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OOH industry revenue down 24% but OMA hails March turnaround

The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has reported Australia’s Out-Of-Home (OOH) sector experienced a 24% dip in net media revenue for Q1 of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

That dip saw revenue fall from $207.8 million to $158.1 million year-on-year. The result is in line with SMI’s recent release of February ad spend in Australia which showed that outdoor spend was back negative 22.3% in that month on the corresponding prior period.

But the OMA pointed to some promising signs, including a slight increase in Digital OOH (DOOH) revenue as a percentage of total net media revenue spend year-to-date, up from 56.7% in Q1 last year to 57.1%.

In addition, OMA CEO Charmaine Moldrich said early results for March as a standalone month saw revenue up 18% on February revenue.

“Q1 2020 was the last quarter where the industry posted growth, prior to feeling the effects of the pandemic. Like the economy we were worst hit in quarter two of 2020 and I am relieved both for the industry and the economy to see green shoots and improvement.”

Moldrich added that the latest consumer confidence index is now just 0.2 points below December levels. “I believe our recovery will continue into 2021 as audience numbers stabilise, with people coming back outdoors, as well as workers returning to offices and their daily commutes.”

It’s also worth noting the OMA’s results only account for OMA members, not the entire industry. The association recently welcomed Shopper Media, while four new members (AdFlow, AOSCo, Think Outdoor and TOM) joined in February.

Moldrich said: “It is wonderful to have new members join our industry at a time when we are doing new things including updating our audience measurement currency. The new perspectives and energy these new members bring will only help revitalise and strengthen the industry in a time of recovery and growth.”

The OMA also recently released its full-year results of 2020, with a 39% drop in revenue, down to $566.5 million, from $935.5 million for 2019.

That report also pointed to growth in DOOH as a positive sign for the industry, but the OMA’s general manager Kylie Green admitted to Mumbrella recently that DOOH will continue to have its potential growth limited by issues with measurement until the rollout of MOVE 2.0 in 2023.

“In 2023 it will be delivering what they require. At the moment there is a slight gap with what we’ve got in the current audience measurement system,” she said.

Though it’s early in the piece, the growth in revenue for OMA members from February into March could be a sign of positivity for the sector.

The report comes after leading outdoor provider JC Decaux released figures for February using its Audience Mobility Impact Monitor that showed Australians are back in public spaces and viewing OOH advertising at levels not seen since before the pandemic struck.

Confirmation of the turnaround for OOH could come in the form of SMI data for March (which will be released at the back end of April) to see if continued predicted growth continues to hold true.

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