Outdoor experiences 15 per cent revenue growth in fourth quarter

The outdoor industry is celebrating an improved end to 2002, with fourth-quarter revenues up by more than 15 per cent on last year.

Figures released from the Outdoor Advertising Association reveal that bookings for the last quarter of 2002 came in at £187.8 million - an increase of 15.5 per cent on the same period last year. This means that fourth-quarter revenues have returned to the levels experienced in 2000.

The total outdoor advertising revenue for 2002 was £690.1 million, which was a small increase of 1.9 per cent on the previous year's total revenue.

This figure was also just £7 million shy of the total advertising revenue figure for 2000.

According to the OAA, the fourth-quarter growth was driven by the entertainment and media categories. Drink, travel and transport and retail also all showed substantial year-on-year increases.

Nigel Mansell, the managing director of the outdoor specialist Concord, believes that the first quarter of 2003 also looks promising, with FMCG advertisers contributing to an impressive double-digit year-on-year growth.

However, Alan James, the chief executive of the OAA, expressed some caution.

"As for this year, the first quarter seems to be going well but it is too early to say whether we can expect high growth to be maintained throughout the whole year," he said.

James added that the results vindicated research carried out by Vivid Research last year, in which 85 per cent of the media agencies questioned named outdoor as the most likely medium to increase revenue.