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The Great Outdoors

(October 2008) posted on Thu Oct 30, 2008

Out-of-home's growth has no end in sight.

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By Stephen Freitas

The combination of factors causes Americans to be out of the home for longer periods of time, often nearing 12 hours a day. Increased working hours lead to more time spent away from the home. The sum total is a more mobile, less homebound society-all of which leads to less time spent with in-home media. All of these factors play into the growth of out-of-home advertising. It is the one medium that cannot be clicked off, fast-forwarded through, or channel changed. It’s seen 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s ubiquitous, difficult to ignore, and exceedingly effective, as proven in case study after case study. Its CPMs are still the most cost effective among all forms of advertising media-less than half that of its closest competitor, radio. Outdoor advertising is also reaching consumers in places where they are making decisions about what to purchase and what services to use. Rather than advertising a car at night when consumers are thinking about families and sleep, billboards promoting the latest models reach consumers when they are driving. People in doctors’ offices are being exposed to out-of-home video networks advertising health services when people are thinking about their health. New avenues for outdoor advertising are presenting a powerful, place-based marketing tool which advertisers are recognizing and using.

Technological innovation
Technology tends to confound many traditional forms of media. Outdoor, however, is different: As new technologies come online, outdoor is adapting to them and using them to find new ways to surprise and delight consumers.

Bluetooth: With Bluetooth technology becoming standard on cell phones, outdoor-advertising companies are taking advantage. Bus shelters, transit posters, mall kiosks, and other outdoor formats are enhancing their physical structures with transmission equipment capable of pushing content to Bluetooth devices.

In one example, commuters at Grand Central Station in New York City were given the option of downloading trailers to popular CBS television shows through their phones when they walked by transit posters advertising the programs. Bus shelters are also taking advantage of the technology. Bluetooth continues to grow as the physical infrastructure of the technology is built out, indicating this will be a growth area for years to come.