Root and branch reform of the digital out of home industry was on the agenda at the DailyDOOH Media Summit in London when key influencers identified how to drive the medium towards sustainability.
A critical skills gap with a lack of investment in the right people, measurable reporting systems and the introduction of new real time trading platforms were all identified as key issues facing the outdoor digital estate.
More than 170 global industry leaders attended the DailyDOOH Media Summit, the UK’s annual digital outdoor conference.
Andreas Soupliotis, president and CEO of Ayuda Media Systems, advocated investment in private advertising exchanges which would guarantee advertisers premium digital out of home inventory through real time auctions.
Soupliotis said the use of outdoor cookies – both cellular and social data – together with geo fences and heat maps would facilitate the switch to a supply side platform for DOOH ad networks that would foster new pay per look trading models which didn’t drive down CPMs.
Soupliotis called for the sector to poach talent from the online ad tech sector to ensure the right skill sets was in place to effect necessary change in trading models, saying “there has to be a change of skillsets and mindsets.”
Neil Morris, founder of Grand Visual, said while investment in infrastructure and technology was driving the industry forward it had to start investing in its people and new talent in the same way.
“The topic has to be given some priority,” said Morris, who called for smarter creative and improved reporting capabilities
“It is a complex medium with many permutations but the visibility is not really there.”
Fiona FitzGibbon, head of media at Cheil UK, reiterated the need for accountability and proof of posting, saying “price should be based on the merit of the audience delivery.”
Training was also an issue. “Sales teams need to understand better what the assets can do, ” said FitzGibbon.
John Pizzamiglio Tfl’s lead for advertising strategy commercial development directorate also called for a change of mindset saying “ DOOH is still obsessed with the product rather than the benefits. We should be talking about the audience first, second and third. From now on putting the audience front of centre is essential and central to everything that we do.”
With such complex and developing transport environments, Pizzamiglio called for greater collaboration to help take some the strain in terms of capital investment as more stations come online with the expansion of the network and the arrival of Crossrail.
“The capital investment needed is challenging and there needs to be more of   partnership approach,” he said, adding that  “landlords have value to add and should have a place at the table.”
Exterion CEO Shaun Gregory outlined the move towards a sustainable business model, saying: “In three to five years industry operators will have become consumer engagement brands rather than out of home businesses. Margins are getting squeezed, but we have the foundations available to us.”
The new partner tech business model, he said, would see a shift towards the standardisation of platforms and the emergence of engagement based trading models.
Commenting on the summit, DailyDOOH editor-in-chief and summit chair Adrian Cotterill said: “London is still top of the game when it comes to digital out of home and some really good people have come into the industry over the past 12 months. This indicates that real solutions to some of the barriers raised might not be as far off as we all think.”