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‘Partnerships have always been key to our success’

By Rajiv Raghunath - October 12, 2023

Angie Cutter, Managing Director – South-east Asia, Billups shares her perspectives on cross-border partnerships in a changing OOH environment and why the upcoming 2nd WOO APAC Regional Forum “is a must-attend platform for all of us in the OOH industry”. The Forum will be held in Bali on November 1-3, 2023.

You have recently taken charge as Managing Director of South-east Asia for Billups, just as Billups acquired your company TAC Media that you ran so successfully. Are we beginning to see a new era of globalisation of OOH where companies across geographies see growth opportunities through cross-border partnerships.

That is definitely true in OOH, just as it is true in any burgeoning industry. In a time of digitalisation and AI, geographical borders are rather permeable. 

Acquisitions and mergers enable us to consolidate strengths, talent and progress, while opening up enormous opportunities in terms of the industries we can service, creativity we can output and technology we can incorporate.

Also, partnerships have always been key to our success – be these within the country, across borders or even across industries. For example, although with TAC Media we were a Malaysian company, we had partners in the EU, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, etc., and were able to leverage the strengths of the TAC Media team and the partners to offer clients much more than we could offer as just one company. That’s the power of collaboration. 

Angie Cutter, MD, South-east Asia, Billups

With Billups now, that prospect is compounded as we already have presence in 15 other counties, not to mention the tens of other partners throughout the world that we have collaborated with in the past. Besides, our edge comes from our enhanced programmatic capabilities, patented measurement and attribution solutions.

Given Billups extensive footprint, tech-edge and ambitions, the potential is really exponential and it is now up to us to make that growth trajectory a reality – both as individuals and as a company.

Would you reckon that DOOH media and adtech are transforming OOH, and raising prospects of OOH gaining double digit share of ad spends globally?

As per the World Out of Home Organization's Global Market Index: 2023, the global OOH market size saw a significant fluctuation over the years with recovery and consistency in 2021 and 2022, both years reflecting a market size of US$36 billion. For 2023, the prediction stands at an optimistic US$39 billion.

DOOH has showcased a tremendous growth trajectory. From $9.4 billion in 2020, the market catapulted to a projected $15 billion in 2023.

While pDOOH started off small at $0.14 billion in 2020, it is anticipated to grow to be $0.97 billion in 2023.

The steady rise of DOOH and pDOOH platforms signify the industry's adaptability and receptiveness to technological advancements. As more static sites get converted into DOOH, obviously spend on DOOH will see a swift rise. Adtech like programmatic OOH are still struggling, in my opinion. As of now 3% of total DOOH spend is programmatic. In this region, OOH will gain double digit growth with data and accountability.

At the end of the day, for OOH/DOOH/pDOOH to remain relevant and a preferred channel in the marketing mix, we will have to be:

  • highly alert and receptive to changing dynamics in the client’s industries
  • be agile to accommodate change, and 
  • innovate with technology and creativity

What are the most discernible OOH business trends in the Asian region, and do you see consolidation of business as scale up becomes easier in this domain?

Asia is extremely large and diverse so it may be a bit of generalisation. However, there are a few commonalities. We are seeing a strong wave of conversion from static to digital.

We are beginning to see media owners consolidating and collaborating like never before. Data-driven strategy and creativity are fast becoming the norm, which will lend further credibility to the OOH industry per se. Audience measurement and accountability will play centre stage as we step up the OOH game.

How do you see the 2nd APAC Forum playing a catalytic role in facilitating cross-border partnerships and opening up of new growth avenues for business? 

With all the developments in programmatic and the acceleration of audience measurement globally, the Forum is a must-attend platform for all of us in the OOH industry. 

  • Insights: It is meeting of the minds, to listen to the best minds in the industry and who would not want to benefit from that?
  • Ideas:There will be panel discussion on the latest developments and creative ideas which is not just enriching but also practical once we go back to our desks.
  • Network: A great opportunity to see and be seen by the global industry. At the end of the day, we are only as successful as our network. 

I am absolutely looking forward to the APAC Forum and I will be bringing my whole team there. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is for everyone in the OOH industry to be there too.

You have been a strong advocate of women’s participation on OOH business. Any thoughts on what further steps may be taken to bring more women into the OOH space? 

I think gender is soon becoming obsolete, if not already, when it comes to workplace or the industry one choses. Of course, the OOH industry has traditionally been male dominated and extremely tough. The competition is cut throat and hours are gruelling. The struggles were real. It is hard me to glorify this part.

The positive thing is it has made me even more determined than ever before. One also learns to roll with the punches and not take things too personally. 

With digitalisation of the industry and technology playing such a key role in measurement, I would strongly advise the younger generation to really go all out for it and join the industry – it has opportunities, technology and creativity in abundance. Something that will excite you every single day, as no two days are alike.

Above all, I think it is very important to be an eternal optimist – look at setbacks and challenges as an opportunity to hone your skills and strengths. Don’t be fragile, don’t let every little thing take your down. Learn to dust yourself off and get back into the fight. The fight to prove your worth and value to yourself first and then to the rest of the world. That’s what makes life worth living.

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