Out of home in 2018: The Sydney tender, brand safety and a return to print

As the City of Sydney tender hangs over the out of home industry's heads, Adshel's David Roddick takes a look at what 2018 has in store.

The Australian out of home sector will continue to be a great place to be in 2018. The appetite for a truly broadcast medium with growing audience, which advertisers can target using digital ad serving technology, will remain undimmed; though the double-digit growth over the last several years is likely to slow.

Small format will be big business

With so many prime billboard sites and retail locations already converted to digital, 2018 will be the turn of street furniture to digitize at even greater scale, and be the driver of out of home growth.

For vendors, having scale digital networks in all formats means there will be an increasing need to show how they communicate differently to classic out of home. The most progressive media owners will pioneer the convergence between online and DOOH with video and dynamic trading models offering delivery targeted by day-parting, week parting and location.

We’re already well down the path of short-form, audio-free video which uses out of home to extend mobile and social media platforms.

Particularly in commuter environments such as rail, this represents a massive opportunity for brand story telling in 2018.

Paper is the new pixel

Every media channel with significant share of wallet needs to pay attention to accountability, measurement, transparency and brand safety.

To date, out of home, with no risks around content, robust audience data, and excellent post campaign reporting, has been relatively protected.

There’s no doubt, though, that the share of investment digital outdoor now commands raises these questions for the medium, and next year the industry will be fully focused on addressing them.

For some advertisers, while the technology plays catch up with the investment, they will seek the total ownership and precision targeted capability of classic formats. Expect a resurgence in classic, and tight availability in key markets.

Data-driven growth

Of course classic out of home can’t mean unsophisticated. To generate maximum value from every dollar of investment, clients will expect data to inform the buy. But with every vendor and every buyer having their own data relationships, the data alone will not be enough. 2018 will place greater pressure on vendors to show insight and offer integration between datasets. Simply offering another version of audience segmentation that isn’t compatible with existing models won’t be good enough to secure share.

The ability to create and deliver dynamic and targeted campaigns by blending contextual data, audience insight and by combining all the intelligence held by media owners and clients’ CRMs will be critical.

Love me tender?

The bus shelter in the room next year, though, is the tender for street furniture and wifi services being run by City of Sydney. This is the first time this contract has been available since 1998 – a time before the proliferation of smartphones, without wifi and when no one had heard of smart cities.

We can expect a hard fought process with a wide range of participants beyond the traditional out of home players. It’s likely to prompt innovation like never before in the sector, and and whatever the outcome, out of home may never look the same.

David Roddick is sales and marketing director at Adshel.


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