Fledgling Ad Bureau Places Bet On, Well, Place: OVAB Becomes DPAA
The Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau, or OVAB, the fledgling ad trade association, which for the past three years has been working to bring structure, standards and a marketplace presence to the burgeoning digital out-of-home media marketplace, is changing its name -- and a little bit of its mission -- and it's going a little old school in the process. The new name, ratified by its board on Tuesday, is the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA).
Pronounced D-P-A-A, the new name emphasizes the place-based video networks that compromise the bulk of its membership -- companies like CNN's Airport channel, Captivate's elevator network, and CBS' Outernet - which are basically focused on extending the reach of TV-like video advertising into public places.
The term "place-based" is a bit old school, because it was a term first popularized in the late 1980s and early 1990s to describe an earlier generation of out-of-home video networks, many of which failed -- like Turner Broadcasting's Checkout Channel, or NBC's On-Site -- but DPAA President Suzanne La Forgia says the term more aptly expresses the focus and the mission of the association at a time when a plethora of other digital media options are extending out-of-home. The mission of DPAA, she says, will not emphasize things like static digital billboards, point-of-purchase media, "shopper media," or mobile media, which may fall under the charter of other trade associations, but will be aimed specifically at the type of advertisers and agency executives who "influence television investment and digital investment."
To some extent, the repositioning of the DPAA reflects a broader rethinking that has been influencing Madison Avenue, which is starting to move away from the term "television" in favor of "video" to describe the multiplatform nature of its long-dominant medium of choice. That rethinking also reflects the push by many traditional TV companies into online, mobile, and increasingly, out-of-home locations. And it's no coincidence that some of DPAA's members include CBS, Nielsen and Turner Broadcasting.
La Forgia says DPAA won't be turning its back on other platforms, and considers things like mobile and online part of the interactive backbone that enables some of the programming and advertising features of the place-based video networks that it represents. It just won't be representing them as distinct advertising platforms.
"Places are the distinguishing factor that helps to cultivate audiences and help cultivate interaction," she explains. "It isn't just something that is on a roadside, or on the side of a bus. It's in places where people congregate, and how consumers and venue visitors are experiencing these networks."
One thing that won't change, La Forgia says, is DPAA's charter. She says it will remain focused on issues that influence how advertisers and agencies incorporate place-based video networks into their media plans and budgets, including research, metrics, formats, standards, and "figuring out ways of improving operations."