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As It Was (In 1993)

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OOH …Here’s One Thing

by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company

Johnsen, have you lost your mind?  Don’t you know it’s 2023?  Anyone who knows me, knows that that happened a long time ago.  But in this case it’s not a mind fart or a typo.  With every talking head out there making predictions for 2023, I thought I would cut left and do something a little more, “ehuh”, predictable if you will.  So jump on board the way back machine with me and let’s see if I can get a few prognostications right for 1993.  Here it goes:

  1. Bill Clinton will do a surprisingly good job during his first year as POTUS.  He will also take on the nickname “Bubba” as a result of his love for fast food and jazz.
  2. The new President will follow Bush’s policy and continue to fight the good fight in Iraq.
  3. Gas will come down to under $1.20 at the pump.
  4. Eric Clapton will win a Grammy for his song “Tears From Heaven”
  5. Marisa Tomei will win an Oscar for her role in My Cousin Vinny
  6. There will be a run on Beanie Babies
  7. After strong inflation in 1991 and 1992, Interest rates will peak mid year and come down by 1/2 point before the year is out.
  8. The Ford Taurus will be the best selling car although the Camry could give them a run for their money.
  9. The U.S. federal government is going to force us to put gas with a blend of ethanol in our tanks, even though it costs $1.50 to make a $1.00 of the stuff.
  10. The Dallas Cowboys will win the Superbowl and Larry Bird and Michael Jordan will continue to dominate the game of hoops.
  11. Circle K will emerge from bankruptcy…

And now, closer to home:

  1. Outdoor advertising total industry revenue for the first time ever will approach $3 billion.
  2. Just a hunch but I think our best friends in the tobacco business are about to throw us into the pumpkin patch.
  3. Rotary bulletins will continue to be a novel and popular product as will bus shelter advertising.  TDI will introduce single color LED advertising on top of backlit static signs on phone kiosks.
  4. Outdoor Systems will try to clear the following hurdles this year:  $50MM revenue; 46% EBITDA margin; 10,000 displays. Lamar: $65MM revenue; 34% EBITDA margin.
  5. In contrast to these 2 hungry upstarts, Gannett, 3M Media, TDI and Patrick Media will continue to dominate the industry, each with between $150MM of revenue and $250MM of revenue.  Ackerley, Adams, Whiteco, Martin Media, Donrey, Revere and POA will not be too far behind.
  6. Not sure we are going to see anything stellar out of Morris Communications’ Fairway Outdoor this year or McCarty Holdings’ Naegele Outdoor.  Perhaps even a management shakeup?
  7. OCI will go on the market only to realize that they should be a buyer, not a seller, and then will go on an acquisition tear.
  8. 1993 will be a breakout year for Universal Outdoor.  In the words of Dan Simon…”I am loading up the shopping cart to take it to the cash register.”
  9. Reagan Outdoor, happy to be home after its run with Castle Harlan, will set the foundation for good things to come.
  10. Like every other year for the past 50, The TAB will host a “marketing” conference and the OAAA will host a “government affairs” conference.

Thanks for that Johnsen, but what’s the point?  Long, short…if there is anything I have learned in 2022, it’s that one can not cling to the past.  Look how much the world has changed in 30 years!  Commerce, culture and our industry really is “a changing” before our eyes.  So my only New Year’s Resolution this year is…to steal a page from the Dewar’s campaign, “stay curious”.

Happy New Year to you all and 2 further thoughts.  1. How did we get from a world of Jim Morrison to one of Harry Styles?  But then again hey, if you can get away with wearing a skirt and you are still slaying it, who is it for this dinosaur to judge?  And 2.  I will leave you with a quote I heard on the Echo 3 Series (on Apple TV…highly recommend btw) recently:

When someone says “I don’t really know what I want”, what they really mean is “I am not willing to do what it takes to get what I really want”.  Maybe that’s my New Year’s resolution.  Never to say ‘I don’t really know what I want”.


“Go home, get ahead, light-speed internet
I don’t wanna talk about the way that it was”  Harry Styles




Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC
Johnsen, Fretty and Co. is an advertiser with OOH Today.


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