The latest chapter of Streaming Wars unfolds in outdoor ads

The streaming wars have been well documented over the last three years, as new releases and new patterns of consumer behavior revolutionize the streaming landscape. With Netflix losing subscribers and the future of HBO Max clouded by rumours, streamers need attention not only to stay relevant, but to stay alive.

Amid a return to normal in commuter patterns, with more people back in offices following the pandemic-forced work-from-home period, the broadcast wars are relocating to an exciting new location: the skies. above and the tunnels below.

This summer, streamers are promoting more and more content through one of the oldest forms of media, outdoor advertising. For years before the pandemic, OOH was the only form of traditional media seeing gains in ad spend, but the pandemic brought the medium down a bit, with fewer people traveling, leading to a decline in billboards and online advertising. transit.

But with consumers returning to many pre-pandemic patterns of behavior despite the lingering threat of COVID-19, billboards and transit have seen a resurgence of interest. And streamers have been leading the way.

Options include digital boards with anamorphic content that looks 3D, like Hulu’s Orville and those of netflix
NFLX
demonic resident; murals on the sides of buildings, like for Discovery+ Shark Week; wrapped trains; and billboards with little visual extras, like one for Disney+ mrs wonder with the superhero perched on top.

Behind the rise of OOH streaming

Julie Radlovic, Vice President of National Sales for the West Coast of OUTFRONT
ONT
, one of the nation’s leading outdoor advertising companies, says the company has seen a “significant” increase in interest in advertising from streaming companies this summer. From the first to the second quarter, billboard entertainment spending rose 36%, according to this week’s OUTFRONT earnings report. She attributes part of that to the sheer number of startups.

“Paramount Plus, Discovery Plus, Peacock HBO Max, they’re coming in, and they’re coming in strong, at first doing brand campaigns and then doing specific show campaigns to gain viewership,” she says. “So it’s a combination of streaming that’s big, but also streaming that’s really big because there’s all these other players now that didn’t exist in this space five years ago. Then it was Hulu and Netflix.”

Plus, he says, Netflix sparked an OOH feeding frenzy four years ago when it bought billboards on the Sunset Strip. That gave the broadcaster permanent real estate in one of the most desirable locations on the West Coast. Other streamers are eager to compete. Amazon
AMZN
, for example, bought all the boards it could in Culver City when it recently moved its offices there. “They recreated what Netflix did on their own. They had to buy multiple vendors to get that combination of things. But over time, every time a new product comes out, they add another billboard in Venice,” says Radlovic.

A traffic resurgence

Another factor contributing to the rise of OOH streaming is consumer behavior. Radlovic says ridership on public transport has “been back in full force” since the pandemic, and in some places even surpassed 2019 levels.

“We’ve seen some really smart ideas,” says Chad Shackelford, vice president and head of digital creative at OUTFRONT. “For example, Amazon made one for Boys with a car wrapped in the A Train. Well, one of the main antagonists of this season is called A Train. That’s really a smart idea to make the connection.”

Billboards make a statement

OOH also means something to those in entertainment. “There’s a saying that you haven’t made it in entertainment as an actor unless you have a billboard on the Sunset Strip or Times Square,” says Radlovic. While it used to refer to movie and TV show stars, it now includes broadcast stars.

She points out that the social amplification that comes with OOH also makes it popular in the entertainment category. Billboards and transit ads can gain a second life online. Radlovic cites a recent example of a 50 Cent-starring show dominating (lots of billboards) in Times Square. Kim Kardashian is a good friend of the 50s and posted a photo of the billboards on social media. Boom: An additional 50 million people also saw the ad. “Away from home is the only medium that can do that,” she says. “You never see a star posting a picture with a TV screen in the background saying, ‘Look at my head behind me on the screen.'”

Higher frequency, higher tuning

Finally, frequency is a key part of effective advertising: the idea that someone has to see a message more than once to absorb it and act on it. Public transportation advertising delivers high frequency because people take the same route to and from work every day. So they may walk past your sign 10 times a week on their way to the office. Suddenly, when they get home on a Friday night and want to watch something, they think of that wrapped train for Amazon. Boys and click Prime Video.

“You can build a kind of recurring relationship with the audience and drive anticipation of tuning in, and I think that’s why we’re seeing so much interest abroad from entertainment brands,” says Shackelford.

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