Outdoor ownership shake-up hits revenue

Short-term deals and dramatic changes in company ownership are being blamed for an estimated £20m drop in revenue in the outdoor market this year.

According to industry players, revenue for the first six months of the year is down by about 15 to 20 per cent. One contractor, Maiden, issued its second profits warning of the year in May.

The downturn started last autumn when advertisers held back on committing their budgets. An increase in short-term deals has encouraged tactical rather than branding campaigns.

Nick Maddison, a director at Blade, the UK’s biggest outdoor buying point, says: “Once short-term deals start, it’s very difficult to break the mould.”

Poster Publicity managing director Eric Newnham says the market has been inconsistent. “The contractors have gone through so many changes of ownership, it is difficult to establish long-term plans,” he says.

Mills & Allen, Sky Sites, Vision, Trainer, Baillie and Primesight have all been sold, while More Group has seen a number of staff changes.

Market analysts say the second half of the year looks much more positive. Newnham adds: “There is more investment, and new product areas are starting to use outdoor. Confidence in the medium worldwide has never been higher.”

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