Anna Bager: The strength of our industry is still there. The power of our medium is still there and we’ve grown stronger.

Today’s podcast guest  Anna Bager  reflects on an eventful first year as President and CEO of the OAAA. Anna says the the US out of home industry is coping well with covid and she identifies out of home trends to follow.

Here are highlights.

How is the US out of home industry coping with covid?

I think the industry is coping with covid very very well…Of course there are parts of out of home that are hurting and have been hurting and it’s important from the OAAA perspective to give those areas a little extra support…place based and cinema for sure.  Definately hurt by this.  Transit badly hurt too – a little bit dependent on what sort of transit…Even in areas like the New York subway or the DC Metro where the numbers are down by a lot it’s still picking up and there’s still great ridership.  So there’s still a story to tell.  There are people there…Roadside has been great.  I think street furniture is good too…Then the whole digitalization our medium has been sped up by the pandemic.  I do believe we’re going to see a lot of growth in programmatic coming from that…

On 2021

All the fundamentals are still there.  The strength of our industry is still there.  The power of our medium is still there and if anything we’ve grown stronger…I think we’ll come back strong…look, brands are going to have to get in front of consumers…come 2021, I’m thinking March, April, May, whenever the vaccine is deployed on a broader level, it’s going to be a whole new world…I think we’ll have a good 2021 and I’m really impressed by the companies in our industry who have really ridden out the storm…

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What are your priorities for the out of home industry for next year.

  • It’s about growth.  Getting us back on that amazing growth track that we were on.
  • We’re going to continue to do the virtual events, making sure that we are in touch with our members and trying to provide them with weekly useful information at least until the middle of next year.  We’re going to do a virtual convention and virtual OBIES in the middle of April, gathering the industry again, even if it’s only in a virtual format.
  • We’re going to participate, not just in our own conference but go to others.  We’re going to work very closely with the ANA.  We have an annual partnership with them…Next year we’re going to do an out of home day with them.  We’re going to continue our cooperation with DMexico, with Adweek, with the Brand Safety Summit, with other entities that can help us get in front of the right people.
  • Continue to do good research and thought leadership that can get into the press…I am a big believer in research selling advertising.  So putting out more solid research that can help our members and the agencies.
  • On the government affairs front…lobbying on the highway beautification act…We’re probably focused quite a bit on taxation next year because we think in the aftermath of covid advertising taxes may try to be raised…we have an increased focus on privacy as well as cannabis…
  • And then really working with groups of our membership.  Transit operators.  The people in the airport field.  We did an independent billboard operators event earlier this year and we’re doing one next year.

What are some out of home trends our listeners should be following.

Everything that’s happening around digital is important to us.

I think 5G…it’s here soon and its something that’s going to affect our industry…Out of home is about signage.  And when everything can be connected and you can put a sign up anywhere and communicate with that sign easily, seamlessly, smoothly, it’s going to be an opportunity for our industry.

Looking at what’s happening in the broader advertising world…Look at how others are selling.  Look at what advertisers are doing and think about how out of home can play a bigger role…

There’s going to be a vaccine…There’s going to be a population that needs to get vaccinated…So our medium, just because of the reach that we have…makes us a great platform for education…and the vaccine.  That’s a big thing for our industry to sell on.


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