Outdoor could be the first truly 'connected medium' says Manning Gottlieb exec

The out-of-home media industry has an opportunity to be the first truly "connected medium" if it develops its digital formats, according to a leading executive from Manning Gottlieb OMD

Jean-Paul Edwards, executive director, futures, at MGOMD, made the pronouncement as a key speaker at today's Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and Outdoor Advertising Association joint conference, "Revealing digital life out of home".

Edwards told the 350-strong audience that the outdoor industry should not "try and be the last broadcast medium".

He said: "The outdoor industry has spent a long trying to convince people it is a broadcast medium. Broadcast media is fantastic, but has been joined by all sorts of opportunities. Outdoor should try and be the first meaningfully, tangibly and nationally connected medium."

Those attending the sixth annual conference at the British Museum included creative and media agencies, out-of-home specialists and media owners.

Other key speakers included Mike Baker, chief executive of the OAA  and John Wiltshire, chief innovation officer of PHD.

Digital out-of-home currently represents one pound for every eight spent on outdoor media, but Willshire said the industry should look to digitise all outdoor.

He said the outdoor industry needed to learn from the economist Theodore Leavitt: "Someone will come along with something better. Outdoor does have a wonderful future, but it has to think about as much digital as possible."

The OAA estimates the digital OOH sector will be worth about £115m in 2010, but some delegates questioned whether media owners were able to monetise their digital screens in time for investment.

Sports giant Nike used outdoor to respond to England matches during the 2010 Fifa World Cup and Alex Rogers, account director at Wieden + Kennedy, explained how all the parties involved worked together to deliver a tactical campaign.

Wieden + Kennedy, with Mindshare and production agency Grand Visual, responded to England’s results, or lack of them, across a wide range of media owners, within minutes of the final whistle during the World Cup.

The Nike campaign was cited as an example of how the industry could work together.

Mike Baker said "convergence" and industry cooperation meant there were far fewer problems in booking multi-format digital outdoor campaigns.

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