2011: The Road Ahead – Part 2

January 3, 2011 by Dave Haynes

A LOT of page views and good feedback about the look-ahead piece last week, as well as a couple of later submissions that I have added on here from international firms.

Andrew Wood, CEO, Al Barq Digital (Abu Dhabi Media DOOH)

A blank piece of paper and a great opportunity to take all the learnings, experiences and challenges that the Digital Out of Home (DOOH) sector has faced in more mature markets that have gone before, is the best way to describe how the landscape in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region is looking for the year ahead.

Some of things we’re already witnessing and that we’re likely to see more of in 2011 are as follows:

Regulation, standardisation and best practice guidance are coming. Planning is already underway to launch a regulatory body for the MENA region similar to those in operation in Europe and North America and we hear that a formal announcement is expected in January. This will bring standardisation and guidelines to the newly emerging sector and will help drive much needed credibility. We’re also hoping it will bring some new high quality events, conferences and workshops to the region, that will have appeal to people working in the sector internationally, and which will put MENA firmly on the DOOH map.

Measurement and accountability is a hot topic, as it is globally. Vendors are already testing new measurement and counting tools in digital signage solutions, to provide a a standard trading currency for advertisers. Leading research firms such as IPSOS and Nielsen are also actively innovating and launching new research projects in this area. Our region faces additional challenges, with more complex “counting” algorithms required to accurately measure women dressed in Abayas and Jilbabs (the traditional dress in the region), which increases lead times for implementation, but we’re seeing good developments in this area.

• Impressive and innovative large digital formats are popping up across the region. From digital billboards along the busiest highways in Dubai, to architectural billboards in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; innovative and eye catching formats will continue to dominate in 2011 as confidence in the medium and its ability to impact consumers continues to rise.

Sector research at long last. When launching our own business, we found that there was no research on the DOOH landscape in the MENA region at all. With the launch of a regulatory body, and partnerships between DOOH businesses and research companies, 2011 looks set to see the first industry research and insights published.

JC Decaux continue to strengthen their position in the region, as well as globally, as the leader of DOOH solutions in airports. With recent announcements seeing them win 26 airports in Saudi Arabia and those to the new Dubai International airport, the company are already testing out new digital formats and as they roll out and go live in the new airports, we expect to see more new solutions and opportunities for advertisers.

• The high penetration of mobile phones in the region (the average consumer has 3), is driving location based marketing and a higher degree of interactivity in DOOH solutions. Agencies are actively approaching us with briefs that request this higher degree of interactivity between brands and consumers, so there is real demand, which we think will continue to grow, as they see the benefits in driving a deeper engagement and conversation with consumers, whilst also actively measuring and learning from it.

New entrants to the market – we’re not the only ones to see the opportunity in this region for a DOOH business, so we expect to see international players making their entrance into the region and some new start ups emerge.

Christian Vaglio-Giors, CEO, NEO Media Group

DOOH is entering into a new era in 2011 – The DOOH 2.0 era, in which the following main characteristics are prevailing:

1. Strong market growth: DOOH will grow by a solid double digit figure. The bulk of market growth will come from mature advertising environments including a) Digitalized OOH locations, b) DOOH in transportation and c) DOOH in shopping malls. Non mature advertising environments including specialty retail and nightlife will only be able to grow by tackling local advertising market.

2. Stiffer competition & pressure on margin: OOH giants and pure-DOOH players will now directly compete to be awarded the major concessions in mature verticals (i.e. airport, shopping malls). As a consequence cost of such concessions will increase and lower DOOH operators margin.

3. New formats: DOOH will shift from standard formats (i.e. 16:9, 6-sheet) to original formats that fits the environment where they are rolled out. Banner displays, giant displays, column displays, branding zones combining screens and large static formats are some of the expressions that will gain momentum with DOOH 2.0.

4. Improved advertising impact and ROI: DOOH 2.0 will improve advertising impact. Shorter loop programs, improved content experience (e.g. High Definition, instant local feeds …) and higher share of voice (i.e. between 10% to 50%) will deliver better impact and ROI to advertisers.

5. More skills and experience: As DOOH matures, a flow of skilled and media experienced executives is moving from traditional media to DOOH, helping the establishment of the media at institutional media buyers and the development of a strong international DOOH representative organization (i.e. IAB).

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