OOH Industry Snapshot by Najib Trad

by Najib Trad, Chief Operating Officer, Arabian Outdoor.

What effect will technology have on the OOH market?
From a global perspective, the outdoor industry is looking at a future where more billboards will become  digital. This has led many to conclude that brands and advertisers will eventually see outdoor media as another screen that they can buy.
The other major wave envisioned globally for OOH is that with this growing digitisation of billboards, a subsequent shift in how ads are being targeted to them will go on to lessen the gap between outdoor and online campaigns. Data, which can be leveraged in real time via mobiles or any other platform, will also play into the OOH arena of the future.
In the region, outdoor continues to play a vital role in the media mix and remains an essential (although often perceived to be complementary) tool for brand building, impact and exposure. Ultimately, technology will work to strengthen outdoor’s proven effectiveness by delivering the benefits of more innovative formats and greater possibilities for highly targeted messaging and interactive campaigns.

How will the way OOH is planned and bought change in the coming years?
Again, from a global perspective, the arrival of programmatic buying could become a scalable opportunity for advertisers as early as this year. While outdoor is undoubtedly moving towards programmatic in advanced markets such as the UK, the majority of current offerings are closer to an automated-guaranteed-type buy,
not a real-time auction.
In addition, for brands and advertisers who are savvy to the future, a greater focus on digital boards stands to deliver greater value and ROI via better measurement tools, live targeting and their ability to accommodate more innovative and creative formats. In the region, with outdoor not being a priority for the majority of top marketers, there is no major push to change its offerings. As digitisation of billboards becomes a growing reality, we could end up following the footsteps of more advanced markets. However, this would largely depend on the level of investments that regional brands make.

What changes in OOH legislation would you like to see?
In terms of the UAE market, various discussions with major stakeholders such as the RTA, as well as other relevant government entities, have taken place, with the aim of streamlining and growing the potential of the outdoor advertising industry.
Exploring a variety of highly constructive policies and initiatives to bolster the sustainability and growth of the OOH advertising business has remained the focus of these discussions. As market leaders, Arabian Outdoor will remain at the forefront of such developments and we will continue to look at all solutions available.