OMA looks to build Australia's first automated out-of-home advertising platform

A proposal to build a new automated transaction platform is set to take Australia’s out-of-home capabilities to the next level

The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) is looking to build an automated transaction platform in a bid to create a one-stop hub for buying and selling out-of-home advertising in Australia across all formats.

According to the association, the automated transaction platform (ATP) is set to be a world-first for the OOH industry and the first time any representative media organisation has united to develop a single source transaction system.

Five years ago, the industry joined forces to launch its audience measurement system, MOVE, also the first of its kind in the Australian market. MOVE general manager and chief architect of ATP, Grant Guesdon, said digital is growing at a solid pace and members of the outdoor industry are increasingly investing in the digital environment.

“In 2012, digital was 7.5 per cent of total revenue and has grown steadily each year,” he said. “Year to date, it is 22.2 per cent of total revenue and we’re seeing growth across the board in digital revenues, which is an interesting trend compared to overseas. Certainly, the leader in that growth would be digital, which accounts for two-thirds of growth.”

OMA CEO, Charmaine Moldrich, said the association is seeking to make it easier to brief, plan and buy signs across the full array of outdoor formats nationally. She pointed out OOH is now the second-fastest growing media in Australia and OMA members represent 90 per cent of the industry, accounting for $602.1 million in advertising revenue in 2014.

“We know that each day, nine out of 10 Australians leave home, and as a consequence of our growing audiences we are seeing OOH on more media plans,” she said. “OOH revenue has grown 26 per cent in the last five years and technology makes our once static channel dynamic.”

Guesdon said the key role of the ATP is to make it easier for people to buy OOH advertising. “The key in using automation as part of an effective OOH marketing strategy is to help broaden the net, and make it easier for people to buy out-of-home,” he said.

“You could obviously try and locate all the signs and locate where your audience is, then spend a couple of days mapping it all out. But who has the time to do that these days? So initially it’s about asking how can we free up time and make that whole process of getting the right mix of sites and the right mix of formats. Automation makes that whole process easier.”

Geusdon explained the next step in evolution of the ATP is its trading capabilities, with programmatic coming into the mix at some point. He said the platform will be super-charged through integration of MOVE data and third-party geodata, including the ability for users to load their own proprietary consumer geodata.

Coupled with the automation processes, Guesdon said this opens up the ability to create more narrow and targeted campaigns using OOO.

“The ultimate goal is to create a pan-industry system that’s user friendly, incorporates geographical information and is also set up for automated trading, including programmatic, in the near future,” he said. “This is a tool that will cover all formats and all locations across Australia, so it’s going to be the full breadth of both traditional and digital.”

OMA chairman and CEO of JCDecaux, Steve O’Connor, said a key reason for creating an industry-wide platform was to take ownership of the sales proposition and the data.

“It’s imperative that we continue to build on our success by taking the lead in developing our own automated transactional platform, to ensure our future growth and evolve the way we work with advertisers,” he said.

“Obviously, we’re going to be bringing in data, which can really help us evolve how people may buy a campaign and what they do to achieve that,” Guesdon added. “What is exciting is seeing how technology is broadening what we can do. It’s not just the billboard itself, but the possibilities of thing like beacons and camera recognition. Technology is just opening up that space of creative opportunities – and the opportunities just seem to be growing and growing.”

OMA is seeking expressions of interest from individual organisations or consortiums specialising in software development to develop a portal hub. Phase one will concentrate on automating the current processes, including the integration of industry formats and inventory, selling and buying, as well post analysis and billing, and is expected to be in market in 2016.

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