Chilly Reception: Outdoor Revs Fall 17%
After several years of growth while other traditional media stagnated, outdoor has proven to be susceptible to the same macroeconomic trends, as demonstrated by the latest quarterly results.
According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, total outdoor advertising revenues fell 17.2% in the third quarter of 2008, to $1.1 billion in the third quarter of 2009. However, the OAAA was hopeful that this represented the nadir.
Some of the biggest year-over-year declines came in the financial and real estate category -- a steady earner for outdoor in previous years, which tumbled 27% from $125 million in the third quarter of 2008 to $91 million this year.
Other categories suffering big hits included media and advertising, down 17% to $133 million; communications, down 17% to $120 million; retail, down 15% to $107 million; and miscellaneous services and amusements, down 15% to $222 million.
Despite these double-digit drops, OAAA President and CEO Nancy Fletcher was upbeat about the prospects for recovery in the near term: "We believe it is likely the outdoor advertising market has hit bottom in terms of this recession. The industry is seeing signs that local business, the heart and soul of outdoor advertising, is picking up again."
Fletcher particularly emphasized the potential of digital out-of-home media -- a high-growth area before the recession, which has continued to receive substantial investments from out-of-home companies, despite financial challenges faced by many.
The growth of the digital medium has also been accompanied by an industry-wide push for more precise measurement of DO audiences, allowing DO networks to offer advertisers greater transparency and accountability, which the OAAA believes will serve them well during this nascent economic recovery.