Maiden Outdoor has agreed to release hundreds of advertising sites, which it previously had the rights to manage on behalf of Railtrack.
The move follows a decision by Railtrack to reorganise its existing contract and offer all sites on its bridge-span locations as a separate contract.
The decision to change the existing arrangements was made by the company’s commercial advertising manager Yan Huybrechts, who has spent the past four years reviewing the company’s existing contracts and identifying ways to increase its outdoor advertising revenue.
Huybrechts says the successful bidder will have a much longer contract than its existing agreements with Maiden, which ran for five years. He says: “If [a contractor] is going to exploit this properly, a short-term contract is not going to be worth their while. We are considering contracts that run for 15 to 20 years.”
Most of the large outdoor contractors, including the incumbent, are expected to offer their services because the revenue from the sites could be lucrative. It is not possible to estimate the commercial value of the contract at present, as it is not known how many bridges will obtain planning permission to display advertising.
As well as the potential planning difficulties, some sites are also hard to maintain. For instance, to change some advertising copy, roads may have to be closed for safety reasons, adding to the costs involved.