Media Lifeline: Outdoor specialists

The big players have taken turns to revise their outdoor arrangements in a bid to lead the sector.

NOVEMBER 2002: A new wave of consolidation in the outdoor media market begins when OMD moves its outdoor planning and buying out of Outdoor Connection (a joint venture between OMD, PHD and Alban Communications, an independently owned company run by Alan Simmons) and into the Aegis-owned Posterscope.

JUNE 2003: OMD and Alban sell their stakes in Outdoor Connection to PHD and the brand effectively disappears. Alban (which also owns Concord) forms a join venture with Interpublic's poster specialist, IPM, to create a buying unit called Helix. Meanwhile, WPP has continued to consolidate its group outdoor business into its own poster unit, Portland.

JULY 2004: And WPP makes further moves to dominate the sector when it acquires PPL, an independent company with a 20 per cent share of the UK market, and merges it with Portland. The new unit, called Kinetic, is headed up by the PPL boss, Eric Newnham.

AUGUST 2005: Now Aegis moves to safeguard Posterscope's market leadership by acquiring Alban/Concord and its roster of blue-chip clients including Nestle, Masterfoods and Unilever (which soon defects back to Kinetic). With OMD in the Aegis camp, IPG represented by IPM and WPP forging ahead with Kinetic, Publicis now has ZenithOptimedia using Posterscope and Starcom MediaVest Group aligned to Kinetic.

OCTOBER 2008: Having begun consolidating aspects of its group media operations into VivaKi earlier in the year, Publicis now looks to launch its own outdoor specialist operation - ostensibly in non-UK European markets, particularly those where the outdoor specialist market is not well developed and loyalties are not so entrenched.

FAST FORWARD: November 2009 But VivaKi Outdoor is soon launched in the UK - and now Omnicom looks to follow suit and rationalise its arrangements. There are rumours that Posterscope's Annie Rickard is being targeted to set up OMG Outdoor Connection.

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