by Sarah Druhan, Editorial Intern
For the first time in four years, OOH ratings bureau Geopath has officially announced an increase in their membership rates. It’s easy to see how this decision could arouse questions across the Industry: what exactly does this mean? What does this spell out for the future of Geopath—and what could it mean for the OOH sphere as a whole? Luckily for us, Geopath president Dylan Mabin is more than willing to be transparent.
“These changing rates will mean a 5% increase for media operators, and a 10% increase for agencies,” Mabin explains. “We’re really looking to get back to an 80/20 balance here, which is what we see in a lot of other rating companies…what we’re ultimately trying to do here is position Geopath to better build a more solid, data-driven funding model in preparation for the next economic year.”
Geopath’s membership is estimated by Mabin to be about 2/3 media operators and 1/3 agencies and advertisers, adding up to about 400 members total. While it’s ultimately members of the 11-person Board of Directors that cast the final vote on every policy executed by Geopath, Mabin assures that navigating these raised rates was a matter that had all hands on deck. “We have these kinds of conversations well ahead of any Board meetings,” he continues.
“We didn’t want this rate increase to come on too aggressively…we’ve been working a lot with PwC to scope out the cost of our vision over the next two years, and to update the policy around revenue reporting to build a more equitable funding model for the organization. We made sure to put out a lot of feelers beforehand—to our members and to insight committees—and what people generally seemed to be saying was ‘Yeah, we can live with 5%.’
“We didn’t want this rate increase to come on too aggressively…
“We’re planning to go even further with these conversations about our organizational structure and bylaws within the next year. But the idea for now is that as OOH evolves, we have to evolve with it. At Geopath, we’re really in this position where people look to us for these matters of inventory auditing and audience impressions. We need to always be figuring out ways we can do these things faster and better.”
As we move further into a period of increasing economic uncertainty, mixed reactions to this news are understandable and perhaps expected. The last time Geopath raised its rates, in 2018, was indeed met with a small yet present amount of protest. But Mabin’s focus seems to be on building a structure that works on both sides of the Geopath aisle, benefiting everyone as best as it can in the midst of a changing economy. “The biggest thing for us is keeping an open dialogue with everybody as we try to make a more flexible service,” says Mabin.
“What we’re focusing on is making our organization as efficient as possible so that next year can be completely transformative. And that’s going to be challenging, and maybe not everything is going to be perfect. But we can certainly do our best to make things as equitable as we can.”