Brands neglecting out-of-home (OOH) TV risk missing out on serving unskippable content to their desired audience, argues Robert Hicks of OOH TV agency C-Screens. This piece was originally published as part of The Drum's Network series
'Digital transformation' is a big, broad phrase. It means very different things to different people. My daughter thinks it means being able to play Fortnite online, while broadcasting, and using her mobile phone at the same time. My younger son thinks it means automatic flushing toilets and online schooling.
Television was invented in 1927. Now, almost 100 years later, it's still cited as a key component in digital transformation: a medium that continues to inform, entertain, and lead the charge in digital progress.
A nation of screen lovers
Digital advancement (or transformation), in this context, relates to how production and technology have allowed consumers to watch what they want, when they want, and how they want. Unlike ye olde linear broadcast TV, digital options also give consumers the ability to pre-record and skip advertising.
While digital advancements enable consumers to curate their own content, they also present a challenge to advertisers who (funnily enough) are not keen on their creative messages being erased from the viewing schedule.
Enter out-of-home (OOH) TV. We are screen lovers; when presented with a screen, a person will alter the direction they sit or stand to enable sight of it.
OOH TV has been around for a lot longer than you think. Pubs, gyms, and student unions have been entertaining crowds with TVs for years. More recently, you will have seen tactical, large modular screens showing live sport and entertainment for outdoor crowds.
The benefits of OOH TV screens are threefold. They allow landowners to capitalise on a captive audience; brands to showcase in an unskippable environment; and customers to experience free and engaging entertainment.
Take theme parks, like Chessington World of Adventures. Chessington has a captive audience, with people waiting in queues for up to 40 minutes at a time. This provides an opportunity to implement audio-visual screens along queue lines, entertaining families and children with contextually relevant content, including advertising. This creates an incremental revenue stream for Chessington, as well as the prospect of running internal marketing promotions to upsell to its audience.
Landowners are often looking for chances to enliven their spaces. OOH TV is unique in the way it can draw in new audiences, captivate existing audiences, increase dwell times, and establish alternative revenue streams. Another prime example is tactical events such as summer sports and films, which bring with them opportunities for landowners to implement large digitals screens, activating TV advertising revenue, and engaging with the audience further by activating food and beverage, sponsorship, and experiential revenue.
This allows brands to engage in audio-visual proximity targeting, providing a call-to-action at one of the final moments before a purchase decision - the dream for an advertiser.
What next for OOH TV?
The exciting thing about the OOH TV space is that, as an industry, we're confident in the benefits to agencies and landowners. There is so much potential for future growth.
Existing in the space between two traditional mediums allows for flexibility and exploration and even greater transparency in measurement and data. Stay tuned for game-changing developments in this area.
The next phase in the digital transformation process for OOH TV as a whole is from software and tech. At C-Screens, we've been investing in our own media player technology with the capability of being real-time and programmatic ready in anticipation of this new AI world. Hopefully, that world will take over from people manually optimising their clients' marketing budgets - and make the medium even more efficient and cost-effective than ever.
Context trumps technology
The industrial revolution was a pivotal moment in human history that changed the face of the global economy forever. It's not a stretch to feel we are amid our own transformative phase; with further digital advancements, it's reassuring to know that humans understand context and content better than any technology.
In our constantly evolving media landscape, one thing remains constant: consumers will continue to seek to be entertained, whether they are in spaces where they live, work, or socialise. TV and content and context should always be at the forefront of any landowner and advertiser medium. OOH TV is only just starting to be realised and will continue to grow.
Posted on: Friday 12 May 2023