Ten years ago, with no adequate research for out of home being available, initial investigations into setting up a collaborative media owner research body took place. Who would have ever expected that the industry often referred to as the “cowboys” of the advertising industry would have put many differences aside, worked together and have gotten to where the OMC is today? It has not been all plain sailing and there have been made hard discussions with the industry regarding financial investments and ownership of the research, but one fact that I can honestly say that the Outdoor Advertising industry has achieved something that other much larger media segments have failed to do.
As the industry knows, the OMC started with the commitment of the two largest OOH media owners, Primedia Outdoor and JCDecaux (then known as Continental Outdoor). Shortly thereafter Outdoor Network and Ad Outpost joined the joint industry committee (JIC) and after appointing the technical oversight partner, local research partner and the modelling partner, the OMC was finally on its way to producing our consolidated, inclusive, and representative research – ROAD.
Our current membership is sitting at 44 (forty-four) members! This membership growth started in 2018 and whilst the last three years have been slow due to the position that the world has found itself, the momentum is once again growing. There are several media owners, small to medium in size that are either in the process of becoming members or are seriously considering becoming members. The lull was also impacted with our change in modelling and software partners, but we are extremely happy to confirm that relationship has certainly been firmly established and MGE/IPSOS is a key partner in taking our ROAD 2.0 research to the next level.
The industry at large has adopted our new ROAD 2.0 research with open arms although the implementation and use of the software could certainly be embraced with more enthusiasm. Our Inventory Delivery System (IDS) is available free of charge to the industry, except media owners who are not members. The OMC Board of Directors made the unanimous decision to do this in order to give media agencies and clients the opportunity to have OOH information at their fingertips. The IDS system gives one the important media metrics to compare OOH with all other media types: Reach, Frequency, VACs (attention-based Visibility Adjusted Contacts), CPT and the likes. Many people do not like change, and they certainly do not like learning new software. It is apparently very time consuming having to attend two training sessions of an hour long (yes you can learn the software in 2 hours). Of course, if you really want to know how to use the software to its full potential by looking for billboards near points of interest, then perhaps it may take three of one’s precious hours. Having said this however, between Kuper Research and the OMC, we have trained over 100 people, and we have invested more than (70) seventy hours in training people. Our MGE/IPSOS partners do find it quite amazing that we are still training people. In other markets, a group training session is arranged once, and thereafter all users must figure out how to work the software by themselves. There are no such things as regular training sessions at all, let alone free training sessions.
Having been fortunate to visit MGE/IPSOS in Prague in May and then attend the WOO Conference in Lisbon in June of this year, we remain overjoyed to learn that by following the international golden standards, our currency is very much comparable with the likes of the UK, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, USA, Canada, and Korea to name just a few. Our members are certainly obtaining the highest quality audience data for their inventory.
The OMC is very aware that within the South African research marketplace, there are a couple of companies who are offering OOH measurement tools to media owners. This type of audience measurement offered by these companies can of course be used to complement our currency but should not be used to make strategic decisions when looking at OOH opportunities for your clients. Their data results in good insights into traffic movement at a specific point in time as well the likes of monthly changes in traffic volumes. The difference is between our OMC ROAD2.0 data and any mobile/car tracking information that is available in the marketplace is quite simple, ROAD2.0 is the only media CURRENCY and everything else is a measurement of cars /traffic count.
We are immensely proud of what we have achieved in the ten short years. Well, we should be honest and say within eight short years. Our members have invested an enormous amount of money to get research for their inventory so that the industry has an OOH currency. Let’s put the investment into perspective – more than R65 million has been invested into the ROAD research. That is just for one JIC which covers roadside inventory, and we believe that the growth of the ROAD JIC has not reached its ceiling. We envisage that we will still welcome several media owners into this JIC over the next couple of years. The barrier to entry that was cited by several media owners previously has been addressed and for an annual cost of R856 per frame that is uploaded onto the software, plus a small fee for the MGE/IPSOS software and modelling expertise, it is extremely cost efficient.
Which leads us onto our next project. The first JIC has only concentrated on roadside billboards. We have already commenced work on our second JIC – Static transit inventory which includes taxi ranks, Gautrain, and airports. This JIC will be set up with its own members, some will be involved in our existing JIC but there will probably be other media owners who would be interested in becoming a member of this JIC. Each JIC has its own costs and will have its own membership fees. This means there will be more money invested into OOH research, different research. Costings are not known yet as this will depend largely on how many members and the size of the inventory base that will need to be modelled and uploaded. We’ll certainly keep the industry up to date on this and should anybody be interested in becoming a member of this JIC, please contact us.
The OMC is committed to continue producing a currency that is of the highest standard for our members and will continue to assist them to sell their inventory and give the industry the tools to know the probable audience they will be reaching.
We will continue to set up training sessions to ensure that the software users are able to use the amazing strategic information to their and their clients’ benefits.
There is only one view from the OMC, and that is up! Growing our data base and growing our offering to the industry is not just a question, it’s our mission.