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Now More Than Ever It’s Time To Be Real  

The Reality of the Recovery of OOH

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Now More Than Ever It’s Time To Be Real  

by Michael Hudes, Head of Growth, Lyft Media

We are living in an environment of difficult choices, ongoing challenges and wishful thinking… grabbing for any positive news to let us know we will be okay once COVID “ends.” The OOH media world is no exception, why would it be after what we experienced as an industry (and survived) over the past 16 months?  A popular refrain I hear among my colleagues is that we deserve to be optimistic and given the recent Earning Announcements of Lamar, Clear Channel, and Outfront, those feelings are justified…to a point.  The reality is that the recovery in our Industry has been uneven. New York City, where we operate our Halo Digital Taxi-top Network is a perfect example of the up and down nature of the rebound in OOH. 


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Media Industry sales chatter might lead you to believe that New York City is, “back to normal”.  It is true that nearly all pandemic restrictions have been lifted, real estate is surging past pre-COVID levels, and weekends have been very strong for the hospitality business.

These positive statistics don’t paint a complete picture of what is happening in the streets today. Midtown and other commuter hubs have not rebounded completely with office occupancy rates still below 25%. Subway traffic is still down about 50% from 2019 levels. Hotel occupancy is 25% less than it was two years ago, and that doesn’t account for the 82 hotels that haven’t re-opened yet.  The tourists which typically fill the streets are mostly missing this summer.  These numbers paint a new pattern of life in NYC at this stage of the pandemic.

While some negative trends persist, this doesn’t mean that New Yorkers aren’t still working and enjoying their lives in the city.  People are still physically here, just actively living their lives in the neighborhoods closer to home. The NYC metro region’s population has actually increased since 2019 by 20,000. More Manhattanites have moved to Brooklyn than anywhere else in the last year. Neighborhoods like 125th Street in Harlem are bustling with activity. This means media tactics that previously worked in traditional NYC hotspots may not be as effective as they once were, for now!     

The Right Media for NYC…Today
Brands need to reevaluate how to reach Out-of-Home audiences in NYC.  Less people in the subway and commercial hubs means more people are out on the street in their neighborhoods. The challenge for media buyers is finding impactful media to reach their audiences with efficient reach and frequency (typically few and far between) in places like Soho, Tribeca, Upper West Side, Cobble Hill, Bushwick, and Astoria. Luckily, Lyft Media offers the perfect solutions to reach your targets in the reality that is New York today. 

Lyft Halo Digital Taxi-Tops
Mobile media has become much more effective with audiences no longer in traditional hotspots reached by commuting. Our fleet of eye-level, high visibility “situationally aware” Halo’s travel into literally every neighborhood in the city and make deploying a highly targeted and efficient media plan extremely easy. Utilizing day parting and/or geofencing allows you to deliver impressions exactly at the right place, at the right time and frequency. The focus should be on crafting location-based messaging with the ability to frequently change messaging to speak directly to your intended audience.

Lyft Citi Bike Stations
In this new environment, street media offers better reach than other formats. Dominate important intersections with Citi Bike dock wraps and kiosk posters.  Stand physically apart from any other advertising with 100% SOV voice. We offer over 1,000 stations across the five Boroughs that give you the flexibility to deliver precisely what and where your brand needs anywhere in the region.

Partnering with Adkom to Deliver Results
Lyft Media and Adkom (our ad sales partner) offer impactful media, scale, and flexibility that almost no other vendors can match through knowledge, experience, and most importantly transparency. Building the right plan is much more than checking availability and filling in a spreadsheet. With dozens of collective years of OOH experience, we understand the effort and complexities that are involved in buying media. There is lots of competition in our space and we strive to be the most efficient and transparent partner. It’s this honest straight shooting that gives brands piece-of-mind to repeatedly renew contracts with us. Together, Lyft Media and Adkom are ready to solve almost any OOH media need you have.

To the audience reading this, just know that I am the farthest thing from a pessimistic person…and that I anxiously await for the NYC that I know and love to return to normal!  If anything, what we have learned during this challenging time is that our neighborhoods matter and our homes even more. From an Industry perspective this is a valuable insight and one that I hope leads to more strategic innovation and opportunities to connect with consumers every day beyond the obvious, traditional Out-of-Home formats.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed belong solely to the author, and not necessarily OOH Today

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