OVAB Changes Name, Refocuses

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By David Keene

OVAB announced yesterday that they have changed their name to the Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA). This does not come as a big surprise, as OVAB has been very active in the industry recently, is rising in stature in the larger media world, and is riding a wave of interest in DOOH from Brands and Agencies.

Founded three years ago, the Out-of-home Video Advertising Bureau (OVAB), the new name of the organization, Digital Place-based Advertising Association, was selected following a vote by its members last week. OVAB/DPAA helps Agencies and Brands more easily evaluate, plan and buy digital place-based advertising- “the key to reaching and influencing consumers on the path to purchase”. Suzanne La Forgia, OVAB’s President, has been a ubiquitous and elegant spokesperson on the trade show and larger media circuit. At the Digital Signage Expo in Las Vegas last month, La Forgia, along with Intel Corporation’s director of Digital Signage Jose Avalos and Dynamic Retailing president Michael Hiatt, was one of the speakers in the Supersession "Digital Out-of-Home’s Future”, and addressed what to expect in digital out-of-home industry growth, the direction the technology is taking at retail and a future look at DOOH advertising networks. La Forgia hinted in that Supersession at DSE that there needed to be a honing of the definition of DOOH (Digital Out of Home). La Forgia believes that to be truly DOOH, the screens in a particular system must be IP-addressable, not just digital screens deploying static images, or non-networked screens.

OVAB/DPAA’s membership consists of about thirty or so companies–mainly large network operators– but those companies together control about 400,000 screens in the U.S., so their reach and influence is huge. (They have about twenty associate member companies as well.)

The holy grail of being able to do a cross-network media buy in DOOH is getting closer. We’re not there yet. At this point in the evolution of the industry, there are still big and powerful players who understandably want to build on their own market penetration and market share and are not totally sold on the idea on creating a seamless network buy. Or better put– the industry as a whole, especially Brands and Agencies, desperately want the DOOH Network buy, but network operators, the big and successful ones, have spent years building their own networks, piece by piece, client by client. As each of those has grown, there is a delicate balance between wanting to keep hard-earned customers, and broadening the market for everyone including new players by facilitating a TV-like cross-platform buy. Don’t get me wrong, it will come, and OVAB/DPAA, and its members, are working toward that goal. But as with any new industry, there is going to be some caution going forward.

Suzanne La Forgia is one of most forward-thinking association executives around… she understands that we live in an age when every person, and every place, is IP-addressable. But only the smart marketers, smart content providers, are going to know how to track those addresses, with usable content, as they move through the dense and message-crowded urban landscape. By refocusing, OVAB is bringing the huge players, down from the top, to meet this ground-swell from below, from the consumer.

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