JCDecaux wants to advance Australian programmatic digital OOH buying

JCDecaux has made a new push locally for better adoption of programmatic selling and buying, calling on buyers to experiment with the format and its competitors to send a unified message that speaks to the medium’s benefits. 

The global out-of-home company has announced its launch of Australia’s first programmatic digital out-of-home (prDOOH) award, celebrating brands that produce innovative campaigns using the format.

Brad Palmer

On the award’s timing, national programmatic director at JCDecaux Australia, Brad Palmer, said it’s time for the local OOH industry to push for real change in programmatic buying.

“There’s always been a lot of pushback in the market around CPM pricing, the traditional versus programmatic usage, when to go hybrid, and whether there’s cannibalisation,” he told Mumbrella.

“I think it’s firmly on us to go out there to educate around those elements, and I’ve been doing that for three years since I joined the business.

“But now, I’m at the point to go: Alright, let’s stop talking about a lot of those details. We can educate forever, but how do we actually drive innovation?”

So far, one of the challenges has been that not all Australian OOH providers see eye to eye on the issue.

“We’re quite bullish about programmatic’s potential, but I think there’s such a mixed view of what the colour our competitors are seeing as part of that future,” Palmer said.

The award is open to campaigns in market throughout 2023. But there’s a small catch: they must have allocated a minimum 25% share of the overall prDOOH budget to JCDecaux inventory, and delivered over or equal to three million impressions across the JCDecaux prDOOH network.

The awards will be judged by a panel of prOOH leaders, including JCDecaux Australia and New Zealand’s own CEO, Steve O’Connor, and Dorota Karc, head of programmatic at WallDecaux (JCDecaux Germany).

Palmer said Germany is an interesting case study for the Australian market to compare itself to.

According to World Out of Home Organization figures, prDOOH accounted for 6-7% of DOOH revenue globally. In Australia, Palmer said the figure is around 4.5% this year. In Germany, the proportion is a staggering 21% and is on track to reach 30% by the end of the year.

Dorota Karc

Karc explained that multiple elements contributed to that level of market take-up in Germany. However, one interesting element is that the buyer structure and product enabled through programmatic is different to traditional DOOH in the country.

“Firstly, programmatic OOH democratises buying of OOH and allows for technically anyone with access to a demand-side platform (DSP) to buy a desired screen or group of screens,” she said.

“These allowed to shift the predominate focus of revenue driven by specialists to a more diversified structure of buyers – including new types of buyers such as digital agencies, media agencies, trading desk, local clients as well as in-house brand teams.

“Secondly … traditional OOH in Germany is bought as networks with specific reach. Programmatic offers the same solution as an option but provides much more flexible buying, with the ability to select specific frames, add specific times, activate the campaign on the demand, shift or adjust budget on demand or streamline live data.

“These possibilities clearly helped to drive more revenue as the product has not been available in such a manner before.”

The poster child of prDOOH campaign at JCDecaux, the off-season campaign from Tourism Tasmania

Palmer added that, as a market, Australia still has some work to do in establishing prDOOH as a medium that buyers can consistently engage with. This is backed up by data from IAB Australia’s 2022 report, where 83% of agencies said they’ve used prDOOH – but only 48% said they are regularly considering it.

While it’s tempting to stay within what one knows best and ignore the “shiny new thing” that is prDOOH, Palmer said taking the first step in experimenting is essential for exploring more possibilities OOH offers.

With MOVE 2.0 on the horizon, another blocker will be removed for prDOOH with enriched data points such as seasonality and hourly data.

“Hopefully, an initiative like the prDOOH award will get clients to put a little bit more money into it, to prove those results we’ve seen in Europe and some of our local results. Once proven, they can crack on and have prDOOH as a part of the regular media plans.”


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