The advertising rebound benefited the out-of-home industry even during the traditionally slow winter months, with total advertising revenue increasing 4.2% from $1.32 billion in the first quarter of 2010 to $1.37 billion in the first quarter of 2011, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.
The growth was attributed, in part, to more spending in established categories like financial, up 29.1% to $114 million; media and advertising, up 26.8% to $139 million; and communications, up 4.2% to $103 million.
However, some interesting and unexpected new players entered the top 10 categories by ad spending, including educational institutions, which saw total advertising spending jump 21.1% year-over-year to $59 million.
Addressing the last category, OAAA Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Freitas stated that "colleges and universities have ramped up out-of-home spending as the economy continues to recover," adding that "outdoor advertising is proving to be an effective way to garner positive attention."
The first-quarter results mark four consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth for the out-of-home advertising industry following the economic downturn.
After ad spending declines in 2008-2009, the OOH industry saw ad spending turn positive again in the second quarter of 2010. This returned the medium to a trajectory of long-term growth established in the years before the recession.
Much of this growth is due to the rapid expansion of digital billboards and other next-generation out-of-home displays, which can display multiple ads (including video) and allow out-of-home advertising companies to charge by dayparts.