Outdoor boss predicts $200m industry growth

Outdoor media is poised to grab an extra $200m of Australia’s advertising spending over the next few years as it benefits from declining press and television audiences, according to the boss of the country’s biggest out-of-home advertiser.

oOh! Media chief executive Brendon Cook says the out-of-home industry will increase its share of the advertising pie from the current 4.8 to 6 per cent, predicting across the board growth in all areas, particularly in billboards, shopping centres and airports.

“Clients looking for big impact will invest more heavily in those high-traffic areas, making them grow the quickest,” he says.

“People are spending more time away from home, traffic volumes are increasing, on the road and in airports and shopping centres.”

[Related: More outdoor news]

Cook says advertisers are only just catching on to the power of out-of-home advertising and have started to invest heavily.

“Seven or eight years ago only 100 of Australia’s 1350 shopping centres had advertising signs. Today it’s about 550,” he says.

“The market just wasn’t ready for it but now companies understand the great return on investment.”

Cook says the growth will be driven by changes in audience behaviour that have led to falling audiences for TV, newspapers and magazines as people are consuming media in more diversified ways and spending more time away from home.

“People’s habits and the way they consume media is changing – commute times are longer and they spend more time out and about, partially because mobile technology allows them to stay connected on the move,” he says.

“More and more top 10 TV programs have audience numbers below one million, which was unheard of not so long ago.

“Our product isn’t being challenged by these behavioural changes and that gives us a great opportunity to expand our market share. No other medium besides online can claim that.”

Cook says advertisers can use multiple media channels to create interconnected campaigns that boost the use of outdoor media.

“Technology can be a friend to engage with all kinds of media, using augmented reality to engage with printed signs, using digital signs and look at the product in detail, and looking up something they saw on a billboard online,” he says.

“Connecting out-of-home media to mobile brings more opportunities too.”

[Related: More oOh! Media news]

Outdoor media growth almost tripled last year, rising a record 7.1 per cent to $543.8m including a jump in revenue for every quarter compared to 2012.

The record growth for the sector is compared to a rise of 2.7 per cent to $507.7m in 2012 when it first cracked the $500m mark.

The industry’s rise continued in the first quarter of 2014, but only rose 1.75 per cent versus 2013.

The result for the print-heavy roadside category was mixed with billboards down 2.2 per cent to $178.5m but other roadside print advertising – including street furniture; taxis, bus and tram wraps and signs; and other small format ads – rose 8.1 per cent to $196.2m.

The two categories, which are still almost entirely print, make up about 70 per cent of out of home advertising. Transport (including airports) rose 8.3 per cent to $85.4m and retail jumped 20.2 per cent to $83.6m.

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