Perspective - A coming-of-age year for OOH

By John O'Neill | 22 November 2023
John O'Neill.

The AdNews end of year Perspectives, looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.

It’s been a coming-of-age year for the out of home (OOH) industry, evidenced by its second consecutive year of positive growth at a time when other media sectors have been stagnant or in decline. OOH in Australia is on track to finish the year as a $1.3 billion industry and heading for $1.65 billion by 2026.  

The growth we’ve seen in recent years – and the growth to come – is not an accident. It’s been driven by the industry’s strategic investment into new assets, new digital capability, new data and insights and new creative solutions, all of which are bolstering marketers’ confidence in the medium to deliver real campaign results.  

Agencies and brands are increasingly embracing DOOH and unlocking its potential. DOOH’s ability to provide immediacy, flexibility and accountability, in trustworthy and brand-safe environments, is a game changer for clients, and the industry is benefitting as a result.  

For QMS, we’re fortunate to have continued our recent growth trajectory this year, with SMI reporting our revenue grew 34% in the 12 months to 31 October this year. I believe we are outpacing the market because of our sharp focus on digital innovation, strategic asset development in priority markets like NSW and data-led creativity, that provides campaign solutions that influence audience behaviour for our clients. 

Our world-class City of Sydney network has reimagined the street furniture category and now in its first full year of operation is pacing against its full capabilities for high value audience delivery, innovative packaging solutions and creative storytelling capabilities. Our partner brands and advertisers are responding very favourably with the support of key advertiser segments including luxury, automotive, finance, FMCG, entertainment, travel and more. 

From a data perspective, we’ve recently launched Performance+, a first-to-market audience-based post campaign reporting tool that provides actual campaign delivery reporting to our clients. This is a paradigm shift for the industry, enabling OOH to deliver the same levels of campaign accountability as broadcast channels and creating a new level of transparency and trust for clients investing in OOH. Already more than 40 clients have used Performance+, with market feedback exceeding expectations.  

Finally, we are seeing the rapid rise of programmatic DOOH (pDOOH) as a way for advertisers to enhance their DOOH campaigns, providing further precision, control, and flexibility in campaign delivery. As a 95% DOOH network. we are experiencing a groundswell increase in demand to trade programmatically and envision this will only continue to grow with the increased demands of advertisers.   

2024 will see more growth and innovation. The launch of the MOVE 2.0 audience measurement system next year is a significant milestone for the OOH industry and for agencies and brands. It will bring greater accuracy, more granular audience data, and a new level of confidence to the medium. We are proud to be working with the OMA and its members on the rollout of this global first initiative. 

For QMS, we remain laser-like focused on key strategic development opportunities that complement our digital-first national network. This is centred around expanded reach and coverage in NSW, where 65% of our digital development pipeline for 2024 will be implemented. 

We will continue the fantastic momentum we have created around our City of Sydney network, with a suite of exciting new opportunities for advertisers to influence through impact, including content partnerships, activations and special builds already in planning. The audience return of people into the city means Sydney is alive and thriving as the epicentre of economic and cultural ecosystems in Australia. 

The results of our world-first OOH attention study, conducted with audience measurement company Amplified Intelligence, will be released in 2024. We’re excited to see the results of this ground-breaking study to help our clients understand the relationship attention has in OOH advertising, as well as how it relates to memory retention, brand choice and growth.  

And as the Official Outdoor Media Partner for the Paris 2024 Australian Olympic and Paralympic Teams, it will be an absolute highlight to share the stories of our athletes across our bespoke Paris 2024 digital screen network – a first for OOH and the Olympic and Paralympic Games – and their sponsor brands. 

It is a fairly short market at the moment, fuelled by economic uncertainty both locally and globally. However, as a DOOH media owner, this plays to our strengths for brands requiring responsive, scalable audience solutions, delivered with immediacy, flexibility, and accountability. Brands needing to capitalise on the last-minute spending frenzy that happens between now and Boxing Day should seriously consider upweighting or adding DOOH into their marketing channel mix if they haven’t already. 

Looking ahead to 2024, we are seeing increased market confidence, with major campaign activity being briefed across our digital network, and in particular within the City of Sydney, for brands seeking to influence this premium audience on the most effective OOH channel available in that market.    

Momentum is building and with so much to look forward to in 2024. It’s going to be an out of the ordinary year!   

John O'Neill is CEO of QMS.

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