• Chris Cowlbeck of the IBOUSA

    This week’s podcast guest is Chris Cowlbeck.  Chris is General Manager for Look Billboards an out of home company with more than 100 traditional faces and 5 digital billboards in Oklahoma.  Chris is also General Manager of the IBOUSA a networking group which promotes the interests of independent billboard operators in the United States.  We had a wide-ranging 30 minute conversation.

    What does the IBOUSA do and how does it help out of home companies.

    Chris Cowlbeck, General Manager, Look Billboards and IBOUSA

    The IBO’s mission is pretty simple.  It is an effort to combine the synergies and energies of a number of our nationwide operator associates in a harmonic way to maximize our efforts, add some education and learning and have great friends and learn how to be more profitable…We have 160 companies…to date we’re about 50,000 faces and about 1,000 digitals.

    What is Media Rating Council doing and why should an out of home company care.

    Almost exclusively every industry veteran that I’ve talked to had never heard of the Media Rating Council up until  about 6 mos ago.  We have the folks there come and speak at our last convergence that resulted in the IBO becoming members of the Media Rating Council.    I now sit on the board of directors…I’m on the digital out of home committee and now the out of home standards committee.  The Media Rating Council has governed audience ratings since the 60’s….Our OOH standards committee  is coming up with the out of home standard to be released some time in the second quarter of 2019… We think it is very important…and I can see a significant reliance on validated transparent accurate believable data…

    What must out of home do to thrive in the next five years?

    We absolutely have to get behind the concept of selling by audience.  Right now, most of us that have been in billboards have sold by location…It’s the best spot.  It’s the busiest intersection, etc.  But to take me for an example, if I could go to an advertiser and say that we have these 500 locations across the country and you Justin Boots would be very well heeled to know that there are this many people that are 50 years old and have disposable income and love to wear cowboy boots.  How many billboards could we sell on a platform if we can give that information…

    We need to have our data standardized…and by having people convert into the workflows helps us do that across all those platforms…We waste millions and millions of keystrokes…We must have audience measurement…and we must have what I lovingly call the equivalent of a US government reduction of paperwork act.

    Will there be a recession in the US economy?

    Nobody can predict when that occurs…currently we are in the longest modern day recovery since we’ve been keeping records.  We could go into a recession at any time.  But it sure looks good when you start listening to the statistics.  Jobs are up.  I’m hearing good things from my advertisers.  Budgets are feeling good…


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