Posterscope global president: 'Digital OOH still has work to do'

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 1 May 2019

Dentsu Aegis Network-owned (DAN) agency Posterscope's global president, Stephen Whyte, says while digital out of home continues to grow locally and internationally, the industry "still has work to do" in proving its value.

Whyte has headed up global operations for DAN's specialist out of home agency since 2015, prior to that he had been European CEO of Acxiom, as well as headed up operations of McCann and Leo Burnett.

While the conversion rate of 'static' OOH sites continues to ramp up both here in Australia and internationally, Whyte says further emphasis needs to be placed on "advanced measurement and verification methods".

"Different markets are demanding digital at different rates. The more sophisticated markets, Australia included, are chomping at the bit for it, however it needs to be able to show effectiveness through the right verification methods," Whyte told AdNews.

"When you get to the point, as we are here and in the UK, where 50% of the market is digital, and there's no proper way of verifying playout, that's a problem. One we all have to solve."

Whyte says Australia has the opportunity to "lead from the front" on this matter, with one of the world's fastest moving markets towards digitisation, as well as partnerships with verification partners such as Seedooh.

While he acknowledges that these partner "aren't perfect", it's a step in the right direction to showing clients the sustained value in OOH and its ability to act as a 'brand builder'.

Posterscope Australia MD Bryan Magee agreed, adding that while the outdoor industry "would love" to take market share from other media channels, it needs to have a way of verifying delivery, such as its competitors, pointing to OzTam and its work with the major TV networks.

"I'd like it to be something we're not talking about in a couple of years’ time. It's a hygiene factor, that once addressed sufficiently, will put clients at ease," Magee says.

"This could lead to an OOH premium buy that clients would pay for because they don't mind paying for a peak spot in TV or drive in radio, but you're only going to pay that premium if you know you're definitely going to get delivered what you’re planning and you're buying."

Whyte says Australia remains one of the best "test markets" to advance the OOH industry, pointing to the recent market consolidation as a key factor.

Last year, four of Australia's largest OOH players became two, with Frech multi-national giant JCDecaux acquiring APN Outdoor and Ooh!Media taking control of outdoor furniture business Adshel.

"With Ooh and JCDecaux, you've got two long-term players who are committed to the medium. They're investing in it, which is something other markets don't have the benefit of," Whyte says.

You would expect consolidation to be bad from a buy-side perspective but if the consolidators are committed long-term strategic players in the marketplace, it can be good. That's what you're seeing here and it will be a major factor in improving the OOH space for Australia."

This is part one of a two-part article. Keep checking AdNews for part two, where Whyte discusses the future of dynamic OOH and the future of cross-channel integration.

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