Two of the biggest mergers in 2018 took place in the out-of-home (OOH) industry, as JCDecaux acquired APN Outdoor, while Adshel was snatched up by Ooh!Media.
As a result of the deals, a smaller and more competitive marketplace is set to emerge in 2019. Instead of four major players, the industry is now down to two, with JCDecaux led by CEO Steve O'Connor and Ooh!Media headed up by Brendon Cook.
Outside of the mergers, verification, digital measurement and transparency were all hot topics in the first six months of the year, with news of the mergers dominating the second half. Digitisation of key sites will continue in the new year, however it will most likely take place at a slower rate.
In 2019, both businesses will be focus on integrating systems, tech stacks and workplace cultures. To find out what will be making industry headlines in 2019, AdNews spoke to multiple leaders in OOH to get their thoughts on the year ahead.
JCDecaux ANZ CEO Steve O’Connor said:
"Due to the consolidation during 2018, key Out-of-Home operators will offer multiple formats and environments, and invest in their product and digital automatic selling platforms and data. Out-of- Home companies will be elevated in the pecking order of major media companies as they are better positioned to more comprehensively and effectively respond to complex client briefs. This will ultimately aid market share gains.”
Ooh!Media chief customer officer David Scribner said:
"Increase in mobile and social integration. On recently joining oOH! from the advertiser side , I was surprised to discover the sheer breadth and integration of the out-of-home offering, and this is only going to continue to grow. Not only is out-of-home about location delivering great impact, it’s also about providing the digital platform to engage with brands via mobile and social environments. This area of engagement will be a significant growth area over the coming year, as increasingly more advertisers use out-of-home to engage on a much more personal level through integrated campaigns that do create unmissable experiences.”
JCDecaux national trading manager Tom Sandow said:
“While 2018 proved to be the year of consolidation in Out-of-Home, 2019 will bring significant investment into existing products and services with a focus on delivering a higher quality asset base. By upgrading and consolidating complementary formats our clients will have a more integrated product offering by supplier, streamlining the buying process.”
Val Morgan Group CEO Dan Hill said:
The swing back to brand advertising that we saw in 2018 is likely to continue into the new year. Brand and performance advertising will be coming together to form a combined strategy. This shift will largely be driven by an increased focus on audience-led planning and the notion that brand building and consumer targeting can take place concurrently in out-of-home. Marketers will look toward media partners that have the right assets and insights in place, enabling them to build their brand whilst delivering a personalised experience for existing and future customers. For this reason, it’s also likely that we’ll see an increase in ad spend across location-based networks that offer unique environments and mindsets as a means of achieving cut-through and increasing the chances for audience engagement. Agencies will continue to extend their screen buys across DOOH. In recent studies, VMO has found that almost half of its audience will not be reached by commercial TV, providing brands with the opportunity to connect with a hard to reach and unique audience. Measurability and accountability have become a firm ‘must-haves’ and will maintain a strong presence across all media briefs moving forward. Alongside this, the merge of the ‘big 4’ will likely heighten the expectation for increased transparency in this space.
Ooh!Media chief commercial and operations officer Noel Cook said:
"OOH even easier to plan, schedule and change. OOH continues to evolve into a much more sophisticated media with greater data and insights, new environments and advancements in technology. Despite all these changes and access to more data than ever to help inform the best use of media budgets, the planning, booking and scheduling for OOH is set to become easier. Through machine learning, advertisers will be able to generate a media schedule that better engages audiences that are more likely to purchase the brand – and do it within minutes. At Ooh we have already started this journey and by, mid-year we expect advertisers will start seeing results of our investment in our Organisational Transformation Platform (OTP).”
Scentre Group head of sales Jonathan Case said:
"Increased demands from advertisers to deliver transparency and accountability will drive an increased focus on high quality environments and high-quality inventory."
Scentre Group head of content and programming Bronwyn Cooper said:
"Seamlessly integrating digital capabilities and strategies with traditional physical environments. OOH is an incredibly effective channel for driving rapid reach and frequency at scale. Potentially there has been an accepted cost or lack of direct correlation to accountability or measurement. In a digital world this is at odds with other channels. To truly leverage the emergence and reliance of digital and data OOH companies need to continue to invest to evolve their systems and adapt their business models."
Ooh!Media chief content and creative officer and CEO of Junkee Media Neil Ackland said:
"Greater native content integration into OOH. “What I'm excited about for 2019 is Out of Home being reimagined to deliver more than just advertising. We are beginning to see how OOH can improve and enhance public spaces to deliver audiences information, entertainment and utility in context of their location. My fundamental belief is that quality content on OOH makes the medium more sticky, which ultimately means audiences are more likely to spend more time looking at our screens and as a result seeing more ads and branded content of course. The game-changer will be stitching together the mobile and OOH offerings using content at location.”
JCDecaux head of creative solutions Ashley Taylor said:
“2018 saw more and more brands wanting to push the boundaries of creativity in Out-of-Home, looking to create campaigns that cut-through, spark the imagination of the public and create talkable, sharable advertising moments. Creatively speaking, for 2019 I anticipate there will be an increase in brands becoming braver, using digital advertising to respond dynamically with contextual messaging that is responsive to current events and trends and becoming a part of the conversation, in real-time. Globally, I’m also seeing a swing towards using Out-of-Home formats as a ‘stage’, using technology such as live streaming or augmented reality as an example, to create funny, surprising or moving video content that can amplify the execution.”
Scentre Group national sales manager Kinsey Yuen said:
"It’s the third generation of OOH. First it was digitisation, then accountability and 2019 will be the leading edge of the digital and OOH worlds becoming closer, through both media & customer experiences. There have been examples of this in pockets however with the industry consolidation and progression to date, it could be the year that the push comes with scale."
JCDecaux head of insights and market data Cristina Smart said:
“In 2019, the idea of the Out-of-Home industry consulting on consumer behaviours and informing client and agency strategies will be a really exciting evolution. Rather than merely an agent for selling real estate, as data and insights capabilities exponentially grow, the Out-of-Home channel will play an even more significant role in the ability for data to drive better understanding of audiences, their relationships to brands, engagement with media and creative opportunities.”
JCDecaux product marketing manager Abigail Holmes said:
“Understanding digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) audience exposure and effectiveness has become increasingly important as media owners continue to digitise to meet market demand. With greater access than ever before to potent, large-scale behavioural and location data, 2019 is the year to crack DOOH measurement. “In addition to measurement, this data allows for more nuanced insight into individual Out-of-Home locations – particularly understanding audiences, behaviours and transactions by time, day, retail period or seasonal event. “This will align DOOH’s (currently under-utilised) creative possibilities with real, measurable effectiveness and audience delivery in real-time to understand the power of Australia’s DOOH networks and how they can drive both long-term brand growth and short-term activation results.”
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