My Media Week: James Whitmore, Postar

James Whitmore, managing director of Postar, mixes committee meetings on OOH measurement with a trip to Lord's and a celebrity sighting

James Whitmore, managing director, Postar
James Whitmore, managing director, Postar


Hit the gym in Camden early and get to work at Postar’s offices near Edgware Road by 8.15am. Spend the morning preparing for a meeting of Postar’s Visibility Committee, which is run in conjunction with Birkbeck College. We are trying to work out how attracted people are to dynamic moving images, using laser eye-tracking techniques first developed by Birkbeck for the Department for Transport. It is fiendishly complicated, so I call Dr Paul Barber from Birkbeck at his home in France to gain a better understanding of the concepts. We also discuss the findings of the third wave of our research project, which was conducted in early summer.

The afternoon is spent in the committee meeting, where I am joined by Neil Eddleston from JCDecaux, David Gordon from Posterscope, Nick Mawditt from Kinetic and our research consultant Ivor Hussein. In addition to the moving image study, we discuss our research and development programme and think about how people behave on public transport.

These are incredibly difficult questions but we are edging towards an understanding and I am confident about our next steps. Go home feeling rather exhausted and watch The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on DVD. Think about how I will know when my prime is, and decide I am still waiting.


Postar is working with MGE Data on the launch of our new measurement system, and this morning MGE’s boss David Strnad is over from Prague to meet Ian Wyatt, James Cranwell-Ward and myself.

In the meeting we discuss how we will manage the far greater volume of data when Postar’s remit expands from 100,000 roadside sites to 450,000 sites spanning buses, Underground, rail, airports and taxis. The issue is how to make sure there is no corruption in the data when it transfers from the media owners in the UK to MGE’s base in Prague - there can be no room for error.

Have a sandwich in the office with Mark Flood from Ipsos, our second research supplier, before going straight into a Methodology Committee meeting with Mike Baker from the OAA, David Gordon from Posterscope, Dave McEvoy from JCDecaux, Trevor Sharot and Sapna Culkin from Ipsos and our consultant Ivor Hussein. We talk about how you account for flows of people on the Underground, and David Strnad shows us examples mapped out through MGE Data. Finish the day with a pint in The George on Great Portland Street with a (non-media) friend.


Spend the morning preparing Postar’s quarterly financial reports for the finance meeting in two weeks’ time. When I have finished wading through profit and loss figures, I speak to Garry Mosson from software data company Telmar, which is developing a bespoke system for Postar with Cuende in Spain. Moss gives me an update on the beta version of the software, which he indicates will be ready from next week. It is pouring with rain when I leave work so I dive into the Everyman cinema on Baker Street to watch the Illusionist cartoon, which is great.


Get some paperwork out of the way before heading up to Lord’s to watch the Test Match against Pakistan with Derek Jones, chief executive of MediaTel - we used to play football together in Ealing a long time ago. The rain is still drizzling so most of the play is suspended and we only catch an hour’s cricket.

However, in that hour we witness the three no-balls bowled by Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Arif, which are later exposed by the News of the World as part of a game-fixing cartel. I would like to say we saw it all along, but nothing strikes us as untoward at the time. We walk back through Regent’s Park and I point Derek in the direction of Chalk Farm for Peter Charlton’s leaving party from CBS Outdoor.


I write up the notes from the committee meetings from earlier in the week and distribute the minutes and the speakers’ papers to Postar’s eight underwriter companies. I work half days on Fridays, so at 1pm I catch the train from Paddington to Exeter, where I spend most weekends.

The first-class carriage is often a mix between OK! magazine and the Sunday Times Style section, and this journey doesn’t disappoint because the carriage is dominated by Ed Balls, who spends the entire journey talking loudly on his mobile about the forthcoming leadership election. Report the sighting by texting my mum in Scotland, who is thrilled.

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