The latest data from PQ Media reveal 2011 was a good year for digital out-of-home advertising, and 2012 is on track to be even better.
While stock markets around the world retrace, the financial picture of Greece and Spain flounders and the world holds its collective breath waiting to see if there'll be an attack on Iran and a spike in oil prices, there is a piece of outstanding economic news for those involved in the place-based digital media market.
2011 was a great year for digital out-of-home advertising, and this year is setting up to be even better. Data from PQ Media released in April show that global digital place-based networks, billboards and signage operators saw revenue grow by 15.3 percent to $6.97 billion last year. This year, the revenue figure is projected to be even better, growing 19.2 percent.
In the United States, DOOH operator revenue climbed by 11.2 percent last year. According to PQ Media, an econometric research and consulting service in Stamford, CT, digital billboard operators saw double-digit revenue growth and operators of place-based networks saw a high single-digital rate of growth.
According to the PQ Media "Global Digital Out-of-Home Media Forecast 2012-16," the compound annual global growth rate for the five year period will be 13.7 percent. Much of the revenue growth appears tied to a recognition of how important it is to reach consumers outside the home where they make purchases. "While TV remains the 800-pound gorilla of ad-based media due to its reach, scarcity and measurement, DPNs (digital place-based networks) offer brands opportunities to extend their reach by engaging target consumers with contextually relevant content in venues outside the home," said PQ Media CEO Patrick Quinn.
Digital signage networks were one of the fastest-growing ad-based media in the United States last year. While PQ Media acknowledged a deceleration in the rate of growth in the second half of 2011 due to cyclical economic events, it found digital place-based networks experienced a revenue increase of 10.7 percent from 2006 to 2011.
According to PQ Media, digital place-based networks are likely to benefit indirectly from the Summer Olympics in London and the U.S. political campaign this fall. Both traditionally inject significant revenue into local television stations as well as cable and broadcast networks. This time around, however, PQ Media foresees a scarcity of TV inventory. As a result, major brands squeezed off television could be forced to consider other video platforms, such as digital place-based networks, said Quinn.
The latest revenue tally from PQ Media is another in a growing string of positive developments over the past couple of years for the digital signage industry. Together, they wins demonstrate that digital placed-based media is a viable and being taken seriously by companies with products to sell and the advertising agencies they hire.
The growing availability of audience metrics for digital place-based media is adding a sense of legitimacy about this new medium for those who control where ad dollars get spent. The PQ Media ad revenue numbers, therefore, shouldn't be too surprising.
Going forward, the next big test for this medium will likely be whether or not those responsible for buying ads will reallocate dollars from television to digital place-based media.
With the possibility of too few available commercial slots on TV in the second half of the year, there might be a hint as to whether digital place-based media can begin taking on the "800-pound gorilla" and winning.
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