Exterion Media, formerly CBS Outdoor, has retained the London Underground, Crossrail, DLR and London Overground outdoor advertising contract, said to be the largest such contract in the world with a value of £150m annually. Exterion beat off strong competition from French-owned JC Decaux which landed the London bus shelter contract from Clear Channel last year.
The win is hugely important for Exterion and its new private equity owners. Viacom owner CBS sold it off last year as it turned its bigger US business into a real estate investment trust (REIT) for tax reasons. Exterion has put huge efforts into the Transport for London contract over the last couple of years. This follows a period when the then CBS made repeated efforts to get out of the contract as the costs of installing digital posters on the London Underground mounted.
Exterion CEO Shaun Gregory says: “We are hugely excited to be working in partnership with TfL to create more dynamic opportunities to connect with the London Audience over the next decade. Together, we have an extraordinary vision for the London Rail and Underground estate that will fundamentally change the look and feel of advertising in the Capital and the way that brands engage with consumers.”
The decision follows a TfL board meeting today, chaired by London mayor Boris Johnson. Johnson, now an MP and a supposed rival to Tory leader and PM David Cameron, has recently declared his support for a UK exit from the EU – or ‘Brexit.’ Whether or not this had anything to do with a decision not to award the contract to a French company, which, with the bus contract, would have controlled about 40 per cent of the UK out of home market, we know not.