OVAB becomes DPAA: What to make of it

March 24, 2010 by Dave Haynes

So, what to make of news that the Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau is now the Digital Place-Based Advertising Association?

OVAB, which was easy to say, is now the D P Double A, which I guess is OK.

I always thought the Video part of the handle was a little out of step with where things were, and where they are going. Place-based is an oft-used term, so at least it is not invented. And at least it is not narrowcast or captive or one of many other terms people have tried to add to the lexicon.

I don’t sell advertising, phew, but my understanding from the hardened souls who do is that digital out of home is pretty much baked in as a term with the agency and brand community. So why not something with DOOH or DO???

The DPAA legal team will now have to battle angry lawyers from the Draught Proofing Advisory Association and the Daily Pennsylvanian Alumni Association. And then there’s the ill-considered reality that this new DPAA has just stepped on the tails of the Doberman Pincher Alliance of America. What were they thinking?

More seriously, president Suzanne La Forgia told MediaPost the name change was spurred by place-based more apty dexcribing what members netyworks do.

The mission of DPAA, she told MediaPost, will not emphasize things like static digital billboards, point-of-purchase media, “shopper media,” or mobile media, which may fall under the charter of other trade associations, but will be aimed specifically at the type of advertisers and agency executives who “influence television investment and digital investment.”

To some extent, the repositioning of the DPAA reflects a broader rethinking that has been influencing Madison Avenue, which is starting to move away from the term “television” in favor of “video” to describe the multiplatform nature of its long-dominant medium of choice. That rethinking also reflects the push by many traditional TV companies into online, mobile, and increasingly, out-of-home locations. And it’s no coincidence that some of DPAA’s members include CBS, Nielsen and Turner Broadcasting.

La Forgia says DPAA won’t be turning its back on other platforms, and considers things like mobile and online part of the interactive backbone that enables some of the programming and advertising features of the place-based video networks that it represents. It just won’t be representing them as distinct advertising platforms.

There’s probably a lot more of a story to this and it will probably trickle out. What we do know is that the organization appears to still be trying to find its way. There have been as many as three dozen members in the former OVAB, and that’s down by a third in what is supposed to be a high-growth sector. The price of entry was originally about $20,000 but is now twice that and apparently going up some more. A look at the old roster (gotta love the Wayback Machine) suggests business failure  and acquisition have had roles in member erosion.

At that kind of fee, the answer to the “What’s in it for me?” question has to be extraordinarily powerful.

Is this pitch worth $40-$50K? Membership in OVAB provides an unrivaled opportunity for business opportunities and strategic alliances, as well as a forum for discussing operational challenges in the out-of-home video advertising space. Our membership is collaborative and committed to supporting the success and growth of the industry which means you, the digital out-of-home video network operators and supporters.


Advocacy, standards and a unified voice are definitely needed for networks chasing ad dollars, so I certainly hope the change injects some new energy, focus and attention.

Leave a comment