City of Sydney back in negotiations for outdoor tender

The contentious City of Sydney outdoor advertising contract is back in negotiation, two months after the announcement that the tender process would be ditched amid unsatisfactory responses from outdoor agencies.

The cancellation of the process came as the council entered into a court case with Telstra over the installation of large advertising screens on payphones, which Telstra arranged with outdoor advertising giant JC Decaux.

Current JC Decaux street furniture which will be removed and replaced with new assets towards the end of 2019

Now the council is back in business again. A City of Sydney spokesperson confirmed negotiations had begun, but was unable to comment on the companies involved.

“The City has commenced negotiations with suitably qualified companies and we are therefore unable to comment further,” said the spokesperson.

The whole process for the council to recruit its next outdoor provider began in December 2017, with the City opening up expressions of interest (EOI) for the first time since JC Decaux won the contract in 1997. The contract on the table is one of the most lucrative outdoor accounts, thought to be worth around $50m a year in revenue. Currently the account is available for ten years with the possibility of a five-year extension.

The new contract will span more than 2,500 pieces of street furniture, including bus shelters, kiosks, public toilets, seats, litter bins and communications panels, as well as free public Wi-Fi which could mean telecommunications providers are including in the new negotiations.

Both JC Decaux and Ooh Media declined to comment on their involvement in the latest contract discussions.

Shortly after the launch of the initial EOI stage and subsequent bidding, a series of acquisitions occurred in the outdoor industry, with Ooh Media purchasing HT&E’s street furniture business Adshel and JC Decaux purchasing APN Outdoor.

Following this, the City of Sydney returned to the EOI stage, denying it was due to the changes in the industry, and instead saying it was looking for more refined offerings. It was at this stage that JC Decaux pulled out of the running.

Shortly after, it was announced the City would ditch the tender process completely, instead going direct to market.


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