2017 & the Year Ahead for OOH, Out of Home & DOOH The Media is the Message


I think we can all agree that 2016 was a funny old year. The pollsters got it spectacularly wrong – twice – which has to be the best endorsement ever for big data and intelligent intelligence, while post-truth became the Oxford Dictionaries word of the year (at least it beat Brexiteer to the top spot!). So, if looking back is giving you a OOH or DOOH headache, let’s turn our attention to what 2017 might hold for Out of Home.

  1. UOOH (Unified or Universal Out-of-Home)

Campaigns that work across platforms will capture the imagination and become the new norm. This will be achieved through integration of networks and data, and leveraging existing estate.

A few years ago BT did just that, creating a free UK-wide Wi-Fi network for its broadband subscribers at a stroke, by partitioning part of every existing participant’s bandwidth. Ocean Outdoor already includes Wi-Fi in its panels, while JCDecaux has made tentative steps.

We’ve previously waxed lyrical about the scope for combining real-time data and platforms, such as bringing together DVLA anonymised data with targeted DOOH advertising, as Ocean did. Their campaign’s raised profile alone should be a wake-up call to their competitors. Watch this digital space for more UOOH that draws upon both existing and new data sources.

  1. The New Paradigm

Give me an ‘I’, give me an ‘N’…this could take some time, but we’re talking about interactivity. The way technology is used to deliver a tailored experience will become ever more important to brands, campaigns and advertisers. Part of that shift is one of attitude, perfectly illustrated by these two contrasting approaches to change:

This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. 

Western Union memo from 1876.

Think different

1997 advertising campaign for Apple Computer, Inc by TBWA\Chiat\Day

BT is partnering with Primesight and Intersection to launch LinkUK kiosks that offer digital services (including free Wi-Fi and free calls), funded by advertising revenue. The rollout will gather pace next year as old-style phone kiosks are gradually replaced by a LinkUK upgrade, each with its own DOOH panel. This offers a new context for DOOH’s one-to-one immediacy and we expect advertisers to maximise the opportunity.

  1. A New Vehicle for DOOH

As you already know, in the car of the near future your mobile phone isn’t the only thing that’s hands-free! Google’s recent announcement that Waymo is its new division for autonomous vehicles, was about as surprising as seeing someone setting up an umbrella kiosk at Wimbledon. What it does demonstrate, irrefutably, is the gathering momentum for a new kind of travel experience; one where the environment and the media content can be personally optimised. This represents a rich seam of data that can be readily attributed to an individual for wider use.

  1. Integration. Integration. Integration.

The creation of a single consolidated and uniformed dataset for the OOH sector, along with the integration of ‘big data’, should enable agencies to reduce their overheads and buy / sell DOOH and OOH as commodities. How might this affect or inform campaigns, if all the slices finally belong to the same pie?

  1. AR / VR

The creation of more digital inventory and environments – either in-situ or online – will continue to transform the retail experience, giving the consumer greater control over the customer journey. Amazon already leads the way as a virtual store (albeit one with an interest in making forays into the real world), but AR / VR offers an interactive, entertaining and configurable way to spend your (digital) money.

  1. The Wider View

We’ve put it off until the end: Brexit. Whoever said that voting never changed anything?! Currency downturns, consumer confidence and realigned budgets will continue to be the canaries in the cage for the industry in 2017.

Additionally, Donald Trump may plan to dissolve NAFTA but the industry may be more interested in EFTA and whether it offers the best way forward for a non-EU UK. Or perhaps, like JCDecaux’s decision to leave Outsmart, the UK will decide to go it alone? The EU’s Digital Single Market is yet another factor that could have a profound influence on the way we do business on our little island and beyond.

Whatever happens, 2017 promises to be an exciting year for the industry and we will be at the heart of it. We won’t let you down. It’s not possible. Unlike politicians and exit polls, good data does not lie!