Marketers’ claims that advertising is a force for good have proved spot on, with a new analysis revealing that since 2009, out of home media owners have invested £1.1bn into installing and maintaining public infrastructure, including bus shelters, free telecoms services and even lifesaving defibrillators.
In fact, nearly half of that figure – £411m – was spent in 2021 alone to support public services, infrastructure, communities and employees.
This represents 46% of the industry’s entire 2021 revenue, while the sector also directly contributed £188m towards public finances through business rates and rent.
The report, complied by PwC and commissioned by industry body Outsmart, estimates a further £29m helped support charities and communities by donations, heavily discounted or donated media space and staff hours given to charity.
It is based on a survey of OOH media owners, which represent 92% of industry revenue, including Alight Media, Bay Media, BlowUP Media, Clear Channel, Global, JCDecaux UK, Mass Media, Ocean Outdoor and Wildstone.
In addition to its contributions to society, the study also shows how the sector has increased the share of renewables to over 90% of electricity consumption, while innovating to increase the use of recyclable materials.
Outsmart director Tim Lumb said: “This report highlights OOH is not just about fantastic advertising, it’s also about investing in our relationship with the public by providing highly valued services up and down the country and supporting good causes.”
PwC senior manager Andy Lobo added: “The OOH sector has long benefitted both advertisers and local communities as demonstrated by the wide range of media owner investments and initiatives – from funding public infrastructure through to celebrating and promoting diversity on advertising screens across the country.
“It is exciting to see the sector making progress at tackling a broader set of environmental and social challenges too.”
The study follows a separate Kantar report which showed that both consumers and marketers see digital OOH as the most innovative channel out there – especially as it takes advantage of data insight, high screen resolution and fast developing creative technologies.
And while Kantar maintained that most marketers are choosing the wrong channels to target consumers, both place OOH ads in their top five channels.
Consumers’ top five are sponsored events, cinema ads, out of home ads, point of sale and digital out of home. For marketers they are online video ads, sponsored events, digital out of home ads, video streaming ads and social media story ads.
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