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“We've made rapid progress in unifying our particular media world”

By Rajiv Raghunath - September 29, 2023

Tom Goddard, President, World Out of Home Organization (WOO) highlights the importance of a collaborative approach to growing the OOH business. He also speaks about the key themes of the upcoming 2nd APAC Regional Forum in Bali on Nov 1-3. Edited excerpts of the interview with Rajiv Raghunath.

As the Asian region becomes a global growth pole, do you see a similar growth in OOH business in the region?

Very definitely, Asia already has some of the biggest OOH markets – China Japan and South Korea for example, with India and Malaysia growing fast too. Recently the main growth area globally has been digital, and, in some respects, Asia is ahead of the game there too, in technology and scale for example.

Tom Goddard

Is there scope for greater collaboration between OOH businesses in Asia and rest of world? Is technology facilitating collaborations?

Technology is making the whole world even more global, and OOH is no exception. Automation is probably the key driver, and with the growth of the omnichannel opportunity it's now possible to post a digital campaign more or less everywhere, at once. Programmatic planning and buying is also a growing force but the key, I think, is automation. It gives us a truly global delivery force for the first time. 

Media owners now can collaborate on campaigns much more easily should they wish and we expect to see much more of this.

How is WOO building bridges between OOH companies across the globe and is there a distinctly different approach to engaging with OOH companies in Asia?

When we formed the World Out of Home Organization from FEPE International we became a global rather than primarily European entity. Since then, we've made rapid progress in unifying our particular media world. We now have over 200 members and the 200th was Citix, a major OOH service provider/supplier from Kazakhstan. We don't have a different approach to engaging with Asian companies, at least I hope we don't, but we obviously pay great attention to their particular needs and the input they bring. We hope to further demonstrate this at our second APAC forum in Bali in November.

Is there scope for sharing of best business practices, audience measurement metrics and technologies across OOH markets? Tell us about WOO initiatives in this regard. 

We're already sharing many of these including our growing, comprehensive database for members. The two Asia Forums are another way of sharing and next year's Global Congress in Hong Kong will obviously have a big Asian input, which is something we will all learn from. WOO has recently set up a high-profile Sustainability Task Force with input from all over the world and that is creating a bank of knowledge about a vital issue which will be open to all our members across the world. In Toronto last year we launched our Audience Measurement Guidelines, and we aim to update and expand these in 2024 

Sharing best practice has always been a key WOO priority and a key factor in the success of our growing number of Regional Forums and, of course, the Global Congress. It's really why we're here.

What are the key themes in focus at the upcoming Bali APAC Forum?

Audience measurement is always high up the agenda because that's what advertisers and media agencies demand. It will be a key topic at our forthcoming Asia Regional Forum, and I think most people would agree that there are widely divergent methods of measurement across the region. Consistency in measurement remains an important factor for advertisers and this is something we can't ignore.

Sustainability is also going to be a key concern and we'll be looking at how that is progressing and what story we have to tell. Actually, it's a very strong one but we need to tell it better.

Underpinning everything is always growth (which is partly where technology comes in) and market share. At the moment OOH is maintaining its global market share at around 6%, although it varies by region with some Asian markets performing more strongly. We'll be exploring ways to boost our share so we can go to 10% and higher. 

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