Mark Flys of FEPE: why out of home is growing globally

Tim Cartwright of Exterion Media’s recent article showing how digital is driving Out of Home in the UK was an eye-opener in the sense that it shows how digital has moved from moving images to complete immersive experiences, some of which have a spectacular impact on sales.

The UK is arguably the leader in digital OOH and that’s something to be proud of. But OOH is a global industry too and one that’s growing rapidly, almost regardless of digital.

Digital is not an option yet in some of the world’s rapidly emerging OOH markets (although it’s about to be) but that hasn’t held such markets back.

PWC estimates that OOH worldwide is growing by 4.7 per cent a year and expenditure will hit $44bn by 2018.

Digital is indeed the fastest growing sector. FEPE figures record annual growth of above 20 per cent in each of the years from 2007 to 2015 and PWC estimates that DOOH will grow by over 16 per cent in established markets and 30 per cent in emerging markets over the next few years. China will become the world’s biggest DOOH market in 2017.

Why, in the online age should this be so?

Advertisers of all shapes and sizes – from the global giants to regional and local players – all need broadcast media audiences at some stage in their development. The likes of Procter & Gamble and Unilever spends billions on it, year in, year out.

But broadcast media is no longer the sole prerogative of broadcasters.

Digital has led to a massive restructuring of the broadcast industry as the cost barrier to entry has reduced dramatically and, with that, the regulatory hurdles too. Google’s YouTube is now, arguably, the world’s biggest broadcaster even though it doesn’t actually make – or buy – programmes. There’s the power of crowd-sourced content for you.

Conventional terrestrial channels are seeing their audiences erode though and that makes the business of reaching large numbers of people more difficult and expensive.

Now the purpose of this piece isn’t to knock television. OOH has done very well out of TV over the years, being the traditional support for big TV campaigns. Broadcasters are some of the biggest advertisers in OOH, Sky in the UK for example.

But the relationship has changed to a degree, with many advertisers – in developed as well as developing markets – using OOH to reach the big audiences they used to target on television and in the press.

Next month FEPE, which represents the biggest players in OOH worldwide, including media owners and specialist agencies, will hear more about the growth and potential of OOH from a range of speakers at its annual congress in Budapest.

A constant theme will be the need to improve the data available to advertisers and agencies, on top of the herculean efforts of recent years into the creation of research products like the UK’s Route. But we need more; in particular we need global data so that advertisers can run genuinely global campaigns using OOH.

To this end, FEPE, which represents outdoor advertising companies worldwide, is partnering with APG|SGA, Clear Channel Outdoor, Exterion Media and JCDecaux to develop the first standardised industry approach to measuring digital out-of-home (OOH) audiences.

Can Out of Home be the only credible advertising alternative to YouTube for reaching global audiences? It’s happening.

unnamed-5Mark Flys is general secretary of FEPE International, the trade body representing out of home companies worldwide.

The FEPE Annual Congress will be held in Budapest on June 10-12. Speakers include Rupert Day, global CEO of WPP network Tenth Avenue, Annie Rickard, global CEO of Dentsu Aegis specialist agency Posterscope and GGT founder Dave Trott.

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