There's been a lot of hype about the increasing role that digital technologies are playing in driving forward the whole out-of-home sector.
Quite rightly so - some areas of the medium are changing beyond all recognition.
But this phenomenon is also being accompanied by a quiet (if, in some cases, related) revolution that many observers believe may prove even more significant in the long run.
Many of the opportunities have been around for a while - but previously they represented a ragbag of opportunities filed under "ambient". Now the major media owners are establishing them in the mainstream and outdoor's third sector has been born. It's called destination media.
The notion is that outdoor's focus has traditionally been on catching people on the move. Destination media is about capturing their attention when they arrive - whether it is at sporting stadiums, pubs and clubs or the hairdresser's.
But by far the biggest driver of this has been the retail environment.
A decade ago, no-one had really spotted its potential - now, retailers and media owners alike are talking up "the retail channel": a package of media opportunities from six-sheet posters to till dividers. It's an approach that utterly supersedes the old notion of point-of-sale marketing.
Notions of the retail channel are barely two years old now and the concept was helped massively by all the hoop-la there has been in the past couple of years about Tesco TV and other screen-based in-store advertising systems.
Paradoxically, perhaps, these have all proved to be somewhat disappointing.
Tesco's rivals have largely mothballed their launch plans and although Tesco itself has gone ahead with (most of) its installation programme, demand has been lower than hoped and the results for advertisers have proved disappointing.
That's all about to change, according to Spencer Berwin, the managing director of sales at JCDecaux, which sells Tesco TV. He says: "It's a brand- new medium - there's just nothing comparable to it. There has been a learning curve, both creatively and in terms of how agencies plan and buy it - but the fact remains that it is already a success."
Chris O'Donnell, the managing director at Destination Media Group at Kinetic, agrees: "It is now finding its place. People needed to understand it a bit better and gain a feel for how it stood alongside other in-store media. In the earlier days, they tended to market it as a form of TV, as in broadcast TV. Well it's clearly not TV. The way they were selling it by zone wasn't right either. Now they have a better understanding of the way the audience behaves and are better-placed to advise people on the sort of creative that works. They're getting punchier executions."
The very fact that Kinetic has set up a dedicated group to handle it shows how important the sector has become.
O'Donnell explains: "It's very important to a lot of clients. The media owners are a lot more professional. For instance, we've seen the emergence of Redbus and SAS in the area of shopping baskets, trolleys and floor graphics in stores. They're not only more professional, but they also have more compelling arguments and better research. They're taken a lot more seriously by clients. They are very keen on exploiting expertise in the retail environment."
Major brands have been reassessing how the instore environment dovetails with their other media work. They've also been thinking of the totality of the opportunity - from the car-park to the check-out - rather than thinking narrowly of the footfall numbers within certain individual locations within a shopping centre.
And there's some interesting research to draw on these days. For instance, studies from ID Magasin, which has thousands of hours of video of people shopping. It's now pretty much accepted that 80 per cent of decisions made once a customer is inside a store are subsconscious. Having a presence at that stage can be a crucial determining factor in a purchase.
There's a better understanding of the relative importance of delivering calls to action versus branding and it's now overlapping with below-the-line trade activity. Conventionally, media owner activity stopped at the car-park and retailer promotional activity took over. Now the media owners are getting further in.
That's an incredibly recent development. Six-sheet poster sites around the retail margins only started appearing eight years ago. The notion of the retail channel is barely two years old. There has been a huge growth in this sector but the opportunity is still hugely undervalued. The revolution has only just begun.
O'Donnell concludes: "Instore media and below the line now work much closer together and clients definitely want to see more of that. Their own customer teams and their consumer marketing people are now talking to each other. There are now some incredibly interesting case studies in place and some very convincing numbers about effectiveness."
Twenty-five million adults in the UK (more than half of the adult population) visited a high-street bar brand at least once in the past year. The target market is 18- to 35-year-old adults. Chicago Rock Cafe is aimed at a broad age range, including those over 30. Jumpin Jaks is aimed at a broad age range, but focused on under-25s. The majority of people who visit bars do so at least once a week.
Source: Mintel High Street Pub and Bar Report.
FOOD RETAILERS' MARKET SHARE
COMPANY Estimated actual
market share %
Marks & Spencer 3.2
Co-operative Group 2.9
Spar UK 2.0
WHERE CONSUMERS DO THEIR MAIN SHOPPING
Asda (%) Morrisons (%) Sainsbury (%) Tesco (%)
All 19 12 16 30
Men 17 13 15 29
Women 21 12 17 30
15-19 15 15 14 20
20-24 26 7 13 40
25-34 24 13 19 30
35-44 21 12 16 36
45-54 22 12 18 28
55-64 14 13 17 28
65+ 13 13 14 24
AB 12 11 23 36
C1 18 14 19 29
C2 22 15 13 28
D 26 11 11 28
E 25 10 8 20
Source: BMRB/Mintel. Base: 1,519 adults aged 15+