Most players in the space—which is growing and evolving into new formats every day—are private, small companies, startups that didn’t exist a few years ago. There is little financial information to go on and scant research that tracks revenue or ad dollars. So a lot of this list is subjective. It’s also hard to compare these smaller companies with the three giants that have dominated the traditional space (Clear Channel Outdoor, CBS Outdoor and Lamar, the first two of which are represented) and are also innovating in the medium. For those companies, some real metrics are available.
The result of exhaustive research by Mediaweek senior editor Katy Bachman, we based our choices on a few, simple criteria. Is the audience growing? Does the company have staying power? Is the business helping to grow or evolve the medium, either through creating a new category or innovating one that’s been around for a while? Is the company helping to consolidate the space, making it easier for advertisers to access the medium and deliver reach?
The result is a diverse list, one that spans the growing diversity of the OOH space, from the giant publicly traded companies to the private digital startups. No doubt the list will be controversial, but we look forward to hearing your feedback.
With movie advertising red-hot and impossible to ignore, national TV advertisers are sprinkling cinema into their media plans, occasionally breaking campaigns on the silver screen before rolling out on the tube. National CineMedia, the larger of the two cinema rep firms with 16,800 screens, reaches 60 percent of all moviegoers and 70 percent in the top 10 markets. In a tough year, NCM added 38 first-time clients and lured back 18 clients that advertised in 2006 or ’07. This year, NCM is being asked by the biggest agencies to present during the TV upfront season. NCM is also expanding its revenue sources beyond on-screen advertising, rolling out interactive lobby capabilities, using off-hours to run events, and extending its presence on its year-old Web site. The next frontier: 3-D. In April, NCM aired its first 3-D ad, and its three largest chains are planning to install digital projection systems in 14,000 movie theaters. Finally, NCM last year bought a minority interest in RMG Networks (No. 6 on our list).
2009 revenue grew 1.5 percent to $335 million, largely on digital screens (NCM has the most, with 15,400). > National ad revenue, representing 87 percent of the total, was up 6.1 percent. > In June 2011, NCM will add about 900 additional screens representing 30 million cinemagoers when Consolidated Theatres and Rave move over to its network from primary rival Screenvision (No. 5 on our list). > Monthly reach is 35.3 million persons 18-plus and 48.1 million persons 2-plus, per Nielsen’s Fourth Screen Report.
François de Gaspé Beaubien, Zoom’s main owner and top executive, is in the place-based ad business to stay, and to consolidate. In the last 18 months, Zoom—backed by $30 million in funding from partner ABS Capital Partners—made six acquisitions building out three networks (Social, Fitness and Family) across 10,000 venues. To boost local ad sales and strengthen its business model, Zoom just a few weeks ago acquired Sports Display, giving it a ready local sales force of 100. Zoom’s Fitness Network has nearly tripled in size to more than 1,650 health clubs; nearly 1,400 have been converted to digital, making it the largest in its category. In more than 3,300 bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the top 50 markets, Zoom’s Social Network has doubled in size since ’08. In the last year, Zoom has run digital ad programs for more than 100 clients including AT&T, CBS, Coca-Cola, Colgate, Gatorade, HBO, J&J, NBC, Paramount Pictures, Reebok, Showtime, Turner Networks, VH1, Walt Disney, Verizon and Walmart.