OOH ‘Word on the Street’ Today —
#SubPrimeDOOH, Ageism in OOH, and Building a Mega OOH Company
by Brent Baer, Publisher, OOH Today
It has been too long since we did a ‘Word on the Street’.
These are my opinions. Don’t go out and do anything rash after reading.
I trust you will be challenged by the 3 thoughts below and look forward to your comments on any one of the subjects.
This from Kevin Shute @ThatKevinShute
“Love these-worthy additions to UK #DOOH landscape
Why?-because they’re ‘Head On’ to prevailing traffic flows maximising impact & advertiser ROI
Anything less ,i.e. ‘Parallel’ (or slightly angled) is #SubPrimeDOOH
Wouldn’t build them, lease them, sell them or advertise on them twitter.com/ClearChannelUK…”
OOH Today would add to Mr. Shute’s comments, same goes for static OOH as well. But still many new billboards are being built seemingly because they can be. Just because they can be built does not mean they should be built. Shute is talking about the UK. We should not lose sight (pun intended) of the same as builders, sellers and buyers of billboards in the USA as well.
2. Ageism in OOH
Is there ageism in OOH? Perhaps not any more or less than the Ad Industry itself. Oh, so that makes it OK. I will not elaborate but the reality is clear. There is an abundance of experienced and talented OOH men and women looking for work right now in their 50s. Yes, 50s. 60’s as well. And yet the economy is not that rough, OOH is struggling and sadly celebrating with 2% increases.
3. Building a Mega OOH Company
Arte Moreno is substantively investing in both Clear Channel ( 7+%) and OUTFRONT Media (5+%).
Moreno would probably tell us, not that we have spoken to him, ‘Why not? OOH is a good investment’. And we wouldn’t argue that point. Certainly Moreno, who is a multi- billionaire, knows wealth, investments and finance better than most. There are a lot of places he could invest, like Shohei Ohtani. Remember Moreno owns the MLB’s Los Angeles Angels. Yet he chooses OOH, investing considerable dollars with two of the BIG 3. We would argue that he knows OOH better than any living person on the earth. And that would be an arguably true statement. He also has the means. Not arguable. Yep, I am going there but read on.
History of building a Mega OOH Company
Back in the late ’90’s, 1997 to be more precise, Moreno bought 3M National Advertising Company, which at the time was the number 3 Outdoor company in the US, it bears repeating, the NUMBER 3, provider of OOH in the US. Moreno had just completed a purchase the previous year, July 1996, of the largest Outdoor Company in North America, Number Uno, Gannett Outdoor.
If anyone in the Industry had suggested a hint of the Number 1 and Number 3 billboard companies being bought and owned by one company, (Outdoor Systems Inc., a much smaller competitor) that person suggesting such, would have been laughed out of the room. I mean howled out of existence. Literally, shouted at in disapproval in order to prevent the speaker from being heard any further of such nonsense. No possible way would that have any plausibility to it!
There were too many obstacles. Justice issues. The where with all of putting together the financing. Joining the two completely different cultures and actually getting their arms around and manage one single Mega Outdoor Company. Nobody at that time, would have even dreamed a merging of 3M National and Gannett Outdoor would remotely be possible. I know, as I had just left Gannett after 10 years of employ there, and a few years prior to Moreno’s moves. It was unimaginable.
Yet Moreno, did just that.
Here’s a thought —One Mega OOH Company
If there is a person who could put together CCO and OUT, as one Mega OOH Company, making that happen; it would be Arte Moreno. If you’re following the miserable stock values of the two, their struggles with revenues and that is just the tip of the concerns, maybe not so speculative thinking.
To paraphrase the Simon and Garfunkel song, Mrs. Robinson, ‘Where are you going Mr. Moreno? Our Industry turns its lonely eyes to you’. The irony of the baseball connection shouldn’t be lost either.