The business, which TFL values at more than £400m for the next ten years of the contract, is one of the most hotly-contested in UK out of home. JC Decaux pitched against Clear Channel, the biggest US poster company, for the business ten years ago. Clear Channel is also believed to have lost the installation and maintenance part of the work to specialist Trueform.
The move leaves Clear Channel UK, now headed by former JWT executive William Eccleshare, with a hotch-potch of sites in the UK.
TFL’s other big property, advertising on the London Underground, is also up for review. This is currently held by Exterion Media, formerly CBS Outdoor. This contract has been a problem for Exterion/CBS, which tried and failed to get out of it a couple of years ago. Huge investment in digital posters had failed to pay off, mainly because you can’t actually see them very clearly from the passenger side of the platform. JCD may also be a contender for this contract, which would make for an interesting Entente Cordiale with Boris Johnson’s London.
JCD has indeed won the contract although an official announcement isn’t coming for ten days, for some reason. Presumably this puts it in pole position to win the London Underground contract too although that would raise competition issues – London’s transport networks being by far the biggest out of home market in the UK.