Talon Outdoor’s Josko Grljevic: five adtech-led elements transforming Out of Home in 2021

If nothing else, 2020 was a masterclass in showcasing the need for adaptability and rapid innovation. Agility, technology and data have become essential guiding lights for navigating constantly shifting landscapes, for status quo is now synonymous with change.

What is the likely impact on the OOH industry, as it strives for digital transformation now that long established ways of working have been disrupted? I have outlined (in no particular order), my top 5 trends for 2021.

1/ Programmatic, and any form of automated trading for that matter, will continue gaining momentum throughout the year. OOH’s progressive shift from an off-line to an on-line medium will gather pace, being driven by advertisers wanting to activate campaigns in near-real time and in response to environmental triggers. With media owners actively looking to monetise their inventory through as many channels as possible, SSP’s, DSP and 3rd party buying platforms provide an attractive pipeline of demand. All of which will continue to drive the cycle of continued investment, capability and scale of DOOH inventory.


2/ Data and insights will become fundamental for strategic decision making. Long established and proven OOH patterns have been turned on their head over the past 12 months. With advertisers demanding more accountability and ever greater returns on their investments, access to good data and ability to harvest meaningful insights, is rapidly becoming a must-have business capability in today’s evidence-based economy.

3/ The industry will remain in a state of flux throughout 2021. Implementing and fast-tracking digital transformations will be key to staying relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing tech-centric economy. Organisations with access to investment and leadership necessary to execute their transformation strategies will have an edge over those that don’t. Setting them up in a favourable position for a market recovery.

4/ Privacy and data compliance will take centre stage throughout 2021. Imminent changes in data collection, processing and privacy regulations will place even more emphasis on compliance, measurement and transparency. The ICO’s continued scrutiny of RTB, Apple’s IDFA policy, and the sun-setting of 3rd party cookies will create a bow wave throughout the industry. All of which will require new and innovative approaches for collecting, storing, managing and transacting PII data. As is the case with all change, this will no doubt create opportunities for organisations that can come up with compliant solutions for behavioural audience targeting and activation.

5/ M&A activity will gather pace on the back of two key drivers. Firstly, companies with mature data, insights, activation and technology capability have become possible acquisition targets for those looking to bolster their OOH capability. The progressive shift from paper to digital billboards is expanding the addressable inventory universe, making DOOH an attractive medium for digital advertisers. Secondly, the reduced availability of capital investment in 2020/21 will drive consolidation of smaller tech companies and media owners. There are benefits in integrating complementary services into new and existing solutions, without the need for significant Capex overhead.

Josko Grljevic is chief transformation officer, Talon Outdoor.

About Talon: Talon Outdoor is an independent Out of Home media specialist and a significant player in the Out of Home agency sector with a focus on delivering smarter, creative, technology-led and integrated OOH communications. Combining independence with a collaborative approach, Talon promotes open working between agencies, clients and media partners.

Talon has achieved the Campaign Best Places Number 1 Medium sized UK Company to Work For and has also featured in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100, as No. 1 in Best Companies and in LSE’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

Talon handles the Out of Home media for several of the UK’s leading advertising brands through Omnicom Media Group UK agencies, along with other agencies including AMS Media Group, JAA, Havas Media Group, Goodstuff, Ptarmigan Media and Republic of Media.


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