Digital Growth Can't Stem Outdoor Revenue Decline

The Two Towers Digital Site in Hammersmith2009 started badly for the outdoor market with revenue in Q2 down a massive 21% period on period but as the year progressed, the decline slowed so that, by the end of the year, revenue was down 17% overall yr on yr to £782m. Hardly a buoyant picture.This sharp decline has been largely due to traditionally strong outdoor advertising categories such as cars and finance cutting their outdoor spends by around half in 2009. As a direct result of these cuts, premium roadside formats have been hardest hit by the downturn in the economy although there are signs that that clients are moving back into this territory in 2010. However, the outdoor market has not been without casualties in this recessionary environment.Having sold all its large format roadside holding to Primesight in 2009, Titan went into administration in January with JCDecaux buying its remaining assets thus taking its share of OOH to approx 30%. On a positive note for advertisers, all the major contractors have reviewed and refined their universe of sites over the last year, culling many underperforming and low quality sites. This has resulted in an improvement of all roadside formats and so far in 2010, this category is selling well.Development of digital out of home continues apace amongst the contractors. Clear Channel launches “socialite” bar screens in 2010 and is expanding its mall digital 6 holding to 150 in 15 malls. Ocean continues its massive digital investment (C£1m per site) in 2010 with the new Two Towers site on the A4 in Hammersmith, the Ariel Way 3 sided screen at the roundabout at Westfield and more projected city centre landmark developments planned. Digicom move ahead with a strong growth plan in 2010, expanding their garage forecourt screens with the holding planned to grow to 1500 sites by Q3, growing their salon network to 3000 screens and looking at developing sites in GP’s surgeries, hospitals and airports through the year.The digital sector is the fastest growing sector in OOH with its revenue up 24% yr on yr and now accounting for 11.3% of all OOH spend. Although growth slowed yr on yr, it is expected that as we move out of the downturn growth will be at a steeper rate as the opportunities and flexibility offered by digital attract advertisers who are keen to target the masses using OOH in an ever more “personalized” media market.