Six-sheets multiply as sales rise

Six-sheet poster sales rose 19 per cent to pounds 141 million in 1999 but a boom in the number of sites threatens to sap demand in the sector.

Six-sheet poster sales rose 19 per cent to pounds 141 million in

1999 but a boom in the number of sites threatens to sap demand in the

sector.



According to a survey released this week by poster buying company Blade,

the total number of six-sheet sites has grown rapidly over the past two

years, from a base of 50,000 at the start of 1998, to current levels of

around 70,000.



This growth has been driven by an incredible increase in the number of

point-of-sale (POS) sites outside supermarkets. In 1999, the number of

POS sites grew 42 per cent. More Group added thousands of sites outside

Sainsbury’s stores, JC Decaux increased its presence at Tesco stores and

Maiden won a contract to supply and sell POS six-sheets outside Morrison

supermarkets. As a consequence, POS six-sheet revenues rose 61 per

cent.



But there is apprehension that the six-sheet sector has grown too

large.



’There are certainly concerns about demand,’ said Blade director Nick

Maddison. ’The universe is going to continue to grow and there’s some

serious sales work to be done in both roadside and six-sheets.’



Maddison added that demand had softened considerably in recent

weeks.



’Sites used to be booked up two or three months in advance,’ he

said.



’But currently you can book a national campaign to run in a couple of

weeks.’



The two main contractors in the six-sheet sector have reacted

differently to the slackening of demand, according to industry

sources.



JC Decaux’s sales team has refused to drop its prices. ’They won’t go

below ratecard,’ said one specialist. More Group’s six-sheet division

AdShel, however, is said to have dropped its rates.



While decreasing rates sounds logical, JC Decaux sales director Spencer

Berwin defended his company’s policy of maintaining ratecard prices. ’We

believe we have the best six-sheets on the market and the best sites

will always be in demand,’ he commented. ’Yes, there’s slack in the

market, but it’s at the bottom end and that’s not our market.’



Buyers have also questioned pricing policies in the POS market. A POS

panel costs the buyer around pounds 250, as opposed to around pounds 100

for a roadside panel, but Maddison said more research was needed to

account for the cost differential.



’To justify the premium rates on POS panels, we need proper systems

measuring their effectiveness, comparing them with roadside six-sheets,’

said Madison.



But Berwin baulked at the idea: ’We have hundreds of case studies

showing how these sites have a direct effect on product sales,’ he said.

’They are doing a totally different job to roadside sites, and probably

cannot, therefore, be compared,’ he said.



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