JCDecaux sees 'two-screen future' between outdoor and smartphone

Outdoor media owner says creative works well across both DOOH and mobile.

Wiles: 'We need to keep talking about DOOH'
Wiles: 'We need to keep talking about DOOH'

There is a growing interplay between public screens such as out-of-home and private screens such as smartphones, JCDecaux told UK advertisers at its annual upfront presentation.

"We look at it as a ‘two-screen future’," Dallas Wiles, co-chief executive of JCDecaux UK, said, explaining how Britain’s biggest out-of-home media owner sees the public screen, which he said can be any kind of digital or "classic" OOH site, "working in conjunction with a mobile screen".

Wiles cited research by Mike Follett, managing director at Lumen Research, who used eye-tracking to show a 52% increase in ad engagement among consumers on social media if they had already seen an OOH ad with similar content first.

Combining OOH with social increases spontaneous brand recall by 125%, according to the study. 

Some of the creative works well across both DOOH and mobile, Wiles added, pointing out how six-second video and vertical short-form video ads suit both the giant, public screen and the smartphone screen.

JCDecaux first identified what it called a "brand gap" – a tendency for advertisers to invest too much in short-term activation and neglect brand-building activity – 12 months ago and it published an updated study, called Brand Gap 2, for its 2019 upfront.

There is further evidence that there has been an "over-reliance on activation" that has led to a decline in brand value, Wiles said, citing a BrandZ report last month that found a 3% drop for the top 75 UK brands. 

"Advertisers are realising that focusing on activation is not the be-all and end-all," he said.

JCDecaux holds Transport for London’s bus shelter contract and it has told investors that the advertising ban on high fat, salt or sugar products, which came into force in February, has "impacted" the company.

Revenues fell 1.5% on an organic basis to €171.9m (£154.5m) in the first six months of 2019.

Wiles said the company’s focus is to "control the controllables" while navigating issues such as HFSS and Brexit uncertainty.

He described the UK OOH market as "changing" and said investment in new infrastructure and training meant he was optimistic that the sector has "started to prepare for the future".

JCDecaux has spent £125m over the past five years in new infrastructure and now has more than 4,000 DOOH screens and claims to over-index in digital with 42% of DOOH eyeballs delivered in the UK, against its estimated OOH market share of about 36%.

It is also offering training in "a two-screen future" for all of its staff across the business. 

Wiles added that "the eyes and ears [of the wider media industry] are all taking notice of our sector", pointing to Global’s triple acquisition of Exterion Media, Primesight and Outdoor Plus, and Clear Channel’s recent upfront presentation about greater investment in eco-friendly OOH sites.

He said: "If the category grows, everyone in that category should take their fair share of growth."

Wiles went on: "We need to continue to create the hype cycle. We need to keep talking about DOOH – not what and how it does, but why would you use DOOH, and also it’s getting into those agency groups and talking to the entire agency and the digital arms of the business, not just DOOH."

He and Chris Collins became co-chief executives of JCDecaux in the UK at the end of March, when Spencer Berwin and Philip Thomas stepped down.

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