This week brought more consolidation in the out-of-home advertising business, with the announcement that Fairway Outdoor Advertising and Olympus Media (owned by Acon Investments and MidOcean Partners, respectively) will merge their assets to create the fourth-largest traditional outdoor advertising company in the U.S.
The new company, called Fairway Media Group, will boast a network of 21,300 bulletin and poster displays in 17 states across the Midwest and Southeast.
Mark Moyer, who is currently CEO of Fairway Outdoor, will become CEO of the merged entity.
Looking to the future, Moyer pointed to growth opportunities in areas like digital displays and new measurement systems, presumably referring to the Traffic Audit Bureau’s new “Eyes On” metric, which offers advertisers increased transparency and accountability.
Fairway’s larger competitors include Clear Channel Outdoor, which owns almost 200,000 advertising displays of varying size around the U.S.; CBS Outdoor, which owns 47,000 billboards and over 400,000 smaller displays nationwide; and Lamar, which own 149,000 ad surfaces around the country.
The merger comes amid optimistic forecasts for the out-of-home medium. According to the most recent prediction from PricewaterhouseCoopers, U.S. out-of-home advertising will enjoy a cumulative annual growth rate of 4.9% from 2012-2016, increasing to $8.2 billion over that period.
That’s about the same as PwC’s forecast for the global out-of-home marketplace overall, which the consultancy sees expanding at a CAGR of 5% for 2012-2016.
A different forecast from SNL Kagan, published in its “Economics of Outdoor & Out Of Home Advertising,” predicted an even higher CAGR of 5.9% over the next decade or so, reaching about $10.55 billion by 2020.