Digital won’t kill the analogue star, it will enhance it

It was great this week to hear City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s glowing review of how signage can improve Sydney “using technologies to make it easier for people to stay informed and find their way around our city.”

But while the media focus is on digital, it would be remiss to think that this spells the end of the tried and true printed poster.

In fact, all Out of Home (OOH) formats, from roadside to street furniture, to transport to retail, continue to grow in revenue as our audiences continue to grow. Sure, digital OOH is ‘sexy’ and is a key factor in driving overall growth, but in this digital world, printed posters offer high impact and visibility and still make up a large proportion of OMA member inventory. What’s more, in the coming years, the Internet of Things (or IoT) and Augmented Reality will start to bring our printed posters to life.

Now is an exciting time for signage in NSW, as the Lord Mayor’s comments come on top of another happy piece of news for the OOH industry: a significant change to the State’s regulation of signs – the SEPP 64.

Announced 29 November, the updates to SEPP 64 and Guidelines won’t necessarily mean more signs, but it will make the process of seeking approval for a sign development much more efficient. It also means that there is now one safe and consistent standard for the operation of digital signs in the State. To the OOH industry, it shows that NSW really is open for business.

And good news for industry is good news for the State, given approximately 60% of all OOH signs are owned by Government and the industry returns approximately 50% of its revenue to government and landlords through rent and taxes.

Print or digital, Christmas has come early for OOH as we progressively see Governments shift their focus to the creativity, innovation and utility our signs can deliver to cities, and we start to see more reasonable, evidence based regulation. We just hope this leads to even greater collaboration to pave the way for opportunities that will benefit us all.