Will Ooh Media pull off its retail media play?
Welcome to a Friday edition of Unmade. Today’s topic: the two big evolutions in Ooh Media’s market strategy.
Unmade’s paying members get two complimentary tickets to our agenda-setting Marketing in 2023 event promoted in the ad further down in this email. At the bottom of this page, below the paywall, you’ll find the discount code you need to access it. Monthly memberships start at $65. Otherwise, tickets are $69 each.
Out of home: The hardest upfront to make interesting?
With Upfronts season finally winding down, it was Ooh Media’s turn yesterday.
As we’ve been discussing here on Unmade, 2022 marked the first year that almost all of the major advertising-led industry players ran some kind of second half Upfronts event to speak to the market.
What was previously a television phenomenon where the networks unveiled their schedule for the coming year has been recognised as an opportunity for trade marketers across the wider media to spruik their wares. This year has been the tipping point, where absence from the Upfronts schedule is now more noticeable than presence. (Where are you, Are Media, HT&E and QMS?)
The hardest thing for the non-TV players is having new stuff to announce - in most media the content doesn’t change as rapidly as it does in television.
That was noticeable in Mamamia’s Upfront event at the start of this month, which was more of a credentials presentation and less of an announcement of new stuff to come. Southern Cross Austereo overcame that challenge back in July by focusing on the growth story around its audio platform Listnr, and running a live panel where a couple of news lines emerged around CEO Grant Blackley’s international ambitions.
For Ooh Media, the only ASX-listed outdoor company, yesterday’s challenge was finding new things to say about something as inherently stable as the outdoor industry. It did quite well in that regard.
I wasn’t there in person. Ooh initially sent its invitation as a video stream only, and I’d already locked in my return travel to Tasmania from Tuesday’s Seven Upfront before that changed.
In theory that didn’t matter, given the main part was a pre-recorded presentation. I was, however, interested in my own differing consumer behaviour.
I had watched and absorbed every moment of Seven’s similarly pre-recorded preso from deep within my Hoyts cinema recliner on Tuesday. It would have felt rude to start surfing the web in front of everyone.
But in the privacy of my own office, the distraction of devices, news alerts and text messages meant that I kept catching myself only half watching the Ooh preso.
Maybe one day an entrepreneurial academic will make a fortune by devising some pseudoscience about attention metrics and selling it to media owners.
I also made the mistake of thinking that the pause button on the Ooh video player actually, you know, paused the stream. It did not. So while I made a cup of tea for the show, I missed the first ten minutes of the welcome from CEO Cath O’Connor. I think it was the reading-between-the-lines spicy bit.
I rejoined as she was talking about the importance of outdoor companies having a positive impact on their environment. In the context of QMS’s botched rollout of its intrusive City of Sydney digital panels, that seemed like it might have been a swipe at a rival.
The outdoor industry is faster moving than it used to be, thanks in large part to digitisation. While digital disruption has mostly been negative for traditional players in other media, it has been a net positive for the outdoor players. Digital screens mean more rapidly changing inventory, and more creative at that.
The most significant announcement yesterday was a push into the fast-moving space of retail media. Beyond the contested territory of Coles Media and Woolworths’ Cartology, there’s a lot of open territory around the next tier of retailers.
This new division of Ooh (pronounced Oh, not ooh) will be known as Reooh (pronounced Rio not ree-ooh). The branding contortions of a company that officially spells its own name as oOh! are becoming quite painful.
Nonetheless, Reooh is a significant move. It used to be that when brands helped supermarkets fund promotions, 80% of those dollars eventually ended up with third party media owners. Now the chain begins and ends with the supermarkets. Reooh marks an attempt by Ooh Media to claw back some of those dollars.
Retail media, in both online and bricks and mortar, will be one of the key battlegrounds of 2023.
The other talking point that interested me from the Ooh upfront was the launch of the company’s creative effectiveness tool Polygraph (or rather POLYGRAPH as Ooh would like it to be known; have I mentioned how much I dislike the company’s grammar?).
It marks an attempt to put some science into the question of what makes for an effective piece of out of home creative. Outdoor is the medium where creative execution makes the biggest difference to outcome, because in most cases there’s no other content to compete with.
Striving to be the outdoor company that leads the conversation around out of home creative effectiveness is the correct strategy.
Also noticeable within the announcements was Ooh Media CMO Neil Ackland dipping into the tool bag he developed in his previous role as CEO of Junkee Media. Junkee set the agenda in the youth media space with an annual piece of research into the demographic which was always informative and presented entertainingly.
Next year Ooh will launch the ‘How Aussies Move’ study which will “reveal the future of work, travel, health and more”.
When they present it, it will be worth seeing in person.
Unmade Index heading
The three-day winning streak came to an end for The Unmade Index yesterday, with our basket of locally listed media and marketing stocks experiencing a fall of 1%. This was despite the wider ASX All Ordinaries rising by 0.53%.
The biggest fall came from Ooh Media, which dropped by 2.68%, taking its capitalisation just back below the three-quarters of a billion dollar level. Nine nudged just below $3.5bn.
Southern Cross Austereo has seen a steady recovery over the last week; it’s now 8.4% up on last Friday’s historic low.
The best performer on the Unmade Index yesterday was research and survey company Pureprofile which saw its price rise by 12.9%
Time to let you go about your Friday.
I’ll be back tomorrow with Best of the Week. There’s been a lot happening.
A reminder that the code Unmade’s paying members can use to get two complimentary tickets to our Melbourne event is under the paywall at the bottom of this page.