SUPPLEMENT: Introduction

Richard Holliday Director of the Outdoor Advertising Association

Richard Holliday Director of the Outdoor Advertising Association

The participation of outdoor specialists in the Postar research at last

gives the outdoor industry the opportunity to develop a true trading

currency. But this is only the beginning of the on-going development of


The latest moves in outdoor advertising research have the potential to

take the medium past its traditional threshold of a 4 per cent share of

the advertising market. Anyone who has been around the media world for

even a short time will be aware of the rivalries and politics that

surround industry research. The recent falling out at Rajar is an

example of what can go wrong. This is why all sides must now respond to

the challenges ahead.

When the Council of Outdoor Specialists announced it was joining the

poster industry’s new JIC - Joint Industry Committee for Poster Audience

Research, and were contributing funds to the research for Postar, some

people may have felt that this was just the specialist fraternity making

a gesture. It really is much more important than that.

For years outdoor had the only Joint Industry Committee on research that

was solely funded by the media owners - the poster contractors. Now that

the buyers are sitting around the same table, the industry has its first

real opportunity to develop a trading currency that begins to create a

justification process for buying and selling.

This is critical because developing an audience-led currency gives the

unsophisticated outdoor world of supply and demand a structure. The

audience-led research unit - be it a TVR or an ABC figure - helps

justify the price the advertiser is having to fork out for the audience

he/she is buying. In the outdoor industry, where average unit site price

has been the currency, negotiations were never about audience delivery

and value, but discount. As a result, there has traditionally been an

almost overbearing animosity between buyer and seller in outdoor. It is

natural that buyers should want to pay a low price for an audience and

sellers strive for the highest one possible.

This is not to say that similar tensions don’t exist in other media. TV

negotiations can be brutal. However, there is Barb and station average

price, and all sides will know how the deal was struck and what

audiences were delivered, so when they leave negotiations they can go

away and have a drink or three together.

As the number of media proliferates, the desire to understand the value

of audience delivered obviously becomes greater. Outdoor, as a passive

medium, needs a way of identifying and evaluating its audience perhaps

more than any other medium. The new currency provided by Postar will go

further than previous research by using a futuristic visibility

experiment to evaluate those people who pass a poster panel and whose

eyes alight on it.

This is why the specialists agreeing to take part in Jicpar and Postar

is important: it means the industry can begin to establish an audience-

led currency. It is a recognition by both sides that the maintenance and

improvement of the outdoor share of advertising revenue is dependent on

justification and negotiation techniques stemming from true, jointly

agreed, industry research. With this new agreed currency, outdoor can

take its place alongside other media-evaluation techniques and we can

get on with marketing the medium and selling its unique values.


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