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In just a few days, many of you (nearly 800 people at the last count and growing) will convene in Washington, D.C. for the OAAA/TAB National Convention and Trade Show. What a momentous occasion this will be-an outstanding agenda, a superb trade show, the OBIE Awards, an International Leadership Conference, and most importantly-an unprecedented opportunity to share ideas and experiences with each other.
Beyond a doubt-this will be an OutdooRevolution-celebrating recent achievements but also exploring what initiatives will keep the industry growing and thriving. The agenda will focus on the revolutionary changes the industry faces, and what it will take to further advance the outdoor advertising industry.
In the last decade the outdoor advertising industry has evolved and grown in truly revolutionary ways. Just to name a few:
- All outdoor media formats and companies have joined under the OAAA umbrella (billboards, street furniture, transit, and alternative outdoor media). The many formats of outdoor have united as a $5.2 billion industry offering nearly one million display faces in the U.S. The industry is now as big as all outdoors-providing beautiful local, regional, and national outdoor media platforms for the diverse category mix of blue chip advertisers using the medium today.
- For the most part, the industry has recognized that the real competition is not within outdoor, but out there with other media. The wise outdoor media companies don't want a bigger piece of each other; they want a bigger piece of the overall ad revenue pie.
- The industry has made remarkable strides in how it is measured: improved revenue reporting, new automated TAB audits, new Scarborough services, outdoor's inclusion in syndicated software systems, an American Research Foundation committee to review outdoor research, and most importantly, new Arbitron and Nielsen tests leading to the development of outdoor ratings.
- Outdoor has more impact than ever before. Today there is complete saturation of computer imaging and reproduction to give the very best presentation to the very best creative. Outdoor offers a means to cut through the clutter with messages that are unavoidable to consumers as they move through the course of their day. The simplicity of outdoor clearly and emphatically illustrates what is most important about a brand or a campaign.
- The industry has developed and implemented literally thousands of public service campaigns like United We Stand, Pass it On, the Member of Congress congratulatory program, and the new Homeland Security campaign. In all, the industry has donated more than $300 for public service messages. And it just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
- Outdoor is a more formidable legislative force than ever before. In addition to stronger self regulation, the industry has stopped opposition attempts to ban or amortize billboards; strengthened First Amendment protection; enacted new changeable message and vegetation control laws; sharpened legislative tools; and maintained a high level of political involvement even in the midst of massive consolidation.
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