Media: Double Standards - Our cross-track is better than your Cromwell Rd

Wild nights out in Amsterdam, snowmobiling in Lapland and mixed Jacuzzis in Palm Springs; who would have thought that outdoor was so much fun?

TOM GODDARD, chief executive, Viacom Outdoor

- What are the implications of the Transport for London review for your business?

As the incumbent operator on the London Underground, this contract is crucially important to Viacom Outdoor. And while it's widely acknowledged that we've done a great job for TfL over the past ten years, we'll have to prove ourselves all over again in the upcoming repitch.

- What do you think has been your most impressive outdoor innovation?

Our dedicated Impact sales team specialises in innovation and creative solutions. Our best and well-documented examples are the Wimbledon tennis sponsorship at Southfields Tube station, orchestrating the Carling busking on the Underground and sponsorship of the New Year's Eve free travel on the Tube.

- When was the last time you had any contact with a creative agency? Do you find it difficult getting meetings to see them?

I've had contact with quite a few creatives lately, especially Jonathan Mildenhall of TBWA\London, who shared some great ideas with me. We also have a creative roadshow that we take out, but we could be doing even more to promote outdoor to the creative community.

- Why do outdoor media owners pay a higher commission than other media? Does this explain why outdoor has experienced such massive growth?

I'm not sure that we are, judging by recent editorial! At absolute cost-level, outdoor has to be effective against other media. The reasons for growth are more related to audience increase, massive investment, better professionals, declining reach of other mass media and the constructive interaction with poster specialists. And people spending more time out of home.

- Do you think there will be more consolidation in outdoor? If so, where will this come from?

More consolidation would enable outdoor to compete even harder with better products and service. So, the answer is yes.

- Where is your best poster site?

Our best poster sites are the cross-track positions on the Underground where people wait on average for three minutes a few feet away from the ads. It's great to see more and more advertisers really using the power of this huge captive canvas so well. T-sides on buses - fantastic.

- What do you most like to do outdoors?

Skiing and shooting. Looking at the latest great creative on outdoor.

- Who do you most admire and why?

Nelson Mandela. He never shows the slightest feeling of bitterness for the injustices he's suffered. Amazing.

- How did you come to be in media?

Totally unplanned. I needed a paying job to get away from my Irish Catholic mother so I took the first job I was offered.

- What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you at work?

Ask Mike Baker about a night out we had in Amsterdam last year!

- What's your biggest extravagance?

Bacon butties from the Good Fare Cafe in Camden. Indulging the sales team with my music renditions at our annual sales conferences. Recently, the sports car I bought at Nabs' fantastic dinner earlier this month.

JEREMY MALE, chief executive, EMEA, JCDecaux

- What are the implications of the Transport for London review for your business?

Outdoor is characterised by high-value long-term contracts. They don't come much bigger than TfL, recently quoted as a billion-pound contract with huge implications for us and the UK outdoor scene. Contracts of this size are hard fought but, as an industry, the players can still sit round the same table to enact marketing plans to the benefit of the medium as a whole.

- What do you think has been your most impressive outdoor innovation?

The key point has been the blurring of the lines of what constitutes outdoor. Tesco TV is part of the out-of-home media mix but is both in-store and screen-based, with ten- second ad breaks. This is just one example of innovation that is adding value to the sector and delivering new media choices to advertisers.

- When was the last time you had any contact with a creative agency? Do you find it difficult getting meetings to see them?

We employ a team of people solely to communicate with the creative and strategic agencies. In March, we are holding an Outdoor Innovate exhibition where all that is new in outdoor will be showcased. The guest list is full of creative agency personnel, keen to understand how effective, flexible and creative you can be with outdoor.

- Why do outdoor media owners pay a higher commission than other media? Does this explain why outdoor has experienced such massive growth?

I believe the growth in outdoor is down to four factors: first, the media owners have invested in the quality of the product; second, the UK population is spending more time out of home; third, the fragmentation of other media channels is reducing their potency; and last, the launch of Postar has brought credible audience measurement to the medium, demonstrating its true value.

- Do you think there will be more consolidation in outdoor? If so, where will this come from?

There has been consolidation on the buying and selling side in the UK. Unencumbered by the regulatory hurdles that impact other media, in Europe the three global media owners, JCDecaux, Viacom and Clear Channel, now account for 60 per cent of all outdoor. Further consolidation in the UK is inevitable.

- Where is your best poster site?

Our landmark site at Old Street, the column in Sloane Square or the Showcase site on the Cromwell Road. If pushed, it would have to be the Heathrow Welcome Site at the end of the spur road sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland - great creative, huge impact, perfect placement.

- What do you most like to do outdoors?

While ignoring the obvious shag inference ... racing a snowmobile at 50 miles per hour across a frozen lake on the JCDecaux annual trip to Lapland takes some beating.

- Who do you most admire and why?

Anyone who holds down a big job in media and still finds time and energy to give something back to the industry.

- How did you come to be in media?

An ad in The Sunday Times and much blagging.

- What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you at work?

Watching Clive Punter misread the "mixed" Jacuzzi dress code while on a TDI sales conference in Palm Springs. Maybe you should ask him about it.

- What's your biggest extravagance?

Many and varied, but with two under-threes they are likely to be somewhat curtailed in the future.

Topics