Amid the bustle of product launches and network rollouts and ever-multiplying alliances, it’s easy to forget the big picture: where does DOOH stand, in terms of its own development as a medium, and in terms of the broader evolution of media from analogue to digital?
Some interesting ideas come from Barry Sayer, CEO of South Africa’s Continental Outdoor, who – speaking at the recent FEPE event in Beirut – suggested that the death of out-of-home has been frequently predicted, and always wrongly.
For example, says Sayer, when London gained its first underground trains in the latter part of the 19th century, it was feared that the disappearance of commuters into the bowels of the earth would render them impossible to reach with commercial messages. Instead, of course, a new advertising location developed, today a significant one: the subway.
I will take exception to Sayer’s comment that Caxton’s introduction of the printing press to England “heralded the instant demise of the billboard” because “advertisements were to be placed among authoritative editorial copy of respected newspapers...surely, the newspaper would command the commercial attention of the populace to the detriment of the billboard”.
For a start, when Caxton changed the English-speaking world in the late 15th century, newspapers of any form were still a long way in the future. And in any case, there really wasn’t any advertising in the modern sense back then; just a bit of POS, much of it non-verbal.
But the article’s worth a read. Check it out here.