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Outdoor Industry's Growth a Sight for More Eyes
By: Jeff Louis
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CheveroletOutdoor)VoltA recently released report from the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) indicates that revenues increased year over year for the first time since 2008, marking a 3.6 percent rise to $1.88 billion in the second quarter this year. It marks the largest bump since 2007, when the medium saw a 6 percent spike.

MagnaGlobal forecasted a two percent increase.

The OAAA distributes revenue statements quarterly that include data from studies conducted by Miller Kaplan and Kantar media, outdoor posting affidavits, and media projections from other syndicated sources to estimate spending trends for billboards, transit advertising, movie/cinema ads, and alternative outdoor mediums.

According to Nancy Fletcher, OAAA president, and CEO, monthly spending in June increased 7.1 percent, and the industry is encouraged the positive growth trend will continue.

“June was a great month for the industry,” said Fletcher. “We hope it’s a sign of things to come.”

Part of the growth stems from the institution of industry-wide traffic-measurement standards, initiated by the Traffic Audit Bureau (TAB) in conjunction with outdoor providers, media buyers, and advertisers. TAB is an independent nonprofit provider of standardized circulation measurement for the out-of-home industry that recently introduced Eyes-On Ratings, a new method of achieving more accurate traffic measurements.

It compiles data from the U.S. Census and Mediamark Research Surveys, along with information gained conducting over 15,000 "eye-tracking" video studies of drivers, riders, and pedestrians viewing outdoor signage. Prior to Eyes-On, TAB relied on Daily Effective Circulation, which used a formula to derive the total number of persons -- ages 18 and older -- who potentially viewed an outdoor message.

Agencies are continuing to think creatively when it comes to out-of-home advertising, using imagery or add-ons to make billboards interactive with the environment and consumers.Marilyn_Billboard

Finally, the growth results from technology: Digital outdoor (DO) billboards are more prevalent. DO is expected to reach $4 billion in revenue by 2014, nearly 40 percent greater than the 2009 expenditure of $2.47 billion. Additionally, as location-based media (FourSquare, Gowalla) grows, outdoor advertisers have opportunities to integrate the two mediums. Radio is another possible source for growth, coordinating on-air commercials with digital signage.

Similar to radio/billboard integration, Mini Cooper launched a 2007 billboard test that "spoke" to over 1,000 Mini owners in New York City, Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco. The effort, described as "an ever-changing array of unique, personal, playful, and unexpected messages," used outdoor boards programmed to identify Mini Coopers through coded signals embedded into the car's key fob. Personal messages are displayed to Cooper owners upon driving by a "test board." If a Mini convertible owner and musician named Bob, were to pass the special boards, the signs might display, "Bob, driving at the speed of sound."

Instead of bowing to critics who once claimed that outdoor was an unmeasurable dinosaur, the industry's taken the proactive approach and experienced rebirth; it looks like nothing but open roads ahead.

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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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