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Outdoor media under ACCC investigation

Wednesday, 13 February 2019
By Wayne Robinson

Under investigation: Outdoor media industry

The booming outdoor media sector is being investigated by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission over its discounting and rebates practices.

With the value of the sector set to hit $1bn in a few years’ time, and a virtually duopoly of JC Decaux and oOh! Media controlling the sector following last year’s merger frenzy, the ACCC’s investigation is believed to have been prompted by some of the smaller players, concerned that they are being frozen out of contracts.

Shares in the outdoor media infrastructure companies dropped by around 5 five percent on the news.

Print21 sister magazine advertising industry Bible AdNews has the full report and follow up analysis.

According to AdNews one ex-buyer said it wasn’t uncommon for some OOH vendors to offer discounts of up to 40-50 per cent on a less valuable asset, to ensure a media agency spent more of their budget on larger format assets.

Examples also included some providing discounted rates on exclusive assets such as public transport, which would ultimately rule out any means for a competitor to match the offer.

Industry reaction has been mixed, with some welcoming the investigation, while others accuse the ACCC of being hypocritical in allowing the mega mergers last year then investigating them this.

The out of home (OOH) media sector has become the fastest growing media category in advertising agency spend, its share is now 13.7 per cent. While digital media has overtook print as the largest part of OOH in Q3 last year the volume and cash of outdoor print is still growing.

The 2018 OOH figures have not yet been released, but 2017 saw print account for 52.3 per cent of the record $837.1m spend on outdoor advertising.

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