Eric Newnham’s challenge to Kinetic and Posterscope is as much about mobiles as posters

Former Kinetic boss Eric Newnham (left) has now completed his earn-out deal with WPP (a marathon rather than a sprint) and it looks like his involvement with mini outdoor specialist agency Talon is indeed going to be his new big thing

Currently the out of home media market is dominated by WPP’s Kinetic (now officially managed by new WPP outdoor entity Tenth Avenue) and Aegis’s Posterscope. These are massive businesses (Kinetic bills about £4.5bn) but patchy in terms of their global reach. The US, for example, remains resistant to the blandishments of outdoor specialist agencies, hardly surprising given some of Postercope’s embarrassments there.

Talon was set up by specialist independent financial advertising agency Ptarmigan (which handles ads in the FT and other places, still a lucrative business) and former IPM boss Neil Jarman. Newnham has now bought about 75 per cent of the business and is named as executive director (which, unusually for titles in the ad biz, means something).

He has also taken a number of smaller stakes in other media businesses, which might be broadly defined as digital. The most interesting one of these investments is Blis Media whose software contributes to real time ad bidding on mobiles. Mobiles, of course, are the new big thing and they’re ‘out of home’ (people boring you with their iPads in bars) just as much as posters are. So there’s an obvious fit.

So should WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell and Aegis’s Jerry Buhlmann be quaking in their boots? Maybe not yet but Newnham thinks big and he’s highly competitive. He’s also no fan of bureaucracy which, as anyone will tell you, you get in shovel-loads with holding companies,

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.