The overall growth of outdoor over the past five years has partly been driven by the efforts of outdoor contractors to offer advertisers high-quality "landmark" sites, where much of JCDecaux's growth has come from this year.
Its premium offering, Premiere, has grown into an £11 million brand over the past 12 months. Unmissable blockbuster sites such as the giant billboard at Clapham Junction station and the slickly designed Premiere Landmark in the middle of the Old Street roundabout have helped grow the brand by 28 per cent year on year. The secret of its success, which bodes well for the future of outdoor, let alone for JCDecaux's coffers, has been to convince big-spending high-profile advertisers that top-quality posters can help build their brands.
Premiere aside, three elements of JCDecaux's business model have helped drive its growth this year. Now in its seventh year, its tracking study, Insite, has helped Unilever, Masterfoods and Palmolive to understand the long-term effects of its outdoor campaigns.
More visible, though, has been the success of Innovate, JCDecaux's creative solutions unit. Renault, Smart, Nestle, Disney, Bloomberg and a lengthy list of others have signed up this year, each wanting more original media ideas to help them achieve standout.
JCDecaux also set up its Central Trading Unit this year. The division was designed to improve the way its inventory is allocated (using hi-tech digital white boards) and, in doing so, serve its bigger longer-term partners with greater speed and efficiency. Then there's JCDecaux's burgeoning relationship with Tesco. The two companies jumped into bed on a point-of-sale six-sheet deal five years ago and the partnership is now a £9.1 million business.
But more interesting is the launch of Tesco TV, widely heralded as one of the most important media launches of 2004. JCDecaux - rather than a TV sales house - is the sales partner for this all-new digital point-of-sale medium, which has got industry analysts across Europe, let alone the UK, rather excited.
The company predicts its revenues will grow by 9.4 per cent this year (to £200 million) on top of 9.1 per cent growth the year before and 10.9 per cent in 2002. Much of this good fortune can be put down to securing long-term relationships with clients. There's Coca-Cola, which moved $400,000 from print to outdoor this August, and Unilever, which, after having the creative of its posters pre-tested, increased its spend with JCDecaux by 20 per cent this year.
JCDecaux has, once more, outperformed the UK's display ad market, which is expect to grow by 6.4 per cent by the end of this year.