TV3 is the latest brand to trumpet the power of digital outdoor, but is this trend starting to squeeze revenue out of traditional OOH?

On election night, MediaWorks collaborated with SparkPHD and digital media agency Ngage to feed live election results onto APN Outdoor’s digital billboard network around Auckland. 

As the live results came through, MediaWorks’ TV3 channel was able to feed the figures onto the billboards, updating the information instantly through the Aerva software that Ngage holds the New Zealand licence for. 

The results were updated every few minutes through the night, and included general party vote results, specific electorates and final results for key electorates/parties. 

As the election progressed, attention was drawn to the local electorate battles in Auckland Central and Epsom—due to the billboard locations—but also to swing seats, such as Helensville, Te Tai Tokerau, and East Coast Bays.

These election billboards meant that MediaWorks’ election coverage was visible across various media channels, with the event also being broadcast on TV3, RadioLive, online and through social media via #Decision14.

In addition to this, MediaWorks also ran alternative election coverage that included election specials on 7 Days and Jono And Ben at Ten, the 7 Days Election Bingo game, and the Kiwi FM ‘Alternative Election Commentary’. 

APN Outdoor’s Phil Clemas was complimentary about the campaign, and said that it illustrates the innovative role outdoor can play in spreading brand messages.     

“MediaWorks TV has definitely taken the lead in terms of tapping into the digital capabilities we offer,” he said in a release. “This campaign was very strategic by design and took into consideration a number of elements – including location, timing, instantaneous messaging and creative flexibility – which ultimately resulted in its success.”

The Aevra technology used in this campaign was previously also showcased during a Vodafone campaign, which enabled passersby to engage with a trio of billboards in Ponsonby, Eden Terrace and Parnell through their mobile phones.
APN Outdoor is currently also running a Young & Shand-developed campaign for Sour Patch that drives social media engagement by projecting Instagram followers’ selfies—shared via #sourpatchselfie—of their ‘sour faces’ onto one of the four digital billboards located around Auckland.

“It is great to see advertisers taking advantage of the many opportunities we offer with digital and we look forward to bringing many more cutting-edge campaigns like this to market in the future,” says Clemas.

The flexibility of digital outdoor advertising has seen APN Outdoor’s network of billboards booked out for several months in advance, as brands wait their turn to have their messages displayed on the impressive digital canvases.

But the growing queues outside the temple of digital could also pull budgets away from more traditional modes of out-of-home advertising.

OMANZ general manager Adam McGregor says that internationally the launch of new products has resulted in “redistribution of budgets by some advertisers,” but he plays down the impact of this by saying that this has been limited and that the “overall picture is one of growth”. 

Digital billboard advertising in the New Zealand context is still in its infancy, but McGregor says he doesn’t see the proliferation of digital options pulling revenue away from traditional out-of-home advertising.         

“So far the increasing number of digital out-of-home formats have not eroded revenue from traditional billboard stock or any other out of home formats,” he says. “It appears that the new displays are stimulating additional demand and therefore incremental revenue to the sector.”

And it isn’t only the traditional billboard that could potentially start feeling a revenue squeeze in the digital age. Traditional printing companies are also facing challenges posed by the growing preference for digital alternative. 

A recent example of this would be the Dairy Network, a Hypermedia initiative that has seen digital advertising screens installed at the points of sale in more than 200 dairies across the country.  

This neater, more aesthetically pleasing, approach has abrogated the need for brands to print advertising for each individual dairy. Now, a simple email can distribute a bespoke advertisement across the entire network instantly. And, in the event that something changes, the ad can be replaced rapidly with an alternative that is more current. 

Not only is this more convenient, it is also more environmentally friendly than the print-dependent alternative. 

These two advantages have also caught of the eye of the banking industry, which resulted in ASB launching its ‘paper independence’ programme two years ago.

“ASB’s ’paper independence’ programme was introduced to reduce our reliance on paper, not eliminate it,” says the bank’s corporate responsibility manager Shelley Dunmore. “The purpose of the programme is to help reduce ASB’s carbon footprint and operating costs.”

Further to this goal, ASB has incorporated a range of digital alternatives throughout its offices at ASB North Wharf in order to reduce the need for printing. 

“AV equipment in meeting rooms allows participants to view the meeting agenda or related documents on screen so they don’t need to print them out,” says Dunmore. “Mobility devices such as iPads and laptops also enable people to store and view electronic copies of documents anywhere in the building, rather than relying on hard copy files.”

This digital-powered approach is also supported by a ‘smarter printing guide,’ which encourages staff members to think twice before hitting print and also provides paper-saving tips. And this approach has already rendered some impressive results for the bank.

“Over the last two years, photo copy paper consumption costs across ASB have been reduced by 55 percent or $150,000,” says Dunmore. “Total paper consumption, including brochures, has been reduced by 55 tonnes or 15.8 percent in the last 12 months alone.” 

While the monetary saving is pocket change in the grand scheme of things for a major bank, the reduction of paper wastage definitely makes this a worthwhile initiative. And as more major corporates attempt to reduce the harm caused to the environment, it wouldn’t be surprising to see similar policies adopted at other companies in the near future.         

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