According to Digital Signage Expo’s most recent Quarterly Business Barometer Survey, after a modest third quarter, ninety-seven percent of all survey participants in North America still remained positive about the future of the digital out-of-home industry — representing no significant overall change from Q3 2010.
However, for Q4, 63 percent of respondents indicated they felt “Very Positive” — a 5-point improvement over the third quarter — and 34 percent were “Somewhat Positive” about the industry’s future, according to the study.
As in past quarters, those most positive about the future of the DOOH Industry varied across each of the three main groups of respondents, which included Technology/Content Providers (58 percent “very positive,” up 4 points), Advertising/Marketing Professionals (63 percent “very positive,” up 3 points), and End Users/OOH Network Operators (70 percent “very positive,” up 9 points), the study found.
In Q4 2010, 51 percent of End-User/Network Operators reported that their actual DOOH advertising revenues were “Higher” than in Q3 2010, a 4 percent increase over the previous quarter, according to the report. Additionally, the trend line remains positive as 7 percent more projected that their advertising revenues in Q1 2011 will be “higher” than the percentage who forecast an increase for Q4 2010.
Technology/Content Provider respondents predicted that the hottest growth categories for DOOH during the next 12 months would include Retail (55 percent), Healthcare (42 percent), Restaurant (39 percent), Education (32 percent) and Transportation (30 percent).
However, the number of new installations reported during the fourth quarter declined, with 44 percents of respondents indicating their installs were higher in Q4 versus 51 percent in Q3, the study found. Respondents also reported a corresponding decline in total screens involved in those installations, with only 38 percent of respondents reporting a “higher” percentage compared to 44 percent the previous quarter.
The commitment to install for the first time, add to, replace or upgrade current digital signage systems during the next 12 months rose slightly from the previous quarter’s report, with 10 percent of end-user respondents indicating they’re installing digital signage for the first time and 76 percent adding to or replacing/upgrading their current systems, compared to 4 percent and 79 percent respectively in Q3, according to the report.
The average planned installation size during the next 12 months reported in Q4 was slightly more than in Q1, with 35 percent planning to install more than 100 screens and 60 percent planning to deploy fewer than 100 screens, versus 31 percent and 66 percent respectively in Q3, the report found.
According to the sampling of end-users and network operators planning deployments, their projected investments during the next 12 months increased from the previous quarterly report, with 21 percent in Q4 planning to spend $1 million or more on digital signage products and services versus 18 percent in Q3.
Only 22 percent of advertising executives and brand marketers responding to the Q4 survey said their Q4 2010 ad spend was “Higher” than in Q3 2010, 17 percent less than reported in the previous quarter; however, another 65 percent reported that their ad spend remained “about the same,” for a total net decline of only 2 percent over the previous quarter.
In addition, only 48 percent forecast a “Higher” ad spend for Q1 2011, with another 48 percent indicating uncertainty regarding their first quarter ad spend when the survey took place in January. The top categories targeted for that investment, in rank order, are Arts/Entertainment/Recreation and Bar/Tavern/Nightclub (tie), followed by Public Spaces and Transportation (tie) and then by Bank/Brokerage, Restaurant and Retail (tie).
“After a difficult second quarter and modest third quarter, respondents to the DSE Q4 2010 Business Barometer started to appear more upbeat about the future of the industry,” said Richard Lebovitz, editorial director for digitalsignageexpo.net, Atlanta. “The general outlook for the economy improved, as did the prospects for the industry, as the positive forecasts from each stakeholder group — end users/network operators, ad agencies/brand marketers and technology/content providers — represented in the survey indicate.”