WOO ends Africa Regional Forum, canvasses collaboration for growth

By Felicia Nwosu

The World Out-of-Home Organization (WOO) has held its first Africa Regional Forum in Cape Town, South Africa, where several industry veterans and thought leaders x-rayed major challenges confronting the market.

Advocating for new initiatives, the experts called for collaboration to accelerate the growth of out-of-home in Africa.

Giving his opening address at the 1st in-person WOO Africa Forum, Tom Goddard, the WOO President, averred that the global market is faced with challenges such as fragmented ownership of OOH media worldwide, uncoordinated adtech, poor OOH audience measurement in many markets, absence of standardisation of OOH terms, insufficient collaboration at the industry level. and many others.

According to Media Growth’s report shared on LinkedIn, the President disclosed that world OOH spend in 2022 was estimated at US$36 billion, which he noted constituted only an average 5% of the total ad spend. He also addressed the issue of what is termed as the 5% syndrome.

He further stressed the need to foster a more united front among members across the continent to promote strong national industry bodies, common currency, sustainability and coordinated adtech to enable them scale through various challenges to boost growth for the industry.

Other leading speakers expressed their views on various issues affecting the industry across the continent. They also pointed out several other factors whose ripple effects have impacted negatively on other sectors of the media. Theseinclude significant headwinds around issues about trust, ad-fraud, audience and environment.

Chris Botha, Group MD, Park Adv, South Africa, whose speech centered on collaboration, innovation and adaptation, cited AdExBets’s recent report which data indicated 2% drop in 2023 ad spend, an outcome he attributed to media inflation.

The media expert called for a holistic approach that will enable OOH professionals to navigate the economic environment and its impact on the ever-evolving media industry.

He expressed his observation while revealing the decline in television viewership, which he noted is being influenced by instrumental forces such as consumer choice, streaming services, and the shift towards digital platforms, while maintaining that radio, despite audience declines, maintained its stronghold due to its adaptability and engagement with digital platforms.

Greg Benatar, Joint Managing Director & Group Sales Director, Alliance Media, acknowledged the uniqueness and diversity of the African Market.
He however,enjoined brand builders to move in line with this understanding to enable them navigate through the continent’s marketing terrain.

He also cautioned members to swiftly recognize the diverse elements surrounding the markets which include demographics and cultural diversity of the region, tribal factors, internet penetration level, media nuances governing various markets, media clutter on the urban landscape and the various OOH regulations guiding its practice.

Lamenting other limiting factors such as skyrocketing foreign exchange, he decried the adverse impact of erratic power supply, high fuel costs that inhibit use of back-up power, among others.

Benatar highlighted the emerging trends that have brought a new shift that have redefined the ooh ecosystem, especially the emergence of deep fake which is currently posing as a challenge to the landscape. He reminded the audience that OOH overtime has stood the test of time as a trusted and safe platform for brand building.

In his presentation, Remi du Preez, Founder and Managing Director of Polygon, commended the practitioners for embracing change with the adoption and adaptation of programmatic out-of-home advertising and advancements and its drastic shift in tracking results to boost advertisers’ confidence.

Also, another industry legend, Tim Bleakley, CEO of Ocean Group, expressed concern over how OOH professionals handle measurement, urging them to measure what matters.

Insisting that OOH must measure what matters, the Ocean Group boss supported his insight with a previous research which indicated that “all impacts are not equal”, maintaining that in markets, with little or no credible industry measurement, it is still possible to create the necessary metrics.

“Many markets have audience data via currencies like ROAD or ROUTE, but the important question is how we establish the emotional response of out of home. Attribution has always been an issue for OOH and ROI is fundamental to market share,” he said,


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