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James Davies 

I'd like to introduce you to a new ecosystem...

James Davies, strategic development director at Posterscope, on the new eco-system developing in the world of Out of Home...

The idea of ecosystems is one that has gained increasing resonance for all of us in the communications business, as advertisers and their agencies work to understand and respond to a world in which consumer behaviour has been fundamentally changed by the ecosystems created by technology giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

These companies have created situations whereby consumers and brands can have many of their disparate needs met.

I'd like to suggest that a new ecosystem has indeed been developing in the world of Out-of-Home. It's not exactly the same kind, it's not been consciously created by one company, but it has developed nonetheless.

All of those people using internet-based services on smartphones, tablets and laptops while out and about are simultaneously exposed to OOH media so it's ideal for driving social, search, consideration and commerce. Add to this the proliferation of networked OOH screens, mobile/poster interactions, technology-based experiential and a whole range of new interfaces and you've got a very different OOH world for both consumers and advertisers.

Consequently it's becoming easier and more important to integrate OOH with other bought, owned and earned communications, especially those rooted in content and/or digital.

Admittedly it is all a bit complex though. That's why Posterscope has just published a 'Guide to Convergent OOH'.

And if right now you're thinking "this isn't an ecosystem - it's just posters and QR codes", trust me, by the time you flick through this (not so) little number, you'll be thinking "fair enough - ecosystem".

But I've got a lot less space to work with here, so in the interests of easing you in gently here are a few of my personal highlights...

One of the most obvious (and important) changes has been the introduction of video-based content to the medium allowing it to be integrated into TV, VOD and mobile video plans. That doesn't mean that you can treat OOH screens as TVs that just happened to be out-of-home, as was the initial tendency.

Channel 4 treats projections on the London Underground as a major content distribution channel with its own dedicated, real-time editorial team, meanwhile Five USA created the first campaign to incorporate a live international video broadcast with a camera placed in Times Square, New York streaming straight to cross-track projection screens on the London Underground.

This fairly dramatically makes the point that you can constantly update and refresh content - but this is true whatever your source of content. You don't have to be filming it live, you could be taking it off your Facebook page, getting your consumers to create it for you, or even making it out of data.

Huffington Post asked consumers to tweet their opinions regarding the day's top news stories using the hashtag #Huffpostuk and streamed moderated responses in real time to OOH screens in rail stations.

Nivea built a 'kissing booth', also in Times Square, from which consumer photos were uploaded to Facebook and to three giant digital screens nearby. Thousands of people took part during the four week period and the Facebook page amassed nearly 500,000 impressions.

New mobile technologies allow OOH to act as both a prompt and a conduit to content - take movie trailers, for example. NFC-enabled posters for 20th Century Fox's X-Men and VH1's Basketball Wives both allowed instantaneous connection to the movie trailer page and a Facebook 'Like' button by simply touching an NFC phone against the poster.

For the launch of the MINI Countryman... well you need to see the video really. Is that experiential, outdoor, online, social, mobile, video or direct response?

It's all of the above. All joined together.

See what I mean? Ecosystem.

And not only that; OOH is the enviable position of overlapping with all the other big ecosystems too.

To find out more, click here

Mediatel operate two essential services for the OOH industry. SPACE is a collaboration between IPAO and Outsmart and is the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of inventory in the UK. The RouteAPI is a SaaS solution that enables easy integration of Route audience data into client's systems. See mediatel.co.uk for more information.

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