Is OMG's hiring of Talon a defining moment for outdoor?, Thursday, 07 February 2013 08:00AM

OMG's decision to place its business with Talon could signal change in the outdoor sector, Alasdair Reid writes.


YES Colin Gottlieb, chief executive EMEA, Omnicom Media Group

"There will be an acceleration in the use of dynamic location-based digital advertising, and digital out-of-home is perfectly placed to play a key part in this. We all have to make the appropriate investment to be at the cutting edge of change."

NO Glen Wilson, managing director, Posterscope

"The real tipping point came more than five years ago when the [outdoor] space, as well as consumers, became more connected, more digital and more social. What OMG’s stake in Talon represents is ongoing confidence in the medium."

MAYBE Nick Mawditt, global director of insight and marketing, Kinetic

"No-one should be surprised when business moves – clients are always reviewing their situation. Will this [OMG move] lead to a changing of the guard? We’ll see. We can only say we are as committed as ever to our clients and agencies."

YES Roy Jeans, chief executive, Rapport

"I would argue that this is a highly significant development. There are now four [outdoor specialist agency] players and the potential in the near future for five or six. [The OMG deal] will make everyone re-examine their situation."

Two weeks ago, there were just three outdoor media specialists of note – Kinetic, Posterscope and Rapport – but, in reality, the market was a duopoly, dominated by the Aegis-owned Posterscope and WPP’s Kinetic, each holding roughly 40 per cent of the market.

Lately, the assumption has been that these two had acquired an unbreakable hold on the market. But last week, Omnicom Media Group stunned the sector by announcing it was shifting its £140 million outdoor spend out of Posterscope and into Talon Outdoor, the previously minor outfit headed by Eric Newnham, the former Kine-tic global chief executive. OMG has also taken equity in its new partner. Could this be outdoor’s milestone moment?

Colin Gottlieb, the chief executive EMEA of OMG, points out that the outdoor medium is evolving fast, and the challenge is to be well-placed to take advantage. He explains: "We are seeing some of the big high-tech firms [such as AOL, Facebook and Google] looking to pioneer multi-screen research. The question is, therefore, how this can be extended to out-of-home."

However, Glen Wilson, the managing director of Posterscope, argues that existing specialists are already well-placed to make the most of the digital revolution. He states: "We have focused on building an out-of-home proposition designed for convergence and built for speed. Last year, we created more than 100 campaigns that leveraged the out-of-home ecosystem."

Meanwhile, Nick Mawditt, Kinetic’s global director of insight and marketing, welcomes increased competition, but says some observers still have an outdated view of the trading landscape. He adds: "The notion of a duopoly has never been an important part of Kinetic’s USP, which is about sophisticated planning tools and understanding audiences on the move."

Roy Jeans, the chief executive of Rapport, concludes: "Outdoor is an increasingly important media channel, and large agency groups subject it to a greater focus. [The OMG move] is interesting in the context of Postar 2 research due out soon. That has already sparked a data-mining arms race and we’ll continue to see people investing to make the most of the new data."

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