The Three Forces Driving Disruption in OOH

This is a four part series exploring the blurred lines between digital and OOH.

It’s an exciting time for out of home (OOH) location-marketing. The medium is at the beginning of a revolution that will change it completely. OOH is the last traditional media to be disrupted, and there are thre macro forces driving this: consumer media habits, advertiser demands, and technological advancements.

Force 1: Consumer Media Habits

The way people consume media has changed, and advertisers have modified their approach to media:

  • The TV-buying model evolved as consumers moved away from broadcast TV to Time-Shifted Viewing. Advertisers are rethinking their video strategy as no longer just TV; consumers expect content to be viewed on multiple devices any time of the day.
  • The traditional print business model was decimated over a decade ago as consumers stopped paying for print editions and demanded free real-time publishing
  • We’ve shifted toward online music streaming, and smart advertisers will consider a holistic audio approach as more than just radio.

The biggest difference to the way consumers spend time out of the home is this: their heads are down staring at their phones when they’re out and about.

Ten years ago I was sitting on the train in my hometown Sydney, Australia. I observed all 15 people on the carriage were staring blankly out the window. I noticed something similar last week on the subway in New York. However every single passenger had their head down staring at the screen in front of them.

The convergence of mobile and OOH offers an opportunity to use mobile data to plan, buy, activate, and measure media. We should be rethinking about OOH through the lenses of a “location marketing” strategy that incorporates mobile.

Force 2: Advertiser Demands

With changing consumer habits, increased competition, ad blockers on the rise, and an increase in premium ad-free subscriptions, brands are expecting more from media:

  • More ways to stand out in a crowded landscape
  • More data techniques to understand who and where an audience is
  • More methods to attribute the success of advertising
  • More ways to integrate media channels

OOH will not be relevant in tomorrow’s media landscape if it does not embrace these expectations. OOH’s share of media will stay stagnant or decline, the perception of the industry as out of touch.

Force 3: Technological Advancement

The pace of change in technology is unprecedented.

  • Smartphones have only been in the mainstream for nine years but have completely changed our lives; we’re addicted to them. Newer smartphones are enabled with faster processors, fingerprint technology and retina scanning. In the future we’ll see advanced voice control, in-built projectors, augmented reality, 3D screens. The possibilities for OOH integration are exciting.
  • The rapid rollout of digital screens offers more chances to use digital media to connect and tell a story. All of the key OOH media owners have taken steps to deploy more smart screens embedded with sensors and interactivity.
  • Advancements in machine-learning mean that we will soon see more object-recognition in OOH. A recent Chevrolet Malibu campaign utilized vehicle recognition cameras to identify the front grille of an oncoming car and display competitive messaging 1000 feet down the road on a digital billboard. Facial recognition technologies such as Quividi’s VidiStudios allow one-to-one demographic and emotion targeting in a pedestrian environment.

Consumers have changed the way they consume media, and this will only continue. Advertisers are demanding and expecting more from their advertising dollars. Exciting technological advancements mean we need to rethink the traditional boundaries and perceptions of “OOH.”

We should embrace these forces, not fear them. OOH companies should develop capabilities that will help them survive and thrive. Doing so ensures that OOH can evolve to be relevant in the future.


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Modified: 2 years