Outdoor Outpaces: First Half Ad Demand Climbs Double Digits

The robust market for outdoor advertising continued to gather steam through the first half of 2005, a new report suggests--and looks likely to continue doing so through the end of the year. The news comes as ad demand for other major media -- magazines, radio, TV -- appears to be ebbing.

The member revenue numbers for the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) for the second quarter and first half of the year saw the industry accumulating $1.8 billion in revenue at the end of Q2, representing an increase of 10.2 percent from the same time period a year ago and continuing a two-year growth trend.

Industry revenue for the first half of 2005 totaled some $3.2 billion--a 7.0 percent increase from January through June.

The numbers follow last month's announcement that radio and outdoor advertising giant Clear Channel Communications would be restructuring following weak second-quarter results--a move led by an initial public offering of its outdoor media operations, Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, the company's fastest-growing and most profitable sector.

"The first two quarters of the year were extremely strong, and the second half of the year is shaping up nicely as well," said Derek White, executive vice president with Alloy Media + Marketing, an agency specializing in nontraditional media and marketing services, referring to OAAA's figures and citing particularly energetic growth in the washroom segment.

"That paired with the micro-segmentation of the market tends to be a good combination for us," White said. "I think the trend is going to continue for some time, and there's a lot of room still to grow."

In April, in apparent acknowledgment of the trend, Nielsen Media Research and Taylor Nelson Sofres announced that they were significantly increasing the number of outdoor media companies they were tracking with Nielsen's Monitor-Plus unit, upping the total number of markets measured to more than 150.

Among the standout performers in OAAA's new numbers were the communications category--up 54.7 percent on mergers speculation and vigorous telecom competition--and insurance and real estate, which climbed 31.1 percent.

Automotive dealers and services, however, fell some 18.3 percent, and the public transportation, hotels and resorts, and restaurant categories each sank 6.4 percent and 12.2 percent--a dip the report said might be attributable to sky-high gas prices.

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