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WPP chief forecasts bright future for OOH

Out-of-home (OOH) could be set for a rapid recovery after the pandemic, with the UK expected to see 31% growth this year, according to a forecast from WPP chief executive Mark Read.

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WPP chief executive Mark Read expects significant growth in the OOH market

Speaking at the World Out of Home Organisation’s virtual European Forum, Read said that the UK OOH market could experience as much as 22% next year, with the US expected to see 41% growth this year and 20% in 2022.

Read also highlighted the importance of digital OOH, with this having grown 15% at a time when OOH declined 30% overall.

“The key question is where OOH fits in an e-commerce dominated business world,” Read said, adding: “OOH builds brands, raises awareness and gives brands stature, and with OOH now being increasingly digitised, this adds the strengths of giving campaigns more relevance and speed and the ability to be tailored to time of day, different audiences and updated messages. 

“Continuing digitisation should enable the medium to move up from its 7% share of global ad revenue.

“If I were running a campaign for WPP I’d probably put it on OOH in major airports. I’d certainly much rather be running an OOH media company than a magazine or newspaper these days.”

Continuing digitisation should enable the medium to move up from its 7% share of global ad revenue

Read also warned of the danger of clients putting greater investment into performance media than brand building media and was sceptical of the trend for client ‘in-housing’, when agency teams work from their clients’ offices. 

“A number of WPP firms provide this service, notably The & Partnership and Hogarth, and we can make our offerings faster, more agile, more responsive and reduce the volume and cost of content,” Read said.

“But when everyone is working remotely, I don’t know why clients want to obsess about in-housing when there is no house for them to be in. We’ve been working remotely and our revenues and client satisfaction scores have still gone up.

“I think it’s challenging enough for our clients to run their businesses as it is without running creative organisations.”

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