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Regarding your Article: Let’s get a few things straight about OOH —and the Coronavirus Economy

You don't have to be a weather man to know which way the wind blows. And you don't have to be Geopath to know which way the traffic goes

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Regarding your Article: Let’s get a few things straight about OOH  —and the Coronavirus Economy

 

Here is an interesting article, The OOH Renaissance Was Here – And Then There Was Coronavirus by James Hercher for ad exchanger. A link to the article is at the bottom of the page. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m not supposed to send readers to another site. But that’s why you read me; transparency and truth. We tell it like it is.  Love Howard Cosell.  Before you go to the link read on.

This article, as often is in many cases when the OOH spokes people are ones who have not been in the outdoor advertising industry very long, (10,000 hours) makes some relevant points and miss some important relevant points, along the way.

Let’s drill down if you will. 

While the start of the article is true— ‘OOH seemed destined to have a strong 2020 year going’ based on the first two months.

What is missing and also true, is the amount of cancellations particularly for ‘roadside OOH’ has been huge. Projections for the year are unknown which translates to very weak. Salespeoples’ forecasts and roadmaps are wishlist’s at best right now, which makes management’s revenue forecasts intractable at best.  

Statement Very true— “There’s no sugar-coating the fact that quarantine is about the worst thing that could happen to outdoor advertising,” said Matt O’Connor, co-founder and CEO of startup AdQuick.

 

Statement—The article said, “few national OOH campaigns for the summer have been cancelled”

Not true—Our sources tell us, national OOH business has been crushed in cancellations and here’s the thing, RFP’s have been placed on hold. So while some biz has not been cancelled, a significant amount has been cancelled, and that statement ignores the way our OOH business operates. The planning and placement which normally is being negotiated and signed this month, has come to a screeching halt, kind of like the traffic right now.  So you call it not cancelled, I call it cancelled and not placed, which equals no revenues. 

The way March, April and May look right now, (and we know typically the agreements are in house for those months at this timeline) it will be nearly impossible to recover for any growth year, no matter how robust projections are for the second half of the year. And that’s frightening.  Yesterday’s unsold space can not be recovered. 

 

The statement— “digital signage reaching meaningful scale integrated into major DSP’s” ?

Okay, true, perhaps integrated, but not scale of use to place business yet. The percentage of dough $ is still well below 5% of total buys. Programmatic has a long way to go.

you don’t have to be a weather man to know which way the wind blows.
And you don’t have to be Geopath to know which way the traffic goes

True— “airports, transit centers and malls are ghosts towns”:

but not true, “people are still driving” and “road traffic is more stable”.   

People are not driving anywhere near the numbers we are used to reporting.  Let’s empirically quantify that with two measures: 1. Get in your car and sit at your intersection that is normally bumper to bumper at 7 AM or 5 PM.  The cars are not there. 

As Bob Dylan sang, you don’t have to be a weather man to know which way the wind blows. And you don’t have to be Geopath to know which way the traffic goes. (apologies to Bob Dylan)  Remember, OOH is typically referred to as the media with ‘box car numbers’.  Road traffic is not “stable” today or while we are in lock down. We have been asking for the coronavirus traffic and impression counts to no avail. What’s up with that? 

Everyone raise their hands who went to the office this last week?

2. Here is another way to consider the amount of traffic on the roads: Everyone raise their hands who went to the office this last week? Or just leave a ‘Like’ in comments or on our LinkedIn, if you are not a subscriber. The dinosaurs who put their hands up, can put them down now.

Traffic is waaaaay down

Look, I have been surveying OOH people and non OOH people from allover the county every day this week about a number of things and ‘describe your traffic’ is one of them. Not wanting to see anyone of my contacts loose their jobs, speaking in general terms; I can tell you, I have spoken to people in the top 15 markets this week, including one who traveled from Miami back home to a major Midwest market. And this OOH veteran said he has never seen anything like it. All reported; Traffic is waaaaay down.  My friend of 45 years, not in #OOH, who lives in Detroit, he says his commute is much faster as cars are not on the road. He reminded me of the UAW’s leadership to have the car companies close down for two weeks. My old home town of Charlottesville, was like a ghost town driving in at 7 AM in the morning when traffic is typically at a stand still at the 29 bypass. Let’s face it: The quarantine has literally taken OOH’s ROI right off the street. 

The quarantine has literally taken OOH’s ROI right off the street.  

True statement— “Right now, the unknown is what is causing inaction with planning and booking.”

We appreciate the positivism attempted by the contributors, however, the lapses in accuracy and not discussing certain points while surely not intentional, reminds us optimism needs to be checked with reality. 

Does OOH Today have a solution?  Yes, we think we do. It involves the ‘futures’ of Outdoor Advertising. It will be in our next released podcast Tuesday, March 24th.

Does OOH Today have a solution? Yes, we think we do. It involves the ‘futures’ of Outdoor Advertising. It will be in our next released podcast Tuesday, March 24th.

I wish you all well and hope we all come out of this stronger and together.
Oh yes one more thing,  Stay Home, at least for now. 

Here is the article written by James Hercher for ad exchanger we are referencing ⇒The OOH Renaissance Was Here – And Then There Was Coronavirus

 

 

 

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6 Comments
  1. Katherine Albert says

    Ugh! You are so right! Thanks for this honest column 😒

  2. Robert Neighbors says

    What will be the rule of thumb regarding signs already up and billing. I have a feeling with the tremendous drop in traffic count due to the quarantine and business being shut down customers are not going to pay March-April Invoices. Should we get out front of this by prorating the bills for the last half of March and April. It seems to me that calling customers and offering discounts will preserve good will instead of creating ill will by trying to collect on invoices for these clients. Does insurance cover any of these losses, and does our industry qualify for loans to cover this loss of cash flow that many of us rely on to pay our own bills. We need the bigger companies to step up and get themselves and everyone else some relief in this area.

  3. Brad Getter says

    From the roadside standpoint – ye old highway bulletin – I predict similarities to 9/11 and its recession. People stopped traveling for an entire year, “stay-cationed” (great for Home Depot). Almost overnight my firm’s roadside printing work died off to zero.

    In the likelihood of road tourism drying up, or worse yet, going into default, it is probably best to concentrate on keeping those advertisers and being their partner through this by staying or reducing their obligations while tourism is simply nada. That makes it far easier and cheaper to restart the relationship than to engage in a potential price war with other media or get new sales to replace them. Just my $.02.

  4. Bill Board says

    Thank you Katherine Albert. We own billboards as well and it is a brutal reality when considering the traffic/impression counts the coronavirus has forced on OOH. Let’s not make the situation worse with misleading information.

  5. Bill Board says

    Robert Neighbors, you raise significant points we all should be asking ourselves. And the ‘bigger companies’ or leaders in the OOH Industry should step up taking a leadership role. Seems to me, it is a golden opportunity for OAAA or one of the larger OOH providers to play a pivotal role in helping everyone through the very good questions you have asked. OOH Today and its Directors of the ‘Board Room’ will be tackling these issues in an upcoming podcast this week. Keep an eye out on in our daily newsletter. Thank you for your insightful questions and comments.

  6. Bill Board says

    thank you Brad Getter. We appreciate your insights. These are questions and issues we all must ask ourselves and face soon. As a former employee and friend used to remind me, “a problems does not get better over time.”