As generally expected, South Africa’s “Big 4” media owners (JCDecaux, Primedia, Outdoor Network and Ad Outpost) largely dominate the metropolitan highway network by owning close to 45% of the highway sites. In a largely dispersed and sprawling urban landscape, with increasing distances between origins and destinations, it is not surprising that highway movement represents such a central part of the daily commuter patterns of our cities. Moreover, as people repeatedly travel the same routes, the Big 4’s presence have remained in place as an anchoring component of their respective holdings.
However, in the age of innovation and specialization we are increasingly seeing disrupter’s like Uber entering the economic scene and changing the value networks by displacing market leading firms, offerings and alliances. This phenomenon first described in Clayton Christensen’s 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, has also found its way to the Out-of-Home Industry with the digitalization of signs and the introduction of mega sign typologies beginning to disrupt long standing patterns and ascendancies.
Yet, this disruption is not limited to these trends only. A largely unnoticed adjustment has been observed in the latest State of Out of Home Report (August 2017), with the “Big 4” media owners’ domination being disrupted by Face [First] Media now confirmed as the media owner with the largest highway billboard holding in KZN. “Since starting the business 5 years ago, I have set my vision on becoming a leading media owner in the province”, says Stevan Wilken, Face First Media’s CEO. These metrics reiterates that a focused strategy and consistent application has the ability to rearrange established hierarchies in favor of a more flexible and responsive approach sometimes more apparent in mid-size companies.
“While we continue along this dynamic growth path, this new ascendancy offers us a momentary tactical leverage point to augment our value offering and solidify our position in the third largest market for Out-of-Home spent in South Africa”, Stevan further elaborates. These changes clearly indicate that the Out-of-Home market is set to see more innovation, disruption and hegemonies as media owners begin to enter the age of the 4th Industrial Revolution.