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2018 State of the Industry Report

The continuing modernization of urban infrastructure has increased the number of spaces available for OOH advertising.
Photo courtesy Branded Cities Canada

OOH advertising
Research and Markets estimates the global out-of-home (OOH) advertising market reached a value of nearly US$38 billion in 2016, which it credits to the continuing development and modernization of transportation systems and other urban infrastructure, which have increased the number of outdoor spaces that can be used effectively to reach the public with promotional messages. Examples include both static and digital billboards, transit shelter posters and other ‘street furniture’.

“OOH is one of the oldest, most cost-effective and longest-lasting forms of advertising, with wide coverage,” says Laura Wood, senior manager for Research and Markets.

Another market research firm, PQ Media, says global OOH ad revenue reached even higher in 2016, topping US$49 billion, in part due to one-time events like coverage of that year’s U.S. presidential campaign and the Summer Olympics in Brazil. On a worldwide basis, consumer exposure to OOH ads increased by 1.5 per cent, to an average of nearly 66 minutes per week.

Digital OOH has driven much of the growth, with its own revenues increasing by 12.6 per cent in 2016 to nearly US$12 billion and commanding a 24.1 per cent share of the entire OOH market, up from 16.8 per cent in 2010. PQ expects growth of 13 per cent for 2017, to a projected US$13.4 billion.

Within this category, digital place-based advertising posted 12.2 per cent growth to exceed US$8 billion, while digital billboards and signage rose by 13.5 per cent to more than US$3.7 billion. ‘Traditional’ and ‘ambient’ OOH, by comparison, grew by 4.4 percent to more than US$37 billion.

At the same time, consumers’ exposure to DOOH media has grown by nine per cent to a weekly average of 20 minutes. PQ suggests the fastest-growing locations for DOOH networks include airports, train stations and health care venues.

Another factor fuelling the medium’s growth is programmatic buying. This technology allows advertisers to purchase spots directly in real time, based on audience demographics, viewing patterns and even changes in the weather.


“As social-media-savvy people in their late 20s and 30s fill marketing roles at firms, they bring a greater demand for thoughtful branding and the need to create a unique experience for their customers. With this, we see growing demand for creative designs, custom applications and requests for ‘old-school’ signage.”
– Troy Hibbs, managing partner, TDH Experiential Fabricators

“The sign industry in general is reasonably strong and stable. In Canada, the economy and the dollar are holding at acceptable levels. Politics are unpredictable, however, and can adversely affect small businesses, including the majority of sign shops. Also, sign shops across the country continue to experience difficulty finding people who would like to choose this profession as a career path and recruiting talented technicians and installers.”
– Don Ross, national sales manager, Roland DGA Canada

“Digital presses only account for approximately two per cent of the total textile print industry, where screenprinting is still dominant; but just as with vinyl printing only a short time ago, digital printing is starting to take a larger share of the textile business. With projected worldwide sales growth of 33 per cent, it is not hard to see why textiles are attracting a lot of interest from digital print companies.”
– Chris Tyler, director of operations, Studio Signs Visual Media

“In cases where municipal governments have inconsistent time frames for permit processing and miss deadlines by weeks or months, they disrupt sign companies’ schedules. Most municipalities have elements of their planning departments online and we strongly encourage them to get signage online, as well, with a portal system that would make applying for, paying for and tracking permits much easier.”
– Karin S. Eaton, government relations (GR) director, Sign Association of Canada (SAC)

“Security has been a hot topic lately in digital signage. With hackers taking screens captive to display unauthorized content, even if only for a minute, it is important to ensure an ironclad security plan is in place for all networks. Controlling access is a multi-layer effort, addressing physical access, the operating system (OS) and application security.”
– Samantha Brault, communications specialist, BroadSign International

“The sign industry has seen a strong year. I imagine this trend will continue, due to a robust Canadian economy and growing international demand. Looking further ahead, new technology might disrupt the sign business, not only through the tendency to use digital media more and more, but also in the way we orientate ourselves in buildings or open spaces. Technology that is intuitive and talks to us or provides other hints to help us navigate these spaces will represent the next revolution.”
– Udo Schliemann, principal creative director, Entro

“The sign industry continues to grow, driven by the need for companies to rebrand themselves, but beneath the surface, there are major shifts that will shape the industry for the next decade and beyond. We foresee digital signage redefining the industry. As it becomes more affordable and ubiquitous for both interior and exterior applications, sign fabricators must be vigilant if they are to remain relevant.”
– Jean-Pierre Lacroix, president, Shikatani Lacroix Brandesign

“DOOH advertising is growing fast because it continues to add value to the entire OOH equation by equipping screens with cameras, location-based networking and audience measurement capabilities. Our research shows brand marketers are enjoying higher consumer engagement due to these advances.”
– Patrick Quinn, CEO, PQ Media

With files from ISA, IHS, ElectroniCast Consulting, InfoTrends, Smithers Pira, Technavio, Hexa Research, MarketsandMarkets, Grand View Research, Berg Insight, Global Market Insights, Forrester Consulting, Research and Markets and PQ Media. For more information, visit,,,,,,,,,,,, and


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