The poster industry is again being put under the spotlight by the
Office of Fair Trading, which is looking at the size and definition of
the outdoor market.
The OFT has written to agencies, advertisers and outdoor companies
asking for their views on the structure of the poster market.
Ostensibly, the OFT is investigating a request from the poster
contractor, Mills & Allen, to be released from a statutory undertaking
given by its parent, Avenir Havas Media SA, back in 1992. This required
the company to divest large-format poster sites when it acquired the
poster contractor, Dolphin.
M&A has asked for the restrictions to be lifted so it can be free to
reacquire any of the divested sites.
owever, M&A is now up for sale and the OFT is understood to have been
approached by a number of potential purchasers keen to know whether they
would be allowed to buy M&A under current MMC rules. Clear Channel,
which owns the rival poster contractor, More Group, and TDI are said to
be among the interested parties.
The OFT is now asking interested parties whether it is still appropriate
to divide the outdoor sector into three main markets - roadside,
transport and others - and by panel size.
The letter also asks whether there are issues concerning the
geographical concentration of ownership, and if releasing M&A from its
1992 undertakings would have an adverse impact on competition in the