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Entering an arms race: Go Media’s Simon Teagle on expanding its portfolio and presence

Following news of Go Media being awarded the Metlink media partnership with the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), StopPress touched base with general manager Simon Teagle to hear how the OOH company is faring and how its future is lit up by digital sites.

By Erin McKenzie | June 29, 2018 | news

Fair to say it’s been a full-on year for Simon Teagle. After hanging up his head of client service hat at FCB Media late 2016, he joined the Go Media team in May last year and it’s been all go since then.

Most recently, the company was awarded the Metlink media partnership with the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), meaning as of 15 July, over 400 Metlink buses servicing the Wellington region will be represented by the OOH company.

“Winning this contract was strategically important,” says Teagle. “It elevates our transit market share and provides a springboard to package advertiser solutions in the other markets we operate. We’re also looking forward to developing sustainable media asset innovations with the GWRC team.”

The win sees Go Media represent 650 busses in 12 different regions, including five in the North Island and seven in the South Island.

Its portfolio also includes 450 classic billboard sites, including 350 in big cities and 100 in regional New Zealand provinces, and a growing network of digital sites. Right now, there’s 40 digital sites across 12 regions in New Zealand, 20 of which have been added this year.

“We have a good national scale and we are continuing to build our digital network in the more regional areas of the country to provide national retailers and franchisees a way to promote their brand locally.”

Look at a map of New Zealand and Go Media has 17 dots representing its coverage of towns and cities. With director Mike Gray a CantabrianTeagle says Go Media’s taking the unorthodox approach of working its way up north from its base in Christchurch.

“We’ve got good coverage in the regions and probably our last port of call we are working actively on right now is Auckland.”

Included in that are four digital sites coming up in Auckland in the next couple of months, located in Newmarket and Sylvia Park.

At the time of joining Go Media, Teagle says the company had aspirations to build its digital network and he’s since been executing on that and turning it into a reality.

“I’ve been active in the acquisition space and the thing you don’t leave behind when you leave an agency is the need to write RFP responses.”

He’s also been making sure Go Media has the right salespeople in the right areas targeting the right clients.

Given its regional strength, he says it has a strong direct client portfolio and a target for it is to grow performance out of agencies. Helping it do that is a team staff based in Auckland and Teagle adds following the acquisition of the Metlink buses it will also look to put someone into that market.

It also has a sales team based in Palmerston North and a team of six, a combination of operations and sales, in the Christchurch office.

The value of digital

Speaking about the expansion of Go Media’s digital portfolio, Teagle compares it to an “arms race” with OOH companies putting the pedal to the metal to develop their digital offerings. And it’s no surprise when looking at the industry’s growth.

Earlier this year, Standard Media Index (SMI) released spend figures for different media in 2017—which proved 2017 to be a record year for ad agency spend with showing $1.048 billion was spent on major media across the year also showed $136,301,880 was spent on outdoor. That was up 18.4 percent on 2016, making it the fastest growing media category in terms of agency spend.

At the time of the figures being released, SMI managing director for Australia and New Zealand Jane Ractliffe explained that momentum comes off the back of innovation in the industry. She said as long as outdoor companies continue to digitise their inventory, the category will continue to grow.

SMI’s figures were followed up a report from Outdoor Media Association of New Zealand (OMANZ) showing OOH revenue grew 18 percent for 2017.

Broadening the scope from Go Media alone, that revenue growth and the “arms race” is evident across the entire industry

This year, QMS launched 12 digital screens across it’s Commuter Network, bringing it to 55 screens across buses, ferries and trains. Meanwhile, when StopPress checked in with Lumo in May last year, it outlined a plan to have 20 screens by mid-2019.

More recently, last month  Adshel announced it’ll be adding 60 screens to its Adshel Live network as it steps into phase four of its digitisation strategy. The additional screens will take the national digital roadside network to 283 screens by the end of the year. 

APN Outdoor is also on the digital path and when StopPress spoke to chief executive James Warburton earlier this year, it had 20 to 25 new digital screens to be commissioned for FY2018. Last year it rolled out 125 digital billboards across Australia and New Zealand.

Both Adshel and APN Outdoor have, in the last week, been sold to Ooh Media and JCDecaux, respectively, pending the approval of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The commoditisation is set to open opportunities for advertisers looking to use a range of different OOH sites.

  • See the full story about what Ooh Media's purchase of Adshel means for New Zealand here.

Paying off

Despite the digital boom, the growth in digital has come with a cost as investing requires capital outlay for the screens, structures, power supply and other infrastructure in order to be operational.

Because of this, Teagle says it’s a far longer timeframe to pay off the capital for a digital site. But are they being paid off? “Yes,” he says.

“As a medium it’s attracting a far greater number of categories back to using out of home.

"It’s becoming a relevant solution for them, so it’s an investment worth doing because it’s helped to grow the category.”

But despite the positive trajectory, Teagle says there may come a tipping point when there will be a lot of inventory and the market growth no longer follows the same path.

He says there will be a challenge in balancing its investment in the channel relative to how much money is in the pot.

There will be a pinch to provide competitive pricing in order to attract what money is available—a good thing for advertisers he says but a challenge for the companies needing to recover costs while growing revenue.

Static stays on

With talk of digital expansion one could think static sites may fall victim, however, that doesn't look to be the case as there's still great value in the site.

Teagle says statics still have their role with one key benefit being their permanency.

“If you buy them for two weeks you get 100 percent coverage for that two weeks whereas on a digital platform you would have up to six advertisers on the same site for the period.”

He says for those with permanent messages, the static formats work well but for those wanting to be dynamic with reactive messages, digital has its strengths.

“Think of a digital billboard like an online banner,” he says.

When asked if advertisers and creatives have opened their eyes up to the opportunities digital sites have opened up, Teagle says they are, but it’s on media owners and media agencies to guide them along the path to see the creative application.

Sharing his own examples of digital used well, Teagle points out a Qantas campaign that used Go Media’s digital billboards to show three different pieces of creative at different times of the day—morning, afternoon and night.

The sites have also been used to create countdowns to sports games, while New World used them to run creative based on daily specials.

Recently, Go Media has also been involved in a campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Called ‘Never too Young’, the campaign featured eight people all at various stages of having or having had bowel cancer alongside the tagline “Bowel cancer can look like this”.

It ran across screens, radios, streets and papers thanks to the goodwill of agencies and media companies offering pro bono creative and media space.

Teagle says being a locally-owned company, Go Media is big on supporting New Zealand and investing back into communities.

“We are big on sponsorships of New Zealand sport and teams, arts and helping the community with pro bono solutions, especially in the charity realm to help them fundraise,” he says.

“We like to standby our vision and purpose and that’s helping New Zealand to succeed for the benefit of the community.”

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