• Independent Operators Panel at GO2018

    Left to right: Jack Sullivan (Starcom), Vince Miller (DDI Media), Jim Moravec (General Manager, Stott Outdoor), Pudge Roberts (President, Coastal Outdoor)

    Jack Sullivan (Media Director, Starcom) moderated an independent operators panel at last week’s GO2018 show.  Participants included Vince Miller (President, DDI Media), Jim Moravec (General Manager, Stott Outdoor Advertising) and Pudge Roberts (President, Coastal Outdoor).  Here are answers to some of the questions.

    Do clients request Geopath?

    Roberts: its a mix.  We’re starting to see a movement to impressions.

    Moravec:  We find Geopath data to be useful.  Reach and frequency info.  It’s supporting data.  The advertisers we deal with are 80% local.  In selling the local retailers reach and frequency info is important…

    Miller: A large portion of our local direct client base is location, location, location.  Where their business is, where they customers are, where they buy billboards.

    What are local political and tax issues?

    Miller: We face the same regulations as our bigger competitors…We deal with 92 different sign codes and revenue collection companies…It’s a continuous challenging environment…I’m converting a 30 year old structure.  We wanted a new ground lease.  We went to the city to rebuild structure.  Our real estate rep worked it for 2.5 years and got six variances.  We were at the hearing and a neighboring landowner stood up to object…the city pointed out the objector lived outside of the city limits.

    Moravec: Regulation and taxation are where our interests and the large company interests are on the same path.  We collaborate in the areas of regulation and taxation…: There’s some old thinking on city councils re digital screens.  Young people have grown up with digital screens.  They accept digital screens.

    What law affecting your business should change?

    Miller: Real estate tax relief.

    Roberts: We’re looking at digital.  It’s great for the industry.  Being allowed to moderize your structure is important.

    Moravec: We have lots of wooden structures.  Today I’m exchanging emails with a rep who’s buying a wood structure.  To be able to upgrade to steel and improve would be nice.

    Are you ready for programmatic out of home buying?

    Miller: Most of us independents lack technological expertise.  Finding key partners is important.  If we don’t change we’ll be dinosaurs.

    Moravec: I’m not ready for programmatic.  I don’t think the buy side is ready either.  The system is still phone calls and emails.

    On Vegetation Issues

    Miller: In the state of Missouri we had something unprecedented happen.  We haf a rule passed by the highway commission due to the great behaviour of the outdoor companies.  They said we look at you as a partner to maintain the right of way.  They eliminated the fee structure and the 450′ limit on trimming.

    Moravec:  In California we had to give a check for $3,200 to the DOT in order for them to just agree to look at our application for  trimming.

    Roberts: South Carolina is open to trimming vegetation.  North Carolina is tougher.

    Jim Moravec had a great quip on the importance of creative.

    “When people don’t renew it’s generally do to bad creative.  If we engage people they keep using it.”

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