that oOh! is ahead of the curve of an industry that is changing rapidly." 

Cook says the way media is booked and placed, created and contextualised, will become fully automated and driven by data. 

Jack Myers, founder of Media Village in New York, predicts that up to 95% of all media transactions will be informed by machine intelligence within the next five years and that 65% of all transactions will be automated.

Andy Lark from Group Lark suggests this technological change could impact half to three-quarters of jobs in media and digital media buying teams.

"This pace of technological change clearly has significant implications for the OOH sector," says Cook.

"At oOh! we saw this change coming which is why we started the process two years ago to build an operating platform to ensure we’re equipped to respond to and lead this changed environment."

oOh!media plans to complete an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system in 2019 which will lead to an online planning, buying and placement platform.

The system will combine audience data sets with machine learning to determine the best inventory to use and when to reach and engage with the desired audience.

Ooh!Media in February posted a 27% increase in full year revenue to $482.645 million, but net profit after tax was down 4% to $31.6 million because of acquisition and merger-related costs. Underlying profit, before the one-off costs, was up 18% to $51.1 million.

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