Adshel branches out in OOH

Adshel, remaining APN out of home advertising agency since the sale of APN Outdoor, is expanding to a full-service firm and pursuing new kinds of work for clients.Rob Atkinson, CEO of Adshel, says the departure of APN Outdoor gives Adshel more attention, focus and support from its parent company.

He says the company now has no limits and where feasible will at least consider just about anything on a per-tender basis to give the best result for clients, whatever that entails.

The expansion starts with an exclusive contract for advertising in the concourses and platforms of the Sydney Trains network.

Rob Atkinson

Rob Atkinson

As with other outdoor heavyweights, one of the company’s major diversification efforts is to develop a digital portfolio, which it only began offering in April.

Adshel has put about 200 digital panels on the 51 Sydney train stations, including 11 major stations that are now digital-only, and has begun installing digital advertising panels in 7/11 convenience stores around Australia – one of the country’s fastest-growing retailers.

It is also expanding its outdoor furniture advertising to include wraps of transport shelters, digital screens and augmented reality integration.

However, Atkinson says though digital is expanding it still makes up less than 10 per cent of its business, and only 200 of the company’s more than 16,000 sites. Print is still is prime medium, meaning suppliers The Print Centre, GSP, Clegg Media, Visualcom and Direct Image are still on the payroll.

He says, “Print is still the best way for advertisers to get the best reach and frequency. There is always going to be a place for print.

We have to use digital in the right way in areas of high consumer dwelling and with good potential for interaction. There are a lot of places where digital is not worth it, you need to have a good mix of products.”

Atkinson says the convergence of print, digital, interactivity, online and social media is a focus going forward as the company offers a wider product range and can create multi-channel campaigns.

He plans to couple it with real-time data research and programmatic ad buying on digital assets, and says ad agencies are already interested in this approach.

Adshel had seen two years of record growth, increasing EBITDA by 14 per cent to $40.2m and revenue by five per cent to $149.3m for FY2013, but erased those gains with a five per cent drop in revenue and 19 per cent hit to EBITA for the 2014 half-year report (APN reports by calendar year).

However, APN chief executive Michael Miller says this was because of rental payments associated with the Sydney Trains contract beginning several months before the rollout.

Atkinson says things are heading in the right direction and the company is ‘looking at a good year’ with a ‘smooth transition’ into diversified operations.


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